28 Apr The Mean Side of Social Media
by Erin Weist
I follow several family-oriented groups on social media. These groups encourage support of mothers, father, and children, as well as strong bonds between husbands and wives. If you’ve spent any time on social media you’ll know what a battleground it can be. People, on what appear to be two opposite sides of a principle, fling barbs at each other with wild abandon and make comments that most would never do in person.
I was reminded of this when I read a particular post this week where people opposing one another in their views were reduced to name-calling. It was, quite frankly, embarrassing. I was embarrassed that neither could appropriately gauge their responses to the other. I was embarrassed that the person who shared my own view was engaged in such rude and immature behavior, as if my own viewpoint would be tarnished because I would be somehow associated with this uncivil language.
It reminded me that, when all else boils away, regardless of countries, religions, political leanings, and social classes, we are all neighbors. Name-calling does not build bridges, it build barriers. I have also been witness to numerous people who disagreed with my views but still managed to be courteous and respectful to my person and my principles. I would hope that anyone, regardless of their opinions or beliefs, could remember to treat others with the courtesy that they themselves desire. I would also hope that anyone coming across a belligerent name-caller would remember that one individual does not represent an entire community. In these types of forums I strive to be articulate, sincere, and also kind. It does not cost me anything to be kind. In fact, I find that when we work to lift those around us it benefits everyone involved, including myself. The philosopher Sophocles is attributed with teaching, “kindness gives birth to kindness.”
Before you speak in standing up for your principles, take a moment and remind yourself that a little kindness goes a long way.