“Facebook and Twitter badgering isn’t going to serve us well today. Too much cheerleading on one side or the other and not enough sober silence.”
The quote is a telltale sign of our current social media climate.
Of human relationships that are not purposefully silent or kind.
It feels the norm of late, rather than the exception.
Anger. Badgering. Disrespect. Name-calling.
On media outlets that started as places for people to “connect,” make friends, share photos and laughs. And, yes, post photos of food.
I love food.
A photo of bacon and eggs is preferable over Facebook disagreements.
An eye-rolling cat meme is more inviting that a Twitter diatribe.
I know, it’s difficult. You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to speak my mind on social media, but held back.
Because silence can show respect and kindness for others, no matter your own personal opinions.
Silence can save friendships and disheartening conversation.
If you have to voice an opinion or be a cheerleader, always steer toward a gentle path of understanding and knowledge with your audience.
One can be firm in an opinion and still be kind.
If people can’t say something nice, why can’t they sit on their hands and be quiet?
I believe there’s a quote about that from Thumper’s mom and dad.
So I urge you, dear readers, to find sober silence when needed.
Today, tomorrow and every day.
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37 responses to Sober Silence
I couldn’t agree more, Mary. Smug indifference in the face of disaster implies ignorance, and the aggressive vocal brutality we are experiencing is only scratching the surface of what is brewing out there. Why do they do it? Because someone(s) in power has told them that it is okay, that it is their right, their duty to conquer that which they deem to be wrong. 😞
I so miss the dignity and diplomacy of our former leader. Still at a loss why people follow the hate and brutal speech other than we have a country with a large lemming population. Why is it so difficult to be kind and respectful?
This is such a timely message. I just wish everyone would read it. Even on our little neighborhood connect forum, the conversation often goes off the rails of polite discussion. Thanks for trying, Mary.
Thanks Dan. It seems people find it easier to be nasty than to be nice. I don’t understand the value in that kind of mindset, why it would be fun to write hateful messages. I’ll never be that person.
Me neither. I form the thought, but I never type it out. What’s the point? Even if you had a good argument, there are lots of people who will ignore the logic and just respond with more nasty.
That’s true. I do have a FB friend who has come to my rescue a couple of times…a person who knows how to deflate through intelligent and thoughtful comments…the kind that are hard to refute.
My brother can do that. I could do it if I took “dumbass” out of my vocabulary, but it’s so hard. I’m better off not typing.
Yup, keep “dumbass” in your head as much as required and keep the typing hands out of it.
But it fits in so many situations…I’ll be good.
‘Sober silence’ – I didn’t know that was what I was practicing, but I like it. A couple of years back, I made what I thought was a non-controversial and respectful blog comment on current affairs. It exploded in more ways than one. Since that time, I don’t comment on anything remotely related to current events/politics and avoid unnecessary drama in my life. Conversations today are many times in black and white type, fired off at the speed of lighting, and no one listens to what the other person is saying. Having some online conversations are so full of potholes that ‘sober silence’ is definitely the way to go. Thank you for the reminder this Wednesday morning.
Judy, thank you for your comments on this subject. I’ve also posted a couple of comments or news items on Facebook about social matters and had the same thing happen. It only takes one or two angry or negative comment to make it all go awry. People don’t give respect to the person’s own opinion and provide thoughtful comments…they just want to blast their own opinions. I may still add commentary to Facebook in the future, but it will be with careful consideration.
Regarding your comment to Dan, “It seems people find it easier to be nasty than to be nice.” It makes me recall something from my theatre days. An acquaintance was usually cast in leading roles – not only was he a capable actor, he was tall, dark, and handsome and he could play the hero or the villain. He told me that he preferred to play the bad guy and that it was easy – not that being vile or dastardly was his nature, but that it was easy to adopt the persona of such evil beings. Plus, audiences love the sinister, love to be titillated… they love the drama. That’s the point of a play, after all, isn’t it?
If that’s true for people in general, on or off the boards, it makes me think that’s why on our social media stages, it’s easy to be nasty. It’s what stirs the juices.
It’s what also makes me shudder and cringe and regret reading the thread in the first place. I make it a policy to adopt the sober silent stance.
That is a great analogy, Maggie. It’s unfortunate that the ease in being mean and angry or stirring the pot overwrites an ease in being nice in calm waters for some people. Personally, I find it more gratifying to read positive or humorous comments and posts, rather than the alternative.
“Silence waits just a dream away” – Swing Out Sister, “Twilight World.”
About the only social media I actively participate in is Instagram, because you don’t have to read, you can just look at the pictures.
You are wise to stay off Facebook and Twitter, John. I have thought about getting off FB in the past, but it keeps me connected to local friends and those in other states and countries. I’m not ready to give that up.
