#1000Speak | Compassion in the Virtual World

compassion in the virtual worldSometimes I get so very tired. There’s a constant inundation of negative news and that news brings some of the harshest, angriest criticisms and critiques. Especially if these conversations revolve around topics that can be personal or touchy– race relations, politics, weight, reproduction issues, the list goes on and on.

There’s a tendency to forget that behind these words, clacking on these keys, are real people. In a video, the people who are vlogging or creating content are actual people who exist in the world. Looking at life through a screen gives some people a sense of distance and let’s them feel comfortable to be as cruel as they want to be without any actual thought to the effect those words can have. They are attacking the words and the ideas, right? Not the person. (We’ll ignore for the moment those who immediately go to the personal attacks on weight, race, etc. They’ve already proven that they are just trying to cut someone down.)

But words and ideas are not divorced from the people who say them. Even though it’s just online, a person is writing those thoughts. Even if the argument is fundamentally different than my feelings on the subject, I try to find a way to address it that isn’t a cold dressing down of that person. But there’s times that it’s too much for me. That my emotions are swelling in my throat and I just want to angrily punch my feelings into the screen.

I choose to walk away. Deciding to not engage, can be a compassionate act in itself. It’s not always necessary to weigh in on a subject, and I try to really pick and choose my battles. In it all, I try to remember that even if the idea seems absolutely moronic there’s a person sharing those thoughts and I don’t have to be damaging and cruel in my response even if he or she doesn’t give the world that same respect. I don’t have to be “that guy.”

How do you choose to show the world compassion in your online life?

This is for the 1000 Voices for Compassion linkup. We’ve been doing a quarterly linkup and having a monthly time where we can post about compassion of the topic or the topic of the month. This month we’re talking about compassion. If you’re written a post, please link it up here. And if you haven’t written anything, but you want to read what others have written, go there as well.


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5 Responses to #1000Speak | Compassion in the Virtual World

  1. Love this. And there are so many days when I think, dang it, we need a compassion/empathy/feel good/spread-the-love movement.
    And I’m sending you hugs and light and all things glittery! Hope you’ve been well!
    Cynthia recently posted..This New House Is Like a MiracleMy Profile

  2. I’ve found that most people who express a strong opinion on social media are so convinced about it, they will not present facts even if it’s presented to them. So, walking away is usually the policy I find best. The only time I don’t walk away is if someone personally attacks a friend. I’ve had people make hateful comments on one of my friend’s wall about homosexuality and I did my best to shut that person down. Other times though, it’s not worth the fight!
    Roshni recently posted..Compassion for Immigrants #1000SpeakMy Profile

  3. This is so important for us all to remember. Great choice for #1000Speak.
    Kerry recently posted..What Are You Afraid Of?My Profile

  4. Love this Tamara. It speaks to me. I also find that sometimes stepping away is the best thing to do – and then to notice my thoughts and feelings about it and deal with that.
    I also think your point about picking when to engage is important too. For instance, if someone I’ve never met posts something with hatred undertones, I have no idea how they are likely to react, and my opinion is not likely to matter a jot to them. I used to try to engage by providing information, but I’ve found that it is not effective – the person isn’t interested in changing their view through a few tweets or comments, and the last time I tried this I was blocked.
    On other hand, over the weekend a couple of people I know posted stuff I challenged. One shared someone else’s post about the refugees that was likely to stir up misunderstanding and hate, the other commented on a video I’d shared about religious intolerance.
    I knew the person who shared the refugee post well, and was surprised at them sharing such a post though I know they can sometimes have kneejerk reactions to stuff, so I noted that the post’s writer seemed to have been frightened by witnessing violence in one camp but was making huge leaps to conclude that the refugees were really plants sent out by IS. I also did some digging and found that the post had been shared on sites that are stirring up hatred against the refugees, and that the page it had originated on had been deleted from Facebook – and let them know that too.
    With the second person, I again knew the background and it was obvious from the comments that they felt unfairly treated because of their own religion, so I acknowledged that while pointing out that two wrongs don’t make a right, that everyone should be free to practice their religion wherever they live.
    In both cases, the people deleted what they’d posted, and the second messaged me to apologise.
    As I’m writing, I see that a key aspect was in both cases I could see the person’s innocence – that they were experiencing fear or confusion, rather than deliberately trying to attack someone else. I guess that’s your point about remembering that there’s a person sharing the thoughts! In both these cases it was easy to do that, but often we don’t really know the person so we make assumptions. When might think this is how the person always is, when sometimes it’s as simple as that they’ve had a bad day or been drinking.
    Okay, this is a kinda long comment so I’ll stop now!
    Yvonne recently posted..The Power of Letting Go of Self-JudgementsMy Profile

  5. I try to be as considerate and open-minded to all individuals, regardless of the topic and my worldviews. I respect all opinions, and have been told that I’m slow to anger and offense. It is my hope that I can lead by example, you know?

    Beautiful post, Tamara.:)

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