I’m not a religious person. I’m not preachy. I am, however, pretty philosophical. I almost chose it as my college major (I kid you not).
I’ve recently heard from certain non-Internety-type people (who apparently aren’t aware that I have a blog), stated in a general way, “Who cares what you think? Who cares to know every little detail of your life? Where do people get off thinking that every thought that pops into one’s head should be recorded and shared with the world?”
It goes on, but that’s the general gist of the thing. She was speaking in regards to Facebook, but also the idea that people find a need to over-share on the interwebs.
So. Hmm. Okay. The weird thing here is…I don’t completely disagree. Not fully, at least. I fully admit that we are now part of a narcissistic Internet society — a society which, consequently, spans 85% (or more??) of the world’s population for the first time in humankind’s history. It’s both a fascinating time to exist, but also terrifying.
Terrifying because the world is smaller. Hacking, plagiarism, identity theft, spying, and even the thank-god-it-hasn’t-happened-yet terror attacks to the Internet are scary things. But, even more so, daily Internet use can be a heart-breaking thing.
For soft-shelled individuals (at times, this is me), the negative consequences of online bickering and trolls (I’m clearly not “big” enough; I’m lucky enough not to have experienced trolls firsthand yet!) wrenches my stomach and affects me horribly. But this is because I am a pensive person who considers words, actions, and thoughts deeply. This is a downfall of the information age; the anonymity of comments and the simple act of typing rather than speaking thoughts seems, for many people, to make those words more and less powerful all at the same time.
Wait, what? Yes. More AND less, simultaneously. More powerful because people do seem to think that what they say is the end-all be-all of the conversation; and sometimes they are. Less powerful because there’s less meaning to them; it’s so damn easy to say what you feel that it just comes out and isn’t weighed. Posting without thinking. The epitome of our current age.
See? The power of words is ultimately a very personal thing. You may read something as incredibly hurtful while the person writing it didn’t really give two hoots about the comment and didn’t mean it as extremely as it may have looked. Or, perhaps you write a post that you think will truly resonate with tons of people, and you receive zero comments or feedback. Forget love is a battlefield; the Internet is the real front line.
So, should we be sharing everything from adorable cat memes to highly-charged, ignorant political posts to pictures of our vacation (whilst away)? Should we assume that everyone wants to hear everything we think or that the picture of our cat/sandwich/baby/beach body is worthy to share will billions of people because they’ll be just as impressed with it as we are? Is the selfie not the epitome of self-entitled, narcissistic behavior?
I have the answer, but it’s mine. That’s the thing about today; opinions are rampant, and it’s a glorious thing when properly directed. We are each entitled to an opinion, just as mankind has always been. The most important part is to share it when necessary.
That’s why I blog, and why these statements might have struck me to the core initially, but have since settled into my heart and found a proper place. I don’t subscribe to the “there’s billions of us, why does anyone care what you think?” concept. I don’t believe that children should be seen and not heard.
There was a time not too long ago that women were hushed. I am proud of our heritage, and proud to come from a long line of extremely outspoken women. But, to think that less than 100 years ago, we had no political voice. About 150 years ago, women weren’t respected enough to take part in public forums or listen to a passionate speaker. And we shall say nothing of the consequences for a woman who wished to leave an abusive husband; by today’s standards, barbaric.
I’d like to think that my voice, be it small, be it frivolous while discussing parenting and decor and living green and whatever silly thing else, is important to somebody. I’d like to think that I should be allowed to speak. I’d like to think that I’m relevant to one person. And if one person reads and connects, I will continue. In an attempt to remain humble (as much as possible) and protect some semblance of our privacy, I keep some cherished moments to myself. But if there’s something that someone might find laugh-worthy or thought-provoking or might give them an urge to try out a new food or style of pillow…good.