Saturday, November 6, 2010
IS IT WORTH SHARING?
YOUR friend on facebook, or the person YOU follow on twitter has a horrible potty mouth, so you repost or retweet their uncensored, creative language so the people who friend/follow YOU can be cursed out indirectly. Nice. Someone sends you a joke, photo or video not suitable for kids under 17, and you decide to tag everyone in it so they all can get a look and listen. With all we know about the way an individual's internet use can come back and bite them squarely in the behind, are we becoming more careless, still, each day?
You may not be able to catch what's coming out of your mouth, but you can definitely read as you type, or take a second to think before you click "send", "forward", "enter", "tweet", "retweet" , "share" or "post". Sometimes it might not be a bad idea to ask ourselves, "Will what I am about to share, edify ANYONE? Will it be a reflection of the person who originally wrote it, or an indictment on MY judgment, sense of decency, and respect and regard for the people I call friends? Why be so eager to share and distribute trash? Would it be a stretch to suggest that when you get it, you keep it yo yourself, or immediately delete it? I mean, it IS the internet. Even if you wake up one day in the future with a hankering to be hit with F-bombs, private parts, gossip, or garden variety ignorance once more, it'll still be there-- in a nice archive. (Visit the wayback machine when you get a minute. If you don't know it by now, the internet is like a big ol' sponge.)
So many are unfriended and unfollowed, blocked and ignored, NOT because of what they say themselves, but because of what they choose to spread. The information you repeat, think is funny, valuable, or harmless is a reflection of what's inside of you. Even if it's an attempt to expose someone's character, the decision to share information begs the question, "Why?" Do we share what people want to know, what we want them to know, or are we really exposing a side of ourselves that we want people to see? Who are we trying to attract, please, entertain, impress, make aware? Have our capacities for reason become tainted? Have our senses of humor become warped? Yeah. We've all had those weird moments when we couldn't figure out why, although we were in a solemn setting, or hearing tragic news, we were unable to control our laughter. We knew inside that our behavior was severely inappropriate, though. Have we lost that filter? Do we care if what may be relevant or humorous to one person, may seem insignificant and immature to another, and just adopt a willy-nilly attitude about the way we communicate?
Sometimes it's a sure sign that we don't know each other. If we knew what each other liked we wouldn't be so eager to offer each other what we don't like. Sometimes, we don't pay attention to the sensibilities of others. We are often more interested in the cleverness and shock value of our words than how they will negatively impact the person(s) with whom we are communicating.
Perhaps our biggest problem with other people is that they aren't more like we are. We criticize people who share differing views and ideas. We lash out when others don't respond the way we would. We become infuriated when others don't agree. We cry "lighten up" when people fail to find the funny in foolishness. We're so sure that others will embrace what we embrace that we don't think before we throw it at them. "Look at this!"; "Did you see that?"; "OMG, you have to hear this!"; "Did you read what so-and-so said?"
Sometimes we just have to stop. Think. Reevaluate our actions as we network each day. Is everything worth knowing? Is nothing sacred? Is tact and discretion on a vacation? Is everything worth sharing?