Part 2: What happened to, “If you can’t say something nice”?
My original post was about taming our fingers when it comes to online posting. We instantly become cowardly when it comes to posting online and we become bullies. We are unable to effectively communicate our feelings when it comes to our opinions. And instead of attacking an argument coherently, we end up attacking the person and driving a wedge between you and them.
I have two examples of how online commenting looked negatively against a person or group and how it can be done to lift people up rather than creating divides.
Both of these stories lead to a matter of inspiration and conviction of how we are able to communicate on the internet, how our words have weight, and how we need to be careful on how we communicate with others; in person, in a comment, or in a passive aggressive post designed for no other reason but to stir the pot of anger in someone else.
I have a friend with the purest of hearts. She will do anything to make sure that those she loves feel that she loves them. She recently saw brand new shoes scattered across the freeway which caused traffic to slow and swerve around the blocked lanes. She had pulled over, got out, and started collecting these shoes to give to families that can’t afford shoes of their own. This got the attention of news stations and the pictures of them gathering shoes in the middle of the freeway went viral. Now. Dangerous? Maybe a little bit. But as soon as this story got posted, people were all over with comments. Mean, degrading comments that came from not knowing the whole story. Some of them were for concern for their safety, however most of them were saying how cheap they were needing to get shoes off the freeway. Or something to the affect of “Why am I not surprised that these are white girls.” There was name calling, accusations, and harsh things being said about my beloved friend. most people didn’t get the memo that these shoes were for families in need, and yet the comments still went on to say nasty words towards these girls. Most of these comments were ignored and provided a good laugh for those who knew the reason why they were running out into traffic. But I was shocked at how much people will say about something they know so little about.
A Phone Number
When the legalization of gay marriage went through, social media was bombarded with ugliness. I avoided going online because just scrolling through my news feed caused me hurt and anguish on reading all the ugly things that were being said (from both sides). Ugliness. Harsh bullying. Slams on people’s choices and beliefs. This caused hurt and pain and even more division. I had another friend take a stand when these comments turned negative. She offered up her phone number so that words did not get mixed between tone and implication thrown in with the impersonal assertion of one’s faith that internet communication brings. She brought up the encouragement of anyone who wanted to talk about faith and how Christ has changed her life, to give her a call and they would meet to talk about it in person.