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Be Careful What You Type…

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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.

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Jamie White is a music addict, book lover, pet servant & NaNoWriMo survivor. When she's not busy writing posts for CultureShock, she's taking pictures for her photo blog and spending time with her husband and pets. She released Stains on the Soul and Clutter via Pagan Writers Press in 2013.

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15 Responses

  1. Elle E. Ire
    | Reply

    Well put. Also worth noting, though not nearly as important as your reasons, is that most agents and editors will Google writers before taking them on as clients or offering to publish their work. Poor behavior on the internet can cost you a lot more than some friends disappearing from your friends list.

    • Jamie White
      | Reply

      Absolutely! Excellent point. There’s also the “authors behaving badly” site, which has led to a lot of authors getting backlash from readers.

  2. Jamie White
    | Reply

    Right? It’s so sad to watch.

  3. David Edmonds
    | Reply

    I feel the same. Just sick of the nastiness I see on social media.

  4. Jon Guenther
    | Reply

    Even a fool who keeps quiet is considered wise, for when he keeps his mouth shut, he appears clever. —Proverbs 17:28

  5. Michele Lauren
    | Reply

    If everyone would just mind their own business and keep the focus on their self, not only would the people around them be happier, but the person pointing their finger would, too! We need to leave judgements and opinions to someone bigger than us…

  6. Terry
    | Reply

    Amen to your words – good post!

  7. Arielle Haughee
    | Reply

    Wonderfully put, Jamie. I read an article in Writer’s Digest by Tyler Moss that said something similar: “Social media is the new business attire. Dress for success, not to shock and offend.”

  8. James W. Lee
    | Reply

    i agree in principal, and I do not participate in Social Media. Howeve, if we did not discuss politics we would all be living under Carl Marx.

    • Jamie White
      | Reply

      Agreed. It’s really important to discuss issues, but my point is the level of the discourse I see out there. Sadly, too many people draw lines in the sand and treat people with a different POV as inferior. Some name-call, say “f off” (true story), or tell people to “get off my friends list”. That definitely doesn’t add anything to the discourse, and just drives people away. I think we can be better than that by presenting our views/debating in a respectful manner.

  9. Richard Wilson
    | Reply

    Here’s one. I’ll say what the hell I want to say.

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