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Time to listen after clicking ‘post’

Posting opinions on social media could be productive, but failure to listen is stopping that

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We all use social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yik Yak – the list goes on. Everyone has their platforms but regardless of which one we select, social media is utilized to voice our opinions – from politics to sports to the best local restaurant.

Perhaps the general population needs to be reminded what an opinion is – a belief or judgment produced on a ground insufficient to produce certainty. That means everyone is entitled to have his or her own opinions and it’s not necessarily right or wrong.

And an opinion is meant to change based on discussion and new information.

Social media is an easy place to voice opinions, since it simply requires typing your stream of consciousness and clicking “post” or “send.” But this ease allows people to post all the time and in turn, create controversy over words on a screen.

The issues with social media start with making claims and having an opinion without any real basis or information to back it up. There is often no evidence to support claims about world events except that the person who posted feels as if he or she is correct because his or her opinion coincided with the thoughts and ideas in any given article online.

Didn’t we all learn at an early age not to believe everything on the Internet?

There’s also bandwagon posting – seeing an idea or opinion online, then deciding to share that opinion and post about it. Without knowing the details of an issue, an argument isn’t based on facts but rather on emotions toward whoever is arguing the other side.

This leads to fights with differing opinions on social media, with users going back and forth with paragraphs of comments on a particular post that’s caused a controversy.

Things improve through discussion. It’s how we progress as a society.

But the kind of discourse seen on social media isn’t productive. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t constructive.

We have an incredible platform to share thoughts and ideas, but instead of discussing differing opinions with one another in a healthy way, we’re simply bantering. No one is willing to budge their position or listen to different views.

We read what we agree with. We post what we agree with. We follow whom we agree with.

Which has turned into us knowing what we want to know.

It’s good to have opinions – in fact, it’s important to be well informed and to have an opinion. But without the knowledge to backup an argument or even a willingness to listen to the other side, we are progressing as a society in our discussions.

It’s good that we have those forums to post our opinions, but given the polarizing world climate, the sharing of opinions via social media is often done in an unhealthy manner.

It’s important to share opinions on topics we feel strongly about – just consider the audience and do some research before you hit ‘post.’

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com.


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