I think it is safe to say that everyone is online! Many of us keep in touch with friends and family, track our finances, check the headlines, and even shop for clothing, food, and cars! The world is changing and so is the way we as people engage with others. Sadly, some of these changes are not always for the good. Along with the constant threat of posts, comments or even our pages being removed (As The Well Armed Woman Instagram page recently experienced, you can read about it here) makes what we post and how we engage more important than ever.
While the majority of us use social media for keeping in touch the people, groups, and organizations that are important to us, there are others that use it as a tool to lash out and bully others.
People act differently online it seems. It is almost as if their inner monster comes out. What they would never dream to say to someone in-person is now said freely from behind their keyboards. This can not only be infuriating and frustrating, but it can also be hurtful. Let’s take a look at how we can approach this challenging issue.
When reading things online, we may find ourselves making assumptions and those that read your posts are making them as well. While it is easy to write a post or make a comment to illustrate your point, what may not be clear is the intention behind it. What I mean by this is as you are reading a post, your mind automatically assumes what the writer’s intentions are. So, if we agree with the writer, we may start assuming their values align with ours. Now on the flip side, if the author is writing about something we don’t believe in or don’t agree with, the author can start to become our enemy. People tend to assume what the other person’s values are and then begin to lump them into certain stereotypes. They feel that the person is the same as other people that don’t share the same views.
That post you don’t agree with was written or shared by a person. We don’t know his or her feelings or their life experiences, which may be totally different from our own. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of the way we react. The two of you may not see eye-to-eye on some things, but that isn’t necessarily a reason to react harshly. If there is something that doesn’t align with your beliefs, try the following:
- Move past, ignore it, or hide it. Choosing not to engage is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of individuals on the internet are just looking for a confrontation, so it may be best to ignore it altogether and continue about your day.
- If you are compelled to write a comment, ask yourself if it is constructive. I believe we all must be examples of people of differing opinions having healthy dialogues. Are they misinformed or have they fallen victim to fake news? Try to take the time to educate with your words, don’t type with blind rage.
Lack of consequence
Another reason I think there is so much ugliness online is the lack of consequence. People can say mean or cruel things without consequence. Think about that. When you are interacting in person, you may disagree with something, but you don’t necessarily go ballistic to confront that difference. There may be a physical altercation that could result or you may subject yourself to public humiliation. Instead, you try to approach the disagreement as a conversation and try to de-escalate any misunderstanding and educate the other person instead of lashing out. If you or they were to default to yelling and shouting, consequences would follow. But somehow, these in-person, real-life consequences don’t seem to exist online.
So, what does that mean to you?
Be mindful of how you respond and what you are posting. Trust me, I know how challenging this can be but I am a firm believer that the view is always better from the high road. Also, being mindful, respectful and open-minded, even when it is really hard to do so, sets a wonderful example that not only the person you are responding to sees, but also the hundreds, perhaps thousands of others that might see it.
This doesn’t mean you can never post what you believe in on social media- it just means to think twice about what you are posting and what the outcome may be. Will it bring value? Will it help to educate others? Sometimes, it just isn’t worth it, nor is the anxiety and stress of getting into a battle online.
We live in a very divided time, and you have to think to yourself “Do I want to risk the possibility of starting an online battle from this content I want to share?” “Am I prepared to handle it?”
It is not about bowing down or giving up the good fight. It is about taking the time to consider and weigh the opportunity and the potential consequences. You will reduce unnecessary angst in your life by avoiding the inflated tension. There are groups of people that do not think straight because they let themselves get so agitated online. These people are typing from a blind rage. Do you honestly want to be a part of that?
What I am NOT Saying
I’m not saying that you cannot exercise your beliefs by exercising your right to expression. It’s an important means to show others who you are and what you believe. Now more than ever with the suppression and the censorship of differing views that take place daily online by those that oppose our Second Amendment rights, it is very important that we inform and educate as many people as possible. Just be mindful that we don’t inadvertently participate in anything less than constructive. We must not become that which we protest.
I am concerned that with all of the bullying that goes on online, and in our desire to avoid all of the ugliness and potential consequences it brings, that American patriots like you and I, begin to lose our voice. If you think about it, that is likely the desired outcome of those doing the bullying. Something to think about…
34 thoughts on “To Post or Not to Post”
I am new to Nevada, a woman, small hands. Quite surprised no requirements other than a background check to own a handgun. I have always wanted a small Baretta – but I see the more popular mentioned for women who are concerned about arthritis OR hand “trouble” (strength) are the Smith & Wesson 9 MM EZ or M&P 380 Shield EZ. Doesn’t Baretta make something more than comparable to either of these? Thank you for reading…I’d also like to know WHERE I might take a short course on usage. This is strictly for inhome use for protection.
I took myself off of social media 3 months ago. I’m happy with having done that. Thank you for the article and I am in agreement with it.
Hi Carrie, although I highly respect you and your viewpoint, with all of the negative press, I am concerned that if those of us who strongly support the second amendment remain silent, that will signify agreement with positions that are divergent with out principles and beliefs. Our lack of. commentary can also have consequences.
Well written article. I am ASSUMING (as in the article), that the intentions of the author were not to silence, but rather to HELP us speak out in a more positive manner.
Yes, people will say lots of things when they don’t have to look you in the eyes. It actually has a name: Online Disinhibition Effect. Very well written article. Maybe we should listen to Thumper’s advice: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And you can disagree with someone and still be nice about it.
I completely agree with what you said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and allowing us to share your thoughts on this.
Too many people are either bullies nowadays. They hide behind their keyboards, saying things they would never say in person.
Then you have the “perpetually offended” crowd, who use what you say to prove you are “racist” or “sexist” or “homophobic” or whatever the latest buzzword is. They are just as bad as the bullies.
I love this Carrie!!
I have been staying away from social media more and more lately. The virulent commentary is just too much. I don’t usually interact with people that I disagree with – for the simple fact that it does become nasty and personal. I recently was the target of something like that. I posted in our local rants and raves page and I ended up deleting my comment when one person said “if you’re that miserable why don’t you just shoot yourself?” I was absolutely astounded, but shouldn’t have been. The personal attacks on others that don’t agree with you have gotten worse and worse – to the point of threatening lives of posters and their family members. I totally agree that the lack of repercussions is what is letting this culture of anger and, truly, hate to exist.
America seems to have become the country of Freedom of speech – as long as you agree with everyone else. If your opinion is different, and you express that (no matter how nicely) then you’re called all sorts of names and are assumed to be a horrid person.
Yeah, just writing this reply upsets me and makes me realize that I really do not need the negativity – but I also believe if I totally never express my own opinion or stand for what is right (legal) then we’ll be steamrolled over and will lose the rights that we do have – the rights that men and women like my son and the young KIA soldier that I escorted yesterday have fought, bleed and died for.
Thanks again for the article, I absolutely, totally 100% agree with you
Thank you for posting this important reminder.
Carrie you are a intelligent woman,you don’t need Facebook start your own site and then you can post only to who you want to post to. and i’m interested in joining your group of women for shooting classes,i need something more to do and that to me is a good thing
Social media has changed, i removed all personal info when i found out they sold info to a company that states you have a criminal record,when i saw ithat i was angry ,because they had the wrong person,wrong address and wrong photo but according to them i was a known felon. What a mess, i notified the FBI cyber division and they straightened everything out for me, i’m employed by the Gov. so know i hate social media,i use Linkenin its for professional people only. U Tube does the same thing if they don’t like your video its removed,so most Patroits are starting their own live chat web sites,so that’s where i post. Everytime you post about guns on Facebook get ready for that knock on your door,it’s that bad
Thank you, I appreciate your courage and class!!
I feel like news/media tend to trend a topic into the ground. It’s there for a period of time being reported on constantly causing people to use the topic to launch an agenda to prove a point, but on the basis of fake news. I tend to like to find facts for myself. Research makes it easier for me to respond and formulate responses. I don’t like political meme pushers. I unfollow those folks. I want substance to reply to. A real post. I don’t mind conversations and debates. I agree that people must be prepared for the negative feedback. What you put out there may not be warmly received.
Thank you for this msg. we all have a right to our opinions, but why must we use such horrible language or vicious thoughts. i rarely post anything because instead of trying to understand each others reasoning most respond with “my way or the highway” y do so in vicious language. Cussing at each other y calling each other names will only lead to more ugliness. The response about post being used by law enforcement or in a court of law is a good Heads Up to all of us. The red flag laws are not really helping anyone.
I find I am much more careful of engaging as I remind myself that if I am behind the scene I can be more effective to the cause. I cannot change those who choose to remain ignorant, and it isn’t worth the stress. Well written, Carrie!!!
