It's a wonderful thing the internet, you can find out all kinds of information, you can learn about different people, with different ideas, you can travel and experience different cultures without leaving the comfort of your armchair. Or, you can behave like a dick.
The great thing about being on line, is that you don't actually see people, or interact with them in a way that you would if you were face to face, so it can give you the courage to say things that you might never say in person. You can have debates with people that you've never met before, and express your point of view about all manner of topics. The problem is though, that it can give you the courage to say things that you might never say in person and have debates with people you've never met before... you get the idea.
Every so often, things get blown out of all proportion, people get angry and feelings get hurt. Never a good thing. Often when this happens, someone will post a THINK meme. It's a great idea in theory, think before you speak (or type). It's even been turned into a little acronym. T is it thoughtful, H is it honest, I is it inspiring, N is it necessary, K is it kind. Now, I should say, before going any future, that I have no issue with actually thinking before you say anything, if nothing else, you're far less likely to make a fool or yourself, but this particular idea? I'm not keen on at all.
T; is it thoughtful? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what this even means, is it thoughtful? Meaning have you thought about it? Or thoughtful in the sense that it thinks of someone else. Really it does depend on where and what is being posted, but does everything we comment on need to be thoughtful? Valