First, as a follow-up to my last post about how we get my two-year-old through Mass, I predicted that after a few months, our tactics wouldn’t work any longer and we’d be back to being “those parents” who can’t keep their kids under control. Well, I was wrong:
Parenthood is about humility, eh?
One of the greatest aspects of the Internet is that you can dialogue with people scattered throughout the world you’d never meet face-to-face. One of the worst aspects of the Internet is that you can dialogue with people scattered throughout the world you’d never meet face-to-face.
The various blogs and their reader comments are sometimes very enlightening and contribute toward an interesting investigation on whatever topic is being discussed that day. Quite often though, I find myself thinking that the blog’s author or a commenter is simply “wrong”. One of my weaknesses is my strong desire to point out this information, then continue to follow the commentary.
The vast majority of the time, though, my blood pressure skyrockets as I can’t help but take the bait from the only ridiculous person on the Internet. (He must live online… he posts quite a bit using a great variety of names…). I can’t let something die and, if I don’t continue replying to his responses, I just have to keep reading everyone else’s thoughts or just keep checking to see if any new responses were posted.
My day is radically changed from how it started as now I’m mentally obsessing over a random blog post or a random comment by a sometimes faceless and nameless person who, for all I know, didn’t give the comment a second thought after he clicked send.
There is a place for true dialogue and discussion, without a doubt, and that discussion can get consuming when dealing with a topic close to heart; however, is the Internet the forum for these discussions?
What we choose to write about or to respond to and how we let that impact us makes a difference in our spiritual lives. A rational exchange of ideas, where both parties are courteous and engaged can be enriching as it gives us a chance to crystallize our own beliefs or remind ourselves of things forgotten. It can challenge us to become better people or give us the chance to help someone else.
Online though, there is plenty of irrational exchanges that seemingly bring us the worst. It is easy to forget that our hastily written comments will be seen by many who can’t see or hear our emotion and it is easy to say things we would never say in person, or at least never say without much more thought and discernment.
Striving to stay positive in our online conversations is important. If we strive to stay above the fray, to promote our faith in a healthy, humble way and not give into the temptation to take the low road, we can witness more effectively to those whom with we disagree and to those on the sidelines of the conversation.
For me, my challenge is to stay as positive in my online world as I try to do in my offline one. If someone said the exact same comment to me in person, would I snap back? Would I shut out the world and try to convince him that I have a better idea? If not, then I need not do it online either.
What’s your online weakness? Found any good ways to combat it?