I’m sure we all know there’s been a lot of sadness and tragedy over the past week or so. It’s weighed on a lot of people’s hearts and minds, making tempers flare. This is where the problem lies.
There’s a good reason that people are usually advised not to talk about politics, religion, or other things on social: most of the time, the discourse gets ugly. I’m not here, though, to tell you never to talk about important topics. If we didn’t, how would we ever get anywhere in this world?
What I am saying is to be careful how you engage people in discourse. For a brief time, I read comments on social media posts and articles about the various tragedies recently. That brief look was all I could stomach. In only a few articles, I witnessed people calling those who disagree with them evil, immoral, and that these people should get the (insert curse word here) off their friends list.
I watched people cry about how everyone wants someone to go fund something. To say donations need to stop immediately after a goal amount is raised. I watched them call for an accounting of what a family who suffered a traumatic loss spent the money on, and why they needed that anyway if someone else was paying for their loved one’s funeral. Not to mention the smart, nasty comments one person in particular shared with everyone who expressed sadness and grief at the young woman’s loss.
The thing is, we live in a complicated world where there are no easy answers. Instead of drawing lines in the sand, we need to learn how to understand and work with one another. So, the next time you write up a social media post (or are tempted to comment on one), remember that there is a real human being behind that post. Their opinions are just as valid as yours, and they have just as much right to that opinion as you do. Accept each other.
I can’t tell you how many fellow writers lost my respect over the past couple of years, not for their opinions, but for the manner in which they chose to express them. Because of that, I don’t follow their posts anymore. I don’t bother to check out what they are up to next. Why? Because, I just don’t have the patience to sift through the anger and divisiveness to read the book news they share, or their work.
Social is a great thing, but don’t let a moment of anger and frustration tear down everything you’ve been trying to build.