I can't make up my mind on #technology, and when I say technology I am primarily talking about the #internet and #socialmedia. Ok. TBH, I think it's great, I think it connects people, globally, in a way we have never been connected before. It makes the world a smaller place, we can communicate with family, friends, connections, and colleagues like we couldn't do 20 years ago. It introduces us to people in different countries but in similar situations. It cuts down on isolation, but at the same time seems to create more.
That said, I am highly sensitive to the way that people interact and over the last few weeks have been exposed to behaviour that has really gotten me thinking. The internet, social media, and the 'keyboard warrior' have created the ability to compete with, criticise, and attack complete strangers. Which is why sometimes I can't make up my mind.
What is it that gives us the right to comment in such a cruel way to and about people we do or don't know, or even the possibility of a person.
What is achieved by making #hurtful comments to people we don't know - or, and maybe especially, to those we do. Without the internet would we approach complete strangers and give them our #opinion?
Would you go over and say 'wah, wah, suck it up' if you heard someone in the street say something you disagreed with? If you heard #women supporting each other would you go over and say, 'you're not so special, men do this too'? What about the reverse - would you go up to #men having a conversation and give them your opinion? And if you did, would you be surprised if the response you received was 'sod off, this isn't about you!'?
A post has been doing the rounds and it is about women, and it is about acknowledging some of what they go through, and it's intention is to let women know that they are not alone, and that others go through the same thing. It is about bringing people together. About #kindness. About #compassion.
As well as lots of #positivity, there has been a fair bit of negativity. Firstly by a comment that a male may make, but then that male is called names and told to bog off, it's not about them, don't be a jerk, etc. So I'm not saying that the men are in the wrong, because they are then getting criticised by women for daring to comment the #truth that men go through similar things. And you know what, I believe they're right.
I want to write something that describes the struggles that men go through. Because there is a lot of bravado when it comes to men. Showing 'weakness', 'sensitivity', 'vulnerability', is not what 'real men' do. Why not?? This is where some of the issues come from. #MentalIllness is no less prominent in men, but they are much less likely to talk about it and get help - which actually makes mental illness more dangerous, and the suicide rates for men much greater than for women.
Why is there this competition? Why is there jealousy? Why do people feel the need to be rude to people they don't know? Why, as women, as the 'more compassionate and empathetic' gender, can we not support and lift up the men in our life and world? But equally, what about men supporting men, and women supporting women? Women supporting men? Men supporting women?
It is completely fine to have differing opinions, or to think something is a little OTT, but what is it that makes people think it is okay to push their opinions onto others who haven't specifically asked for it? Or, is it the case that anything online or on social media is fair game to others? Why do people not see something, have their disagreeing thought, and keep scrolling?
I'm all about education and communication, and I do get that by putting a point of view out there, we're opening ourselves up to others with a different opinion giving that to us, and I believe that we need to accept and expect that. Where I get stuck is, why can't that opinion create a conversation, and the conversation be held with the openness that there could be another, valid opinion. Either party at any time can say 'you're right, I hadn't looked at it that way', or 'let's agree to disagree', or 'you're entitled to your opinion, and me to mine, it's okay that they are different'.
The internet has created keyboard warriors who feel it is okay to have a go at complete strangers, or even friends. For what? Are there so many angry people in this world that now have access to the internet and get a buzz out of putting people down? Do these people deserve our criticism and anger back, or do they really need some compassion. Why add fuel to the fire? What is gained by being 'right'? What is wrong with saying ' that's your opinion, you're entitled to it, I hope you have a great day'?
Getting into an online 'argument' doesn't create anything other than more anger and more division. Would you have that same 'argument' with someone face to face? Or would you perhaps feel that it wasn't worth the grief that could come from engaging in it? Or perhaps you wouldn't want to say something that may hurt the feelings of your friend. I think we could serve the world better if we were to stop and think before we jump into making a comment that could be controversial.
There should not be any competition between men and women. The only competition should be in sport, or against ourselves - doing the best we can today and striving to do better tomorrow. And that includes being #kind. Firstly to ourselves, but also to others. Only then, by supporting and creating a global community, can the world become a better, more compassionate place.
Whatever you do today, may you pause before you communicate through your keyboard, and ask yourself if you would say the same thing if the person was stood facing you. Are your words kind? Do they support? Do they have value? Do they educate? How would you feel if someone said it to you?
And once we've mastered the online world, perhaps we can do much more in the 'real' world too.
Love Becs xxxx