Social Media Can Be Ugly

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but social media can be ugly.

I’ve been having some deep thoughts on this recently 🙂

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Why is it that people say unkind things on their facebook and twitter accounts they would never say to a person’s face? The same thing happens with some blog posts. There is an entire genre of blogs that are strictly about reacting to things that the author doesn’t like. Every post is a diatribe against a particular theologian, celebrity or random person who has somehow made the news.

Recently, a hot subject online is the topic of feminism. People are debating women’s roles in the church. I watched/read as a blog author was ridiculed and openly mocked in conversations on twitter just because he had a different view. It was sad. Why can’t we disagree about ideas without making it personal? Is it unrealistic to think that should happen?

I had a conversation with my husband, Nathan, last night. I noted that the people I “follow” online that I respect the most have not built their platform based on who they disagree with. In fact, I’ve never read a post/tweet by Beth Moore, Michael Hyatt or Ann Voskamp about a particular person they didn’t agree with. I’m sure there are many people with whom they disagree. They choose to not air it publicly.

As Christians in social media, I think we should take a hard look at how we talk about people we don’t like. I’ve seen an interesting trend. So many people are using social media to post “open letters”. I read them with skepticism. It’s not that I disagree with everything they say. It’s just that I wonder if they would actually send a letter to that person in real life? If not, why in the world would they write one and post it on the internet for everyone else to read? Annie has some interesting thoughts on how we treat celebrities.

What have I learned from this? I want to be kind. One of my goals for this year is to be more careful about how I interact on social media. If it’s not kind, I don’t want my name attached. I think that’s a step in the right direction.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

-Aesop

2 thoughts on “Social Media Can Be Ugly

  1. I totally agree with you. I’ve started reading comments on something I was interested in and was just appalled at what people say to people in comments. Maybe there are people that rude in person, but I never run into them!

    I guess this is just the flip side of people spending a lot of time writing about the minutia of life online. It all seems to be a part of the syndrome of thinking you are the most important person around and that everyone actually cares what you think.

    Don’t misread me, though, Amy. I’m not saying your blog does that at all. I think you cover some very interesting and important topics here and I love reading what you have to share every day. I think it is a great outlet for what is working itself around in your head and I’m sure there are many people who find it interesting and motivating and inspiring. Keep up the good work!

  2. Amy, I just finished blogging on it as well. I actually found myself as I was writing thinking of whether or not I would say the things I was writing aloud in a room where the person I was questioning was present. I wondered, if RHE were to be sitting in front of me would I be able to honestly say the same things. Looking at it that way helped frame what I wanted to get across in what I hope was a loving manner. I took the time to write in a way that I believe articulates what I felt but not at the expense of another person’s feelings. I questioned whether or not to even use her name in the blog but since my blog was in response to her editorial, it felt strange not to. I still like some of what she says, she just lost me as a reader. And then, as I sit here typing I laugh at myself that it really doesn’t matter anyways because the only people who read my blog are you, an handful of my other friends and my mom!

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