Don’t Press Send

My year or so blogging has been interesting. It has been what I hoped it would be: a place to spill out words of hope and humor, kindness, peace and maybe a divergent thought or two. And to hear back from good people.

All in all, people respond in kind. Those who leave a little light behind in their comments is always a gift. 

It probably is no surprise that many of the comments I get I don’t necessarily “approve.” I thought I might say a few words as to why. I always read them carefully a few times and let them sit if they are hurtful to see if approving them might encourage a conversation. But when they seem more of an angry purge for the writer, I don’t approve them.

The current forms of online conversation can foster respect and thoughtfulness and they can bring out some of our worst tendencies toward cynicism and name calling. Most of this would never occur in a face to face conversation. Writing your thoughts publicly is a bit of a tricky endeavor. And I have pushed “send” on a few emails that I wished I could take back.    Expressing rage is appropriate, but not on a blog to someone you don’t know. Disagreement is another thing. That’s fine. We can disagree. But how we disagree really matters to me.

On my blog, which I get to have control over, I do not approve inflammatory reactions to something I have written. Civil, respectful conversations create a civil society with self-control. There are enough Rush Limbaughs and talk radio hosts out there. I don’t find this entertaining, or justified, ever. Sure they make a point. But, and this is me here, the means of conversing is critical.

I believe we are co-creators of our world. And we have a responsibility. Sometimes this is tough – I have an ugly sarcastic streak that sneaks out way too often. It is part of my generation, I think. But, it is still ugly. Even when it makes me giggle sometimes.

I have been called a lot of names over the years for speaking up for justice and peace issues, even when I did so kindly. Polyanna, unrealistic, liar, a dreamer, an idealist, self-righteous, even a demagogue on one occasion. 

But living more deeply into my sense of the what the world is about at it’s best is what I truly want for my life. And this is one way for me to do so.  Take heart, good people, and do what is your work to do.

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3 Responses to Don’t Press Send

  1. Greyhawk says:

    Email and text messaging is tricky and impersonal and for some reason some people think they can trash someone else because because of this. If you treat this medium as a personal face to face conversation then it is harder to be abusive and hurtful because, I believe, it is not in our human nature to be that way. Everyone wants to be loved and respected and the golden rule – treat others as you wish to be treated – applies. The main problem in this world continues to be the prevailing thought that we are all different from each other when in fact, we are all made of the same stuff – just variations on a theme and what you do to others, you do to yourself. Lovely blog Shannon – I now have it bookmarked and will check in from time to time!

  2. Donna Ankney says:

    My brother sent this wikiquote the other day:
    You cannot avoid making judgements but you can become more conscious of
    the way in which you make them. This is critically important because
    once we judge someone or something we tend to stop thinking about them
    or it. Which means, among other things, that we behave in response to
    our judgements rather than to that to which is being judged. People and
    things are processes. Judgements convert them into fixed states. This
    is one reason that judgements are often self-fulfilling.
    –Neil Postman
    I thought you might enjoy this perspective.
    By the way, I love your blog when I have time to read it. Is that a judgement? I’ll have to think about that…

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