March 7, 2016

Social Media Etiquette for the Election Year.

MSM spotlights Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, DonkeyHotey/Flickr

Manners still matter—perhaps now more than ever.

As we enter this election year, we shouldn’t forget that etiquette, both in person and online, is still important.

As the physical distance between us grows greater with leaps forward in technology, the immediacy of our communication can be deceiving. We are simultaneously distant from and close to the people we’re in contact with online.

We can communicate in a moment without looking into someone’s eyes or saying any words aloud. With that physical distance comes something that we often mistaken for courage: discourtesy.

It’s so easy to type in a comment that invalidates the view of another. Even easier is the ability to share a post that you enjoy without considering if the content might be offensive to others.

Now I don’t think we should all be so politically correct that we’re unable to take a breath without processing the cause and effect of exhaling it into the room. Rather, I take issue with commentary that doesn’t support our own political, religious, or philosophical position as much as it criticizes the people who oppose it.

When we start to question the intelligence, common sense, or humanity of the other side in a debate, we begin to slide dangerously close to bullying and abuse.

My favorite interactions are the ones in which each party can state his or her own opinion without invalidating the opinion of the other.

Unfortunately during this election year, the candidates are not setting a good example for us.

Being kind has become the exception and not the rule.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see more candidates talking about what they believe and what they hope to achieve rather than pointing out the failings of their colleagues? I would find that truly inspirational. It would certainly set any candidate apart from the rest.

Mudslinging in politics has always been the norm, but now mudslinging in social media has become commonplace as well.

It can be easy to be caught up in our passion for our causes and forget that others have their reasons for believing as they do. These reasons that are as valid as our own.

Sure, some people may be misinformed or misguided. However, to my knowledge a discourteous post on Facebook or Twitter has never once changed an opinion.

As we move forward in this election year—and in the other years that come—we need to remind ourselves that the virtual connections we have in our lives are real people. In remembering this, we will find the courage to bring social etiquette back into our interactions.

We should lead by example rather than waiting for our leaders to show us the way.


Relephant read: 

Kindness through Our Thoughts, Words & Actions.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Apprentice Editor: Debbi Serafinchon; Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: DonkeyHotey/Flickr


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