There comes a time in the life of every internet user where a decision must be made. You read something completely egregious and against everything that you stand for online. What do you do? Do you…
A) Shake your head, grit your teeth and keep scrolling
B) @ said offender, dropping so much knowledge on them turning their world upside down, tearing aside their illusions, and sending the sanctuary of their own ignorance crashing down all around them as Huey Freeman would say.
Hard to say. As a classic introvert, very seldom — even online — do I opt for the former, mostly in fear of backlash, or accidentally displaying an ignorance of my own — god forbid being told about myself as I’m thinking of doing to this poor unsuspecting stranger. However temping silence may be, as it’s the easiest option, lately I’ve decided against it.
The power of expression, the potential teachable moment, a conversation that can be had is completely lost without the occasional online rebuttal. It’s why many people flock to the internet while leaving their tv playing absentmindedly in the background. Interaction. Commentary. Well thought out opinions and analysis on issues that you care most about, is what makes the internet, The Internet.
Our parents didn’t have a very far reach when watching the news. They would bring up news stories to their friends in casual conversation, in barbershops, and in passing. Outlets like Twitter and Tumblr have become a sort of modern day barbershop and I personally love every second of it.
Though the (ever dwindling) anonymity the internet offers can act as a mask for those who want to say nasty and hurtful things, we also forget that it can also be used as a kind of armor for those who are less vocally inclined IRL to express ourselves without having the same feelings of trepidation during a face to face battle of wits.
Expressing my opinion, the idea that I do indeed have a unique and valid perspective that someone out there may relate to or gain a better understanding of is still quite a foreign concept to me. I am now realizing that it can be a major part of my growth as a writer, as a student of life, as a human being. I consider myself to be very open to the ideas and experiences of people from all walks of life. Why then wouldn’t I expect to be afforded the same respect when telling my own story?
As my life currently teeters between normalcy and shambles, I’ve decided to take a step in the direction to become more disciplined when it comes to writing. I’m finding it more and more important to get my thoughts out of my head and into something semi-constructive and creative as I worry that my story, my perspective may somehow be lost in time if I don’t get it out. Do you ever hear stories about older family members who have passed who you thought you knew relatively well in the later stages of their life but as it turns out, for whatever reason, you knew absolutely nothing about their early life? Why didn’t they tell you more about themselves while they were here? Or more importantly, why didn’t I ask?
There’s a certain self importance, even an audacity that comes with writing. Something I feel that every single person should pull out of themselves every now and then if only to share their story. What I hope to gain out of this, is a better understanding of myself. I want to become better at forming and vocalizing my opinions. I want to develop and exercise the ability to say what I mean fearlessly. Expression and knowledge of self is what I’m seeking. I encourage any other internet introverts to peek out of their shell and do the same.
You matter. Your opinion matters. Your perspective is valid. So voice it.