It used to be so much easier when news outlets posted the facts and nothing but the facts. I was a journalism student in the late sixties and early seventies and we were taught that unless it was an editorial your own opinion or your own slant was not acceptable. My how things have changed. Thanks for the reminder sometimes it’s really hard to bite your tongue and move past some of the biased opinions. And I admit sometimes I don’t even try.
Thanks for a great post! I’m sure going to think twice about what I reply to.
Well written and absolutely true. A really good read.
Thank you for such a good reminder.
Excellent thoughts, as always! Does our world of social media serve to divide or serve to inform. Do we get sucked in? Take pause and think! Thank you!
I think this is an excellent article. Thank you. I also think that as a concealed carry gun owner it is extremely important to be mindful of our posts. With red flag laws in some areas, you never know if your social media posts could be used against you. Also, if you ever have to use your weapon and wind up in court over weapon usage, a prosecutor could go back and examine previous posts and possibly use that against you. Another thing that concerns me is all the posts showing how we conceal, once it is posted, your picture of you concealing is public. Just some of my thoughts.
I totally agree with you. My concern is the same as well. Losing my voice as an American citizen and patriot it seems is already becoming a reality. Times have definitely changed and as we move forward it seems it’s becoming more acceptable to bully rather than simply disagree and move on.
This is the whole reason I am quitting Facebook. I keep my special groups like WAW in my email. I really am much happier, and totally found out who are REALLY my “friends”. Thank you!
Interesting, as I’m currently dealing with the fallout from a post in a couple of 2A forums – that is going to be the cause of my leaving both groups. Absolutely, expected that people would not necessarily agree with my POV, and had posted my thoughts on this particular subject as part of a larger view on the subject. But the extreme narrow mindedness of some, in response, has made me question what do I get from the groups.
specifically? I said I agreed with several large well known businesses request that people not open carry in their stores. They are not asking us to disarm, just not flaunt our guns, as there are others who are uncomfortable at the sight of guns. First, as a business owner myself, I know that businesses have the right to dictate behavior within their premises. and Secondly, think that we make more friends with common courtesy than we do telling people to stuff their opinions where the sun don’t shine because we disagree.
and honestly, I was appalled at the number of people who felt that their 2A rights over ruled any and all other positions on the subject, including using ones 1A rights to express an opinion contrary to theirs.
My post was intended to hopefully open up discussion about what rights businesses had to make such requests, the rights that exist within the open market, and just the idea of courtesy towards people who had other POV’s.
It was made clear that there was no room for such discussion within these groups.
I soon as you started to say” people with narrow points of view and the nastiness that comes with it”, I knew exactly what you had posted about. I am a supporter of the 2 amend and also a supporter of measured gun control. However most supporters of the second amend are extremist and think that ALL measures are nothing but a complete revocation of gun rights.
I see both sides of this particular issue and both have a point. I am one of those who worries about the “foot in the door” syndrome, i.e., letting government start regulating who can and who can’t own a weapon could start the momentum for disarming us. And if anyone is “unfit” to own a weapon, then the test for “unfitness” is the government’s, and look how extremist the government’s interpretation of nearly anything is! On the other hand, we see people in the news every day who should never be allowed to touch a weapon of any kind. It’s a very difficult call, and no one who holds a sincere, thoughtful view should be condemned for it.
Excellent post, and I try to follow the principles you set forth, having learned some very hard lessons personally. Who of us has NOT been the target of someone’s vitriol and crept away to lick our wounds? Even on our neighborhood site, where we are not anonymous, I see people tearing each other apart. I believe we have a spiritual problem and that it will only get worse.
I have lost my voice when it comes to posting anything but a picture of a shooting date with my husband. I am so afraid of the long term implications of publicly supporting 2A and firearms ownership. It is sad but true.
wow, beautifully written! And every bit of the post is so true. Thank you for this. It is something I needed read. You are amazing!
excellent points–sometimes the best way to win an argument is to allow the crickets to make noise and me keep silent
Excellent article. You managed to cover all sides and ended with a thought provoking statement. I really enjoyed this. Thanks
Well said – and I don’t think we can share this enough in today’s world. We have to keep reminding ourselves and others that a wonderful tool can be used for negativity, just like our self defense tool can be used for terrible things.
Thank you for your bravery in tackling this and many other delicate matters!!!!!!