Monday, March 26, 2012

Are We Really Connected?

In a world where connecting with others is a click away, we're more disconnected than ever. Somewhere in the midst of all this connectivity and technology that puts people halfway around the world at our fingertips, we forgot how to be socially responsible. We have forgotten good manners. We have stopped thinking before we speak, er, post/type/text. We have forgotten to say, "I'm sorry," when we've offended or upset someone. Instead, we simply say, "If they don't like it, they can unfriend me," or, "If they don't want to see it, just ignore it."

Granted, there are times when that is the answer, and I know that. But when someone says that to shirk their responsibility for bad social behavior or to rid themselves of the guilt over upsetting someone, that's when it's problematic. If you've done something wrong and offended someone (and you'll know when this happens), own it and apologize.

Better yet, start thinking before you post/text/type. You've got a lot of friends on that Facebook friend list, and you don't know the details about their personal lives. Don't post a picture depicting rape, because you might have a friend on your list who has been raped and will find that disturbing and upsetting. Don't post naked pictures of yourself, because your boss might see it. Don't post an infected abscess, because someone might be eating lunch and you just made them 1) lose their appetite or 2) throw up.

And if you do post something thoughtless like this, under the guise of entertainment, and someone speaks up and expresses that it bothers them, don't blame them for being the problem. APOLOGIZE to them and remove the offensive picture. But always apologize. 9 out of 10 people who are bothered won't say anything, you should respect the 1 out of 10 who had the balls to speak up. Hell, you should thank that 1 person for pointing out your faux pas and giving you an opportunity to correct your insensitive misstep. Unfortunately, what usually happens is a bash-session against the speaker-outer, and that's too bad.

Oh well, the lesson ultimately is to think before you post. Understandably, this socially networked world we now live in has dictated a new way of behaving. Some of it's good, some of it's not so good. But good manners shouldn't be tossed out the window. What some enjoy in the privacy of their own Facebook wall should stay just that, private. It doesn't need to be shared in more public domains. I find it ironic that someone will say that the subjects of farting and peeing are TMI, but then accept the posting of a graphically pornographic picture of rape.

I'm no prude, but where have our priorities gone? Apparently out the window with good manners, common sense...and the voice-to-voice conversation.

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