This article is not about the political unrest in Hong Kong.
I have opinions like anyone else, but I don’t have any expertise in terms of resolving a conflict that is very obviously about the rights of people to make their own decisions. I realize there are no quick solutions.
However, I do know that social media has descended into chaos. The gloves came off long ago, as did any filters or any sense of decency or respect.
I’ve been told recently on Twitter that I should find a different profession (too late for that after 18 years) and also that I look like a grumpy ex-husband (point of fact here, I’ve been happily married for 31 years).
Everyone has an opinion these days…and a Twitter account.
The problem is that social media is now a total brawl.
A recent example: NBA star LeBron James expressed his views about the NBA playing in China and how Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had voiced support for the protesters. This erupted into what has become the story of the year in terms of social media and, you could argue, has turned the masses against LeBron James.
Again, hold those tweets: I’m not a political pundit. I understand about this much (holding my finger and thumb about a half-inch apart) about U.S. and Chinese trade relations and also a similar amount about how the NBA has dealt with the conflict there. I know that LeBron has come under fire, and for good reason.
I also know when he tweeted that some users who post offhandedly “could have waited a week” is ridiculous. For a hint of my views on this, see this satirical post from the Babylon Bee about Rosa Parks “waiting a week” on the bus. I don’t care if the NBA is losing money in China; I care about the protesters.
However, it’s interesting that LeBron may have landed on a peculiar discovery: That most of us are guilty of speaking out of turn, and we are often wrong. We don’t wait. Social media gives us a platform to speak our minds but most of us should probably hold back and reel it in a little. We should take a pause.
My own solution: I never poke the trolls. They tend to grow bigger and bigger the more you engage with them. I once defended myself about one of my columns on Twitter with an angry mob and ended up being pummeled even more, even though they had not investigated the issue and didn’t bother checking the facts.
I’m not sure if the facts matter anymore.
I can also say that some actions should not wait a week. When there is an injustice, you act. When you need to point out a problem, go ahead and unleash.
What is less urgent is sharing our own opinions when they are not quite fully formed yet. I’m an advocate for the basic rule of waiting to send an email, make a phone call, or post on social media. Let it simmer. LeBron is wrong about the protests but right about social media posts and that it is sometimes better to deliberate and let an idea stew for a while. Usually, it simmers and cools.
Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to share your view on my Twitter feed.
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