Social Media and blogging accomplish much. For me, it provides opportunities for connection as a writer, as a Believer, as a Mother of an atypical kid on the Autism Spectrum, and as a Bama’ Alumnus. My interactions with people online have led to forming some mighty strong bonds of friendship – friendships that have only been encouraged to grow, as I’ve been able to meet some of these people in real life, over the years.
I’ve learned that there is also dark side to the Internets.
It’s found in the comments and replies.
While there is a beautiful place for comments that encourage and support, and even question, it is one that needs to be entered with Light. With all The Light within.
Here are just five reasons why I choose not to jump to the comments, in some places.
1. If the article, post, or tweet is even remotely precocious, the comments are extreme. Extreme makes me break out in hives.
2. Comments on an inflammatory issue rarely include facts. And when they do, they are often absent of the grace that laces productive conversations. Grace, like oxygen, seems to be sucked right out of the environment. I like grace. I need oxygen.
3. As, quite possibly, El Presidente`of The Feelers Club, my emotions can run high all by themselves. And when my emotions start outrunning the facts, voila`! My already limited ability to be tactful or sensitive in certain situations is quashed. It’s not pretty. I’m not pretty.
4. Have you ever gotten into a commenting war with someone presenting the other side, and gotten to the end and said to yourself, “Why yes! That was the best 3 hours of my life!” Me either.
5. Every time I encounter a commenting hater, “Shake It Off“, by Taylor Swift, is stuck in my head for far too long. Touche` haters. Touche`.
This doesn’t mean that there is no place for comments. Or for debate. Lord knows that I love a good healthy debate! And, here, in this space, I’ve only encountered encouraging, helpful, and graceful comments. (And made more than a few life-long friends, in the deal!)
It does mean, however, that I will often read a piece written by one of the Internets and either jump down to my reply space to encourage or question the writer, or walk away considering it further. Because, the older I get, the more wisdom I find in these truths:
“They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions” 1 Timothy 6:4 (NIV)
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Titus 3:9 (ESV)
“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.” 2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT)
Those are some good Words, right there.
I’m sure you could add a reason, or four, that I’ve never even considered. And that is one of the many beautiful benefits of the commenting areas.
But, maybe that’s a post for another day.