The Internet is a very easy place to publish opinions. You need few pre-requisites, hardly any etiquette, and no verifiable, quantifiable (or qualitative, even!) data. I am contributing to the collective opinion-blabbing mess that is the world wide web by writing in a blog like this…so I don’t really have room to point any fingers.
Today I spent too much time on facebook where I happened to read some posts of people I’m pretty far removed from. One of them contained a link that people had commented about (I didn’t bother going to the link because of the comments’ nature) and another one contained a personal take on a hot-button issue. A similar theme in these online “forums” (even on Christian young adult ministry of Focus on the Family, Boundless, where the more focused blog posts appeal more to my season of life) is that people who read and comment argue vehemently their side of the issues at hand. The “research” they collect (if they do) is frequently sketch (a link is sometimes provided, but not many take the time to cite their “facts”), and their manners are deplorable. I read about 10 comments in a thread from a “Christian” group on facebook in which users determined other users were assuredly not Christian for the posts they wrote. Really?
Apart from the argued-about-issues which raise such dander, isn’t it amazing that we all agree on one thing? That “I (first-person here) am MOST right at all times”…isn’t that the nature of the arguments we experience in life? In real-time, real-life arguments, we might have the courtesy to “hear someone out” (though perhaps that’s a stretch), but online it’s vicious. It can be about legislation, ad campaigns for companies, novels, political candidates, religion (especially religion), home school…you name it. The Internet has given a soapbox to anyone with the willingness to type their opinion. In some cases, it’s great–I love reading design and cooking blogs because I get to hear a conversational account of why someone thinks hand-stirred cookies and DIY pillows are more lovely than store-bought. That doesn’t really irritate me like the sweeping generalizations so often found in comment dialogue…you think this, and therefore all of “you” are like that.
I’m tired of it…I’m not giving up Facebook for Lent or pulling the plug on the account (the good still outweighs the bad at this point…and I like to see updates from those that I know and love), but I am cutting WAY back. My time is a gift to be treasured rather than squandered on filth. K, hold me to it!
And bye for now, Iowa! Headed to the great mosquito state very soon! 🙂