No. Social media is not abusive, nor is it good or neutral. But the way we use it is.
Much has been said about this and should be. Some action has been taken about this at many levels and more needs to be. So here are my thoughts.
Much good is done with social media. We have also been abusive in how we use it. Hate. Prejudice. Cruelty. Feuds. Thoughtless ranting. Rumors and lies. Gossip and maliciousness. These are rampant. This spirit rages on social media. I include blog posting in this group because it is also a platform for self expression.
And here is the thing: these are things that they would not dare to say face to face! They find a false courage in social media. Some might say it is hypocrisy.
Then there is the influence that social media has in the public arena. Yes, I do visit and read sites and pages that do not follow my perspective in order to clarify my understand of their views and help me to clarify my own views. But I do not give attention to those on any side of the arena whose spirit is unhealthy, silly, foolish, and ugly. I do not need nor want to feed on that kind of spirit. Those sites do feed and fuel those who are already bent toward that kind of spirit or perspective. Sadly, such pages are retweeted or reposted by those not analyzing the spirit of the post.
One thing I love and cherish about our country is the constitutional law that protects my freedom and yours to express what we think and feel and believe. The access to public discussion is a powerful platform. I will express what I think and feel and believe. I will promote what I see is right and good and true and against what I see is not so. And I hope you will with your perspective. But, each one of us has the moral and ethical obligation to use that platform in a way that builds and does not tear us down and tear us apart.
Express yourself with the social media platforms. Don’t be a cowardly hypocrite. Speak only what you are willing to say — and in the same spirit you would express– face to face. Speak always with conviction but our manner always be respectful, thoughtful, deliberate, and straightforward.
Two questions we must all ask ourselves. Does the manner — language and spirit — of my expression help you to listen to what I say or turn you off? Does my manner encourage thoughtful discussion among those who already view the matter as I do or only stir up thoughtless reaction.
Think first of the effects of what you want to say and how you want to say it. Speak what you believe is right and good and true. Always speak to build thoughtful conviction and deliberate action. Do not speak to tear apart the public.
Always speak in love — not harm another.