Have you noticed how negative the vibe on social media is these days?
I often walk away from Facebook and Twitter shaking my head or, in some cases, downright angry.
Whether the viscious presidential campaign in the US is to blame or is just a symptom of it, I'm not sure. Chicken vs egg anyone? People are sniping at each other; calling those who don't agree with their worldview morons, idiots or worse. It's gotten to a point where, if I dare to express my opinion on anything, I can expect somebody to tell me how stupid I am.
It seems that freedom of speech only applies to those who agree with us.
I made a comment on a blog the other day that, while respectful, disagreed with the blogger's point and got slammed by other commenters for it. I wasn't at all insulting or dismissive. I even praised the fact that she was seeing progress in her situation. Imagine if I had been insulting!
I thought that blogs were a place where discussions happened; where opinions could be shared. If you are not a "yes-man/woman" and give gold stars to the speaker these days, you are the enemy who must be crushed. It's almost come to a point where I'm afraid to express anything online.
How did we all get so touchy? How did this toxic climate come into being?
Sometimes, I get the feeling that the anonymity of the internet deserves a big part of the blame. We sit in front of our computer and type in words without ever seeing the effect those words have. We'll say things online that we would probably never say to a person's face. It gives us a boldness that a lot of us would not have in a "live" situation. Sadly, there are many who use that boldness in the worst possible way. They have knee-jerk reactions and spew those reactions for all to see before getting the facts or taking the time to ponder the situation.
One example of that is a post on Facebook today. Somebody I know posted news of a proposed law that she was in favour of being voted down in the House of Commons. She said that it's "very discouraging to see so many uneducated representatives". That law was nixed by a vote of 198 votes to 84. So 198 people who voted against what you wanted (vs 84 who agreed with you) are "uneducated" for not having done what you wanted? Really? Here's what I want to know. Why did they vote against it? Was there a certain part of it that was disagreeable so they decided to scrap it? Was it a badly written law that left too many loopholes? If she had told us why they voted against it and then provided reasoned arguments against their thinking, I would have respected that so much more. Instead, she just called them "uneducated" and walked away.
Sadly, this has become all too common. We're all entitled to our own opinions and I would never take that away from anybody but, unfortunately, too many people are expressing themselves in such negative, abusive ways these days that it's getting depressing.
I think that I'll go watch some cat videos on Youtube now. Maybe that will make me feel better.
What am I thankful for today? Cat videos, yes, definitely cat videos ;)