Today, everyone is a politician; as long you have some electronic device and a platform like social media, you can start a revolution from the comfort of your own home; in your pyjamas on a random Saturday afternoon; make sure to get those thumbs-up and subscribers!
Times have changed let me tell you; as a pre-net generation Xer, if you wanted to bring the noise when I was a kid, you took to the streets, used your mouth and on-the spot-guts to spread the word and described your issue on some random, hand written notice and loose leaf and stuck them to light posts within the vicinity of your neighborhood.
Then I started college and I was able to save all my experiences on a floppy disc….
I don’t know; there was something about those days that allowed us to be bold, rebellious, defiant and outspoken and for the sake of this article, all in the positive sense in the here and now, in the flesh. Yes, of course, outward protests and activism still occurs; I am not completely deluded and out of touch. From what I noticed, people still go outside on some level; I don’t think everyone is allergic to the sun. But stuff and outward activity can easily be driven by an online rant that morphed into both an online community and movement illustrated by infrequent or constant public rabble rousing. You would be surprised as to what you can accomplish in a half day’s work.
What I am saying is, not too long ago, you only had your mouth and traditional forms of media to spread the word; radio, newspaper, TV etc…otherwise your issue went unnoticed, unspoken-never to see the light of day on a public, more global level.
Now, If I pee too loud somebody is posting something somewhere and I have a hate club somewhere in Antarctica looking to destroy my scheming, evil empire; what a blog they have going for that.
Is their any privacy left?
In another respect, the net and social media is a massive, unfiltered, undeterred and constant light switch; everybody sees everything and all is exposed; you can’t hide anything and you have the liberty to communicate what you need to from one end of the universe to the other; our cardinal points could not be any larger in scale at least communications wise. Or have they been obliterated?
What I find fundamentally important in the same vein, is how the old way-old stories forced into obscurity or hushed because of fear, fear of reprisal or shame, locked into the vault because of some outdated social norm are now set free to inform, educate the world and spread awareness. And how new stories are no longer forced into silence, limited on a communications level and because of a lack of scope. In fact, the level of freedom is unprecedented in a mind boggling way.
And like anything else, there is the good and bad, pro’ and cons and the importance of moderation, tact and common sense, too.
As someone who is sensitive and somewhat of an introvert, I have an avenue to speak my mind, always and constantly-24/7. There is more of an absence of fear and increased freedom that I may or may not feel speaking in public. And that does not mean that I would not and do not speak my mind face to face with actual humans; I just have more options and an increased comfort level when it comes to opportunities for public expression.
And by the way, I also have engaged in several public speaking opportunities in the past and plan on doing more in the near future. In fact, I am very passionate about public speaking and have been working on these skills for years.
I believe in some sort of balance; even if it is haphazard in nature.
My issue with online discourse is how we can hide behind our comments without having to deal with face to face dialogue; whether that involves positive or negative feedback; whether it’s a thumbs up, an incident where we agree to disagree in a mature, healthy way or scathing back and forth that turns into a brawl of insults and comebacks.
You can respond and have the liberty to react to comments of whatever nature in the form of text and writing; and yes, good writing can powerfully emote. But you don’t nor should you have to be an English professor (if that is your native tongue) to be able to communicate your messages online; there are no rules on that level; you have your rights.
The question is, are you really “listening?”
In the online world of dialogue, you don’t get to look into someone’ eyes and “see” the emotion and person at the root of the comment, hear their souls speak; feel their stories on another level, sense intuitively, how important the message is to the individual-it’s value, what your comments mean to them and vice versa.
Therefore, can we say, maybe or possibly agree to disagree that there are restraints and some limitations when it comes to empathy communications wise and virtually speaking? Can we establish any empathy and is it desirable and even an objective anymore? Is it only a pursuit motivated by individualism and the need to express our unique and singular opinion with the option to delete from the scope of our reality, what we don’t want to hear or feel or object to?
Do you and your needs and views only matter?
Can we put the shoe on the other foot and at least try to “feel” someone else’s’ views and state of mind (in the platonic sense and non-sexually, of course-get your head out of the gutter) anymore and do we really want to? Can there be true, authentic and generative communication, something of purpose without the urgency and call for empathy?
Leave a comment; I might reply…..
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