Freedom From Snark

Freedom of Speech is a funny thing. Lots of people think it not only gives them the right to say anything whenever they want, but that they have a duty to explore the outer boundaries of that freedom on a regular basis. Have you read the Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper lately? Or how about the comments on nearly any sort of newsworthy article posted on Facebook? As much as I try to avoid reading any of those these days, sometimes I get sucked in, and I’m often horrified at what my fellow citizens have to say.

Just because you have an opinion doesn’t make you right. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to broadcast it out to the world. Too many people don’t realize that sharing your opinion can often destroy relationships with those around you. Is your opinion that important? Whether it’s good or bad, does what you have to say contribute any value to a conversation? Or are you talking for the sake of talking?

The old adage of “think before you speak” comes to mind, but there’s more to it than that. It’s not enough to just think; you need to process your thoughts. Analyze them. Determine not only are they valid, but how will they affect those around me? Do these thoughts contribute to a greater understanding, or are they just noise to add to the already-deafening roar? How do you hear anything when everyone is shouting?

There’s no shame in not having a strong opinion. In saying “I don’t know” or “I’m still thinking about it”. There is no mandate to share your knee-jerk reaction to whatever celebrity pseudo-scandal is making waves today. Sometimes by not saying anything, it speaks louder than words ever could have.

Silence is golden. Let’s explore that for a while.

Share this: Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit
John Higley

John Higley

I'm a software developer, working remotely from Richland, WA, working on solving the many issues of managing financial services products on the web. I'm fascinated by the user experience of web sites and applications and read way more than I should. Working on effectively sharing knowledge and ideas has become a recent, but burning, passion.

Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more. 

  • Lou Galindo

    So true. Sometimes I will find myself shaking my head at things I see my friends or family posting on Facebook, and it really makes an impact on my opinion or regard of that person. Like, seriously questioning whether or not I can continue a relationship with that person. And I will sometimes end up erasing a comment or status update in the middle of writing it because I think “eh, maybe I should just keep that to myself.”

  • I feel awkward commenting on this now, but nonetheless…

    I feel like it comes down to pride. At least, when I reflect on why I do it (and I do far too often, I’m ashamed to admit), I always end up back at the same place: I “had” to say something to protect “my” view and “prove” why it’s “right.” That’s pride getting all up in my business, and I hate it.

    That’s my 2 cents, but hey, that’s probably just my pride talking.

  • Yeah, I hear you. I keep thinking “how can they avoid my completely rational argument?” But they always find a way. I’ve never had a fulfilling end to conversations like that, so I’m slowly learning to just avoid them altogether. It’s certainly not easy, although I find my mental stability has increased by not “exercising” that part of my brain, even though I desperately want to prove them wrong.

  • If I had a dime for every time I’ve deleted a response to someone, I’d be rich. I’ve learned it’s just not worth it. If they’re going to have that extreme of a view on something, they’re not going to listen to reason. And I’m guilty of judging them based on their views, too. I struggle mightily to be accepting when I really disagree, but it’s difficult.

  • Sara Taylor

    Here here.