Sometimes the best comment one can make on a situation is nothing at all.
In the early days of blogging, I viewed this blog as a stream of consciousness. The sequence was: I thought it, I typed it, I edited it, I posted it. Blogging was easy…and it functioned as a way of processing what was on my mind—and at times to get things off my chest.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got some real conversation (heated at times) on Twitter for a particular post that didn’t seem very volatile to me. Receiving criticism didn’t bother me as much as it taught me a lesson: people were actually listening to what I said. Lots of people were listening, actually, and from a variety of perspectives. The days of simply treating the blogosphere as my own private conversation with a few friends was over.
It’s forced me to write more carefully, and to take stock of the potential impact of my posts. Not in order to avoid criticism, but because when one’s thoughts grow in impact from a firecracker to grenade, one should become more thoughtful. I needed to remember that when I typed or spoke.
Today’s news and internet is filled with opinion. We can’t escape opinion, and shouldn’t. Some are fantastically interesting and do much to help us think through the issues of the day. But, much of it also functions simply as the chatterbox of an anxious society. I need less of that in my life. Most people do.
Blogs have broken the stranglehold of established media over opinions. We desperately needed that. Now, the blogosphere needs to check itself lest it become just another place to make a name for oneself by criticizing others or soap-boxing about things we really don’t know the first thing about.
As you know, I still have plenty of opinions. That hasn’t changed. I reserve the right to opine on something heated if need be. However, I now tend to relegate commentary on any highly volatile issues to the Friday Stream of Consciousness posts, and even then—I’ve come to appreciate the benefit of saying, “no comment.” Or, not even saying that—just not saying anything at all.
There’s a thought.
Clearly, there are times we must speak up, and to do anything else would be wrong. Other times, we can be an important conversation partner for our readers/listeners or a calm voice in chaos. However, we need to remember if we don’t comment someone else will, and the world will still spin madly on.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” James 1:19