Yup, emotion just naturally overrides reason and logic. Psychologically speaking, it’s just how we humans are wired. Politicians, corporations, and anyone who has a vested interest in influencing public opinions figured this all out decades ago, and social media is the perfect tool to make their jobs that much easier.
Despite blocking or muting as much of the white noise and outrage-inducing silliness as I can, I find I’m even more upbeat and tolerant of differences with others when I just spend less time on social media.
There was a point in time, last year, that I did not click on anything politically or religiously themed. For a while, my Google, Twitter and FB feed was filled with cats, food, Star Trek, biking, etc. That was pleasant and probably something I should try to achieve again for my own tolerance and to avoid the pitfall of being sad or upset about the state of people’s vocabulary on social media.
It’s what keeps me off social media. I also read my news through official apps that don’t give me access to comments under the articles. Sometimes I despair at the lack of kindness and empathy in people. It’s too easy to say something inflammatory when you don’t have to say it to someone’s face.
The dark side of social media – being able to say something nasty because you don’t have to look the other person in the eye. That is cowardly, in my view, and it’s going to get worse with what’s currently happening in the U.S.
I’ve never signed up for any social networking because in their early days they were to me just rushed versions of blogging, and now the only purpose they serve is exactly as you describe, M-J.
“One can be firm in an opinion and still be kind.” Oh, if only !
There’s very little kindness in our world, these days.
This is why I try to be kind and respectful on social media…because of the amount that is lacking. If I did not blog, have friends around the world, and love stupid cat memes, I would spend a lot less time on those sites.
And how are the king and queen ? 😀
It’s the queen and court jester. The queen royally snores and the jester tries to be a royal pain. Their servant continues to love and feed them.
How not ?! (rhetorical ..)
Reminds me of the saying “You can be right or you can be happy. The two are mutually exclusive”. I’m embarrassed to admit I started a Twitter feud recently. Non political but hotly debated topic which doesn’t need repeating. I’ll never ever do that again. Served no purpose whatsoever.
Don’t feel too embarrassed. I imagine that it was not your intent to start a feud. It only takes one or two people to turn a conversation into an argument. Lesson learned, I suppose.
Definitely lesson learned.
I agree completely
My favorite takeaway: “One can be firm in an opinion and still be kind.” I needed this post today. Thank you!
You’re welcome, Marian. If we could all practice this and have civilized discussions about our opinions…wouldn’t that be great?
I think that we can be thoughtful, kind, and empathetic – that we can eschew the drama, the need to be first with the breaking news (we never will be unless it’s literally OUR story to tell, or we’re employed by a reputable news organization) – that we don’t have to act like drama llamas. But I’m not sure we should strive, always, to be “nice” or that we should remain “silent” on issues that matter.
I had intended to stay upbeat, pleasant, fun, focus on writing when I set up my new blog this year. I had intended to steer clear of politics and controversy, reasoning that others were so INTO both that they could more eloquently say the things that needed to be said. But then a few conversations with friends and a few observations of things happening (mostly on Twitter) in reaction to recent events, a few completely inappropriate and downright misleading things posted by “leaders” and people who should know better, my resolve flew right out the window.
Now it’s to think, to consider, to reflect, and to say what needs to be said in a more thoughtful way. (Please don’t hold all my tweets to said “leaders” against me – I’m a mom, a writer, and I have a snarky/sarcastic side that’s sometimes just clawing its way out, but only when justified, I hope, and only directed at those who truly deserve it, when they do.) To that end, I wrote Not Just a “Difference of Opinion” or “Politics” #Values #Deplorables. As Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Sometimes, silence is needed, but sometimes, it’s damning.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments on this matter. I appreciate every word you’ve written and understand what you are saying about not always being silent. I do agree there is a need to speak out against injustice, misleading information, etc. I’ve done it myself. When I wrote this post, I had Facebook in the forefront of my mind. I’ve been the recipient of angry comments, unexpectedly, from friends who didn’t like my political/religious opinion, even though I wrote in a respectful manner. It’s fine to speak up for your beliefs, but it’s how one speaks and a willingness to converse intelligently that matters. I am disheartened when I see unapologetic, vitriol on social media.
As for your snarky side, I have no qualms about that. Snark can be extremely appropriate given the right circumstance. I’m also not here to judge your Tweets or anyone else’s. I may roll my eyes at or scroll past some Tweets, but I don’t judge.
Well said, Mary!!! I can’t tell you how many times I thought the same thoughts you’ve shared. I do hope the football games this weekend provide you with a fun kind of nail-biting experience. Go Pack Go! Will it be a snow stopper or not?!
Thanks Shelley! It appears the snow has moved south and we’re not going to get much. Probably a good thing for getting Lambeau Field ready for a Packer win.
You’re welcome! Hopefully the Packers do better than the Vikings did. No snow is a good thing!
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