most all my friends are nice and considerate people, I don’t generally see too many trolls online. But I have noticed an increase in admonishing and finger-pointing posts and comments.
Typically, someone posts about a problem solved or crisis averted or even asks a simple question.
Example: YAY! I finally figured out how to put on my socks. Those stripes and the ankle bendy parts were sooo confusing!
The replies vary from happy and encouraging:
- Oh, good for you!
- What’s the secret? So happy you figured it out.
- So, share the knowledge!!?!
To … a bit less happy:
- You’re such a dork. Glad you got it.
- Yep, those “ankle bendy parts” are hard for blondes.
To downright rude:
- Really? You think they’re hard?
- Wow, I guess I never realized socks were so confusing. But I’m glad you persevered.
To completely inappropriate, not to mention irrelevant:
- Don’t you know socks are ruining the planet? You should NEVER wear socks if you want to reduce carbon emissions and leave the earth a greener planet for future generations.
- You’re posting about socks? That’s as irritating as someone’s picture of their dinner. You should only share news that’s worth sharing.
And worst of all, the BSP (Blatant Self-Promotion):
- If socks give you trouble, check out my new website, just for the foot accessory challenged. I think you’ll like it! And pass it on.
- I have a blog post about how to put on socks correctly for the post-modern parent. Here’s the link …
Maybe my posts are too bland to offend, but I’m blessed to say this is not a problem I have, just one I’ve observed.
I did have an interesting experience last week. A friend posted a list on a social media site, one of those, “I can’t believe stupid people out there exist who would say this” kinds of posts. It was a list of quotes, labeling all the speakers as uneducated bigots, chauvinists, and potential abusers and perverts. And all those quoted were identified by their political affiliation.
I never respond to those kinds of posts. Never. Well, not since I got pilloried a couple of years ago for pointing out the inconsistencies in the poster’s own original statements.
Anyway, I rarely respond.
But this one irked me. I looked up a few of the people quoted and found what I’d guessed to be true: the quotes were either taken out of context, mis-quoted or otherwise erroneous.
I exhaled. I wrote a response. I deleted it. I walked around the room. I wrote it again. I edited it. Took a deep breath. And clicked Post comment.
My (edited to protect–well, me) comment:
There’s enough stupidity in the country to go around without labeling it by political party. After all, Joe B* said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” If B* can be forgiven and voted for, I think the others should at least get a closer look at the circumstances and context. W*** was quoting B* K*. A* spoke without thinking. A friend and I were talking once about date rape and she mentioned “rape-rape vs. date rape.” I said, “But date rape is rape-rape.” She realized immediately what she’d said and felt horrible. I would never bring that up years later to humiliate her. I also wouldn’t bring up B*’s plagiarism all these years later. Oops, except I guess I did.
I expected to be mocked, derided, and condescended to.
In fact, I heard … nothing.
That’s it. Mine is the final comment on that post.
And I had a little epiphany. When you respond with the truth, there is nothing else to be said.
Oh, how I pray for wisdom and discernment to be able to speak truth when appropriate. And when to shut up because it’s not the time.
Who’s with me?