Sunday, January 3, 2016

3. Internet Commenting

I bet we all think we’re the smartest person in the room. It’s fine to think that and not act on it, but now that we’re all members of the largest room in human history, the internet, it’s a problem.

I’d like to think I’m a reasonable smart person. I have 712 Facebook friends and 893 Twitter followers. I used to think they’d all like to hear my biting wit and intelligent ideas on how to fix everything.  

This past year was the year I realized that most people don’t really care. (However, I do hope people care about my turkey sandwich reviews.)

Even though I think I’m friends with more people whose views skew liberal, these last few months have been excruciating when it comes to expressing your views about newsworthy topics online.

Everyone seemed to have an opinion about the topics of the day: refugees, Black Lives Matter, presidential candidates, guns, global warming, etc. I agreed with a lot of the stuff that came through my Facebook feed, but I just got so tired of everyone thinking their take was the take that was going to change people’s minds about everything. Believe me, I once thought that about everything I posted. (Facebook’s memories feature doesn’t let me forget it.)

I’m guessing very few of those posts changed minds. So I stopped taking part in the noise, or at least getting my bite-sized quips in during a major news story. I’d like to think some of the stuff I wrote for the paper and on my blog was thoughtful and insightful, but most of that stuff was edited and written over the course of a few hours, not hastily posted during a high-emotion times.

I’ll admit that I do seek out the opinions and quips of a few individuals I follow on Twitter or are friends with on Facebook. I’ll name names. Jon Couture, if you’re reading this, you’ve got good stuff.

I still get upset about things. There are times when I see something on television or a tweet by someone that makes me want to respond with the fire of a thousand cable news commentators. Sometimes I’ll even have an entire response written before I realize that it’s not worth it. I’ll delete the whole thing and move on with my day. I’ve taken a few people out of my newsfeed for their memeification of complex issues.

While I don’t post much political stuff anymore, I have posted on another topic that enrages people: religion. I’m a practicing Catholic and I’ve accepted that it’s part of who I am. I don’t try to convert people with my online posting, nor do I try and promote my piousness (because I am seriously not.) I try to post things that might make people think twice what it means to be Catholic. I think there are a lot of wrong stereotypical views about Catholics out there and I’d like change that a little bit.

I like posting things from James Martin, a Jesuit priest who is also the editor of America magazine. I also like seeing the religious views of Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan, two prominent Catholics who are pretty much universally well-liked.

Even though I still think I’m the smartest person in the room, I’m glad I became smart enough not to brag about it online.

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