I read several political news stories on Facebook everyday. The comments to an article are often just as or even more interesting than the story itself. The articles expose the ugliness of American politics and the comments reveal the ugliness of our hearts – the selfishness, anger, and self-righteousness.
My mother used to tell us kids, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Facebook has made it easy to say something that isn’t nice without saying a word. You can express anger and contempt with a click of a button. It’s especially easy to react uncivilly to strangers.
When Facebook added the laughing reaction icon, I am ashamed to say that I started using it in the same way that I see other people use it – not to express amusement at something that is actually funny, but to let the person commenting know that I think their logic is laughable. Laughing at someone you think is foolish or ill-informed is bad enough; there are people who use the laughing face reaction to ridicule victims of sexual assault.
When used to show disdain, disrespect, and insensitivity to other people, the laughing face on Facebook makes an ass out of me.
My New Year’s resolution is to control my reactions on social media. I resolve to not laugh at strangers. I resolve to not get angry at strangers. I resolve to respect other people, even when I disagree with them. I resolve to not be an ass.
May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and the emoticons I choose be pleasing to you, O Lord.
May the words of my mouthPsalm 19: 14 (NIV)
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer