There. Now you know.
Since I was kid I’ve happily walked away from blood and gore on the screen. Horror movies? You can keep them. Disaster scenarios? Don’t want them. Nasty cops and robbers shows? They are yours too. The Sopranos? Fuhgeddaboudit.
The problem is that with the openness of social media, I keep tripping across things that make me queasy: rabid commentators from the fringes of the political spectrum who froth at the mouth as they spew venom on their blogs and on Twitter, strident people who can’t rest easy until you sign up to their view of morality, etc. In short, any number of people who challenge my cozy way of life — and my own intellectual blind spots.
What’s a wimp to do? Do I owe it to myself to hear them? Should I engage? Or should I just walk away?
One of the great challenges of social media is that it makes it awfully easy to isolate yourself in an echo chamber in which you think you are interacting with hundreds of interesting people and don’t realize that they all are pretty much just like you. Therefore, all you hear are many voices agreeing with you, giving the illusion that you’ve figured it all out. But in so doing, you sell yourself short. It is equally possible to seek out people of goodwill within various social networks who know how to take opposing positions and discuss them with respect and decency. No matter where they sit on the political spectrum or in your professional niche, they are the ones you need to know. By engaging with them, your thinking evolves and you grow.
I don’t mean to underestimate the effort it takes to separate the shrill from those of substance, but it seems to me that a person of integrity needs to make that effort. Even if that person is a wimp.
[Photo Credit: Zagrev]