After this week’s shit storm of finger-pointing, snark-filled tweets meant to fan the flames of scandal, and many a comment taken out of context, I saw this tweet.
After reading this, my initial thought was about how I do remember when we talked about books and how much fun we had doing it. My very second thought was to question why we stopped. When did it become more acceptable to voice our opinions on everyone else’s statements or misstatements? When did it become de rigueur to criticize everything and everyone? When did the idea of open and honest discussion disappear? When did deliberate confrontation with a distinct lack of open dialogue become the new norm? More importantly, when did we all lose our voice to change things?
The Internet opened up the world to people, giving them a voice and the freedom to express themselves in ways never before imagined. This is truly a wonderful thing, and I will be the first person to sing the praises of social media in general loudly and proudly. However, with the good comes the bad, and in this case the bad comes in the form of a general lack of discussion. Everyone is speaking, but everyone is so busy sharing their thoughts that no one is listening. This has created a scenario like the one we see happening in the book blogging world right now. People are quick to judge based on a headline or a 140-character tweet and off they go to profess someone’s idiocy or hypocrisy or sexism or racism without taking into consideration such things as context, background, history, or the like.
I will be the first person to admit that I have participated in the general negativity currently maligning our small section of the Interwebz. I have openly stated opinions, taken sides, and loudly shared my indignation at one scandal or another over the years. It is easy to do, especially when opinions are strong and emotions are high. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Just because social media is an open forum for anyone with Internet access does not mean we have to express every single thought that crosses our mind. Not every personal opinion needs to be expressed, nor should one do so.
I say this because I, like Chrisbookarama, am tired of the so-called scandals that continue to rock the community. More importantly, I’m tired of my section of Twitter being taken up by the name-calling and professed open dialogue that is nothing more than a chance for someone else’s self-righteous indignation on why they are right and everyone else is wrong. They do not speak for me, and neither should they speak for you. It is time to take back the Interwebz from these bullies and take away their audience. If we want to talk about books, let’s do so! Is makeup or music your thing? Go for it. Share recipes, your favorite things to do on weekends, pictures of pets or kids or nature. If we want Twitter to be a fun place again, we have to actively make it fun. Just because other people want to rant and rave about something using Twitter to do so does not mean we have to do it.
For this reason, I posted this last night on Twitter and invite you to do something similar.
I reiterate that I am going to be as positive as I can online. The world is a negative place in general, and continuing that negativity helps no one. Perhaps if we all agree to stop letting others hijack our Twitter feed with their arguments and snide comments, we can stem the flow of nastiness and bring back those discussions which made Twitter so much fun in the first place.
So, who is with me?