I watch and observe more than I react and speak. As a writer in the social network culture, this is probably the antithesis to many others. In fact, I think it is true. I follow a lot of other writers on social media and I often get a clear idea of where they stand on a number of issues. I don’t fault them whether I agree or disagree. It’s their platform and their voice. I hate the “stick to (fill in the blank)” attacks people get from detractors. It’s kind of a juvenile response if you think about it.
For myself, I try to keep any views I have on specific issues regarding religion, politics, social issues, etc. off of my social media timeline. This is just a personal choice. I believe those things should be discussed in a safe place setting where both parties can respectfully engage in productive conversation. If we know anything about the current climate of social media, those conditions do not exist.
I have delved into some of these topics here on my blog where you can read my thoughts and struggles as I try to understand and come to a rational place that best fits my experience and convictions. There are some areas where I stand firm and others where I am not quite sure.
Something I know I need to be always aware of is my emotional state. I’s so easy to get angry and react when coming across something that I think is unjust or a horrifying display of humanity. You could ask my wife (she gets to hear the unprocessed sputterings when I’m annoyed or ticked off at the world). These are not everyday occurrences but they do happen.
Emotional health is key and very important to me. I hate being reactionary based on my feelings when disturbed by others. Too often I see people speaking and arguing based on their feelings. I would suggest not engaging these people in the first place (especially on social media). They cannot be rationalized with. When our emotions are turned up to eleven, you’ll have better luck convincing a dog it’s a cat.
Also, I just believe you are generally more approachable in life if you are known as someone who has a grip on your emotions. I would never want my family or friends to tiptoe around or avoid me if they feel like they can’t talk to me about the harder topics of life for fear of me popping a gasket.
So if you don’t see me addressing hot social topics on any of my social media profiles, it’s not because I don’t have opinions or concerns, it’s because I don’t think that’s the platform to have honest, safe discourse. I can always be private messaged and you’ll get an honest, direct response if you want to know what I think or where I stand on something.
Call to Action: Let’s all practice emotional health. Slow to react and not letting our feelings drive us to speak in anger. Remember also that your opinions are your own. If someone disagrees with you, it doesn’t mean they’re the enemy. Common decency is something I’d love to see returned to our rhetoric and discourse.