One of the first things we learn in life is to think twice before we speak. We should always watch our words because there is no way to tell what kind of harm they can do, whether we uttered them willingly or not. And it’s not hard to see why because throughout, we see people apologizing for things they said, even though they said so by mistake. And as though that wasn’t enough, now it is even more important to watch ourselves so that we don’t accidentally make the wrong impression online.
A couple of days ago, a big fight broke out on my Twitter timeline, and even though I usually stay away from all kinds of drama (yeah, I’m surprised too!), I couldn’t help but weigh in on the issue to my best friends, on our group chat. The point is that some things, even though they’re being said with zero ulterior motives, just shouldn’t be said because they’re very problematic, to begin with. And I’d like to think that this is common sense because how does one even justify saying something full of hatred, even as a joke?
Then again, people who would rather have peace on their timelines right now said that if we didn’t really like somebody’s content, then maybe we shouldn’t interact with them. It might sound like a fair thing to say because none of us wants any more drama or stress right now, what with being stuck at home and getting antsier with every passing day! But, I’m just unable to buy the whole ‘Let them be’ vibe because there’s never a dull day on the Internet. People are always either trolling or fighting keyboard wars.
Which brings me to the topic: why is it so important to monitor what we say online, or even offline for that matter. The easiest way to understand this is the way we talk tour family and close friends. These are the people who know the true meaning behind our words. They can see right through us. So even if we do end up saying something that could be taken differently, these are the people who will always understand what you wanted to convey. They know it better than anybody out there.
But it’s not the same when it comes to people we’re not really close to or people even outside of our friend circles. A lot of things that we say can and will be taken way out of context, and no matter how hard we try to make them understand what we meant, nobody would be willing to see things from our perspective. Once they are convinced that our words had an ulterior motive, anything we say can be twisted and used against us. And as if that isn’t bad enough, things on the Internet stay pretty much forever.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be allowed to express our opinions because that would beat the purpose of social media altogether, but I do think that it’s high time we started monitoring the kind of content we put out there because we never know who is going to take what we said in the wrong way. This is a huge part of the reason why I refrain from talking about certain things on this site and from using certain words and phrases that could be interpreted in the wrong sense.
It’s not like me watching my words is hindering the way I express my opinions, anyway! There are always better ways and better words. It’s not a hard thing to do, either. All we need to do is to ensure that our words or actions don’t come across as problematic. We have no idea what repercussions a seemingly small slip-up on our side can have. So why not be a little more cautious, right? Can’t really hurt to try.
Maybe it’s time to change a little for the better.
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