From what I’ve seen of it so far, a lot of what is being communicated on it is more like Antisocial Media.
Back in the 1700s, our newspapers often carried diverse opinions, some of them partisan and even inflammatory, but nothing like we’re experiencing these days. I would venture to say, after a reading a few of the most incendiary posts, that bloody war is about to break out any minute now, on a wide variety of fronts — in the sports world, in North Korea, in the U.S. Congress, in racial relations, in medicine, in the national budget and taxes, in Russia, and in far-flung areas devastated by recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, like Texas, California, Florida, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
My word! Either you have a lot more angry people than we did (back in Revolutionary War times), or our little 241-year-old experiment in democracy is about to detonate and blow us all to kingdom come.
As the elder statesman, time-traveling Founding Father, and voice of reason around here, I thought it would be a good time to offer a little advice to all you texters and twitterers. Here are Franklin’s words of wisdom on social media:
- Be nice. If you don’t have anything decent to say, don’t say it.
- Check your facts. Just because you read something “on the web” doesn’t mean it’s true. Before you go around spreading more lies and misinformation (making matters worse), make sure what you’re repeating and retweeting is the honest, genuine article, and not some made-up story designed to further divide and inflame us.
- Take a moment to take a deep breath, exhale, and realize that some of these things you’re getting upset and angry about, when put in the perspective of “the bigger picture,” are really not worth a hill of beans. Focus on what really is important, not the trivial or incidental.
- Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; revenging one puts you even with him or her; forgiving the insult or injury sets you above them. Even as difficult as it is, take the high road at all times, my friends.*
Your humble servant,
*Except of course, when there is an impending Constitutional crisis, which requires us to speak the painful truth about the lack of mature, rational leadership at the topmost level of our nation.