There are many times I want to sit down and write a blog post to help me process and express about the various “sad state of things” in the world today, including what is often happening on social media now.  But then I often don’t get it all down, or I struggle to articulate it, or I just feel powerless to voice anything in the end.  What difference can a blogger or a blog post make? 

Yesterday, as most days, I read David Truss’s daily post to his blog.  David posts on a wide variety of topics and I admire his honest opinions and reflections that he includes in his blog posts.  I sense that it always comes from a place of caring with David too.  I have followed David (@datruss) on Twitter for about a decade now.

David’s post yesterday caught my train of thought.  He also linked a post that he wrote just over a year ago.  I may have missed that post at the time, but such relevance still to the present (although sadly so)!  He articulated what I haven’t been able to lately. 

From today’s post about Rose coloured glasses, David asks:

Rose coloured glasses suggests a positive outlook, what happens when our ‘glasses’, our viewpoint, is biased in a negative way? What if our view prevents us from seeing things that can benefit us?”

From his previous post, Ideas on a Spectrum:

In a civil society, dialogue is the one problem-solving strategy that should be sacred. To do this, free speech is essential. But right now there is a culture of ‘attack the opposition’ that is very scary. This seems to play out at its worst on Twitter:

~ A prominent person tweets something insensitive or careless and they are attacked as if every fibre of their being is evil.

~ A little-followed user tweets something ‘inappropriate’ and suddenly they are famous in the most infamous of ways.

~ A person with an unpopular opinion tweets that opinion and they become ‘memed’ as the poster child for ridicule on the topic.

I appreciate that David offers some thoughtful solutions, as that is the difficult part:

“I don’t pretend to have answers, but I’m pretty sure that two things can move us in the right direction”:

  1. We need to recognize the difference between opposing views shared in discussions and hurtful acts, and treat them differently. When someone does or says something harmful to a person or group of people, legal responses and a judicial process should prevail. When someone says something hurtful (as opposed to hateful/harmful/prejudiced), the response should be dialogue. That dialogue might not bring about any kind of consensus or agreement, but it is what we need to do in a civil society that allows freedom of opinion and speech.
  2. We need to move away from public attacks and shaming as recourse for every wrong-doing. Treating every mis-step and error a person makes as unforgivable is harmful to our society in two ways: First, it does not provide the space for apology, forgiveness, and learning; Secondly, it actually waters down the response when someone does something truly unacceptable and deplorable… if they are treated no worse than someone who mis-spoke and is apologetic. 

And as I write this post, I see that David has posted more on the topic today, and more specifically about social media (Read here). Please read his full posts to appreciate his appeal for a better discourse on social media and for a civil society. As always, I welcome comments or suggestions from readers of this blog, or you can leave David a comment on his posts.