TimBookTu Editor's Message
Comments, Tweets, and Other Ignorant Posts
Whenever I encounter the comments section on a website or social media site, I have the same urge I have when passing a terrible accident, I want to look but if I do, I know I'll regret looking. Reading the comments found online these days is often an exercise in futility for me. I know that I'll only end up frustrated, angry, disappointed and shocked at the kind of things people will write.
So many people use the "anonymous" comments as their opportunity to hurl insults, quote misinformation, spew hate and other negative viewpoints that they wouldn't otherwise say if their identities were known. Most forums and sites have their regular group of trolls who spend a great deal of their time baiting unsuspecting commenters into engaging them in debate over any particular issue. There are the commenters whose comments, no matter what the original topic may be, devolve into an attack on the president or a racial group. I have never seen so many problems, ranging from local issues to international actions, blamed on the president until President Obama took office. Others direct their ignorance and hate towards those in certain racial or ethnic groups, of different sexual persuasions or religious beliefs. Many of them have opinions that usually don't offer any substantive solutions to the topic at hand.
Some of the same behavior occurs on social media sites through direct posts and comments to the posts. While many hide behind the anonymous aspect when commenting on most websites and forums, there are those who spew their foolishness directly through tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook and other sites where their identity may be known. We have seen many celebrities and politicians that have diarrhea of the mouth (or in this case, their fingers) and constipation of the brain by writing something they have to apologize for or retract later. A little thought or restraint would have saved them from embarrassment, a loss of job or the loss of respect from the public and fans.
I know that it is so easy to grab a mobile device and fire off a tweet or post without even thinking of how far-reaching the impact may be. Do we stop and think that the tweet or post we make might not be something we would say to a person face-to-face? I know that there are many who do not care what they say but most would probably think twice if they thought about the fallout it may receive. I'm sure the staffer who bullied the President's daughter via social media or the one making racist tweets comparing black to zoo animals would've used better judgment if they realized they'd be roundly criticized and fired.
For many, the use social media has become an integral part of their daily activities. Over time, I feel most people will learn to use it wisely and with more restraint. There is a way to make your point with just as much emphasis and passion without being insulting, racist, sexist, homophobic or just plain stupid.
We all want to express our opinions at times and free speech is one of our key constitution rights. But, just as with all of our other rights, free speech comes with the responsibility to not denigrate, insult, stereotype and bully others. Posting those extremely negative comments and sending those inflammatory tweets and posts should be approached with much more care and respect for others.
© Copyright 2015.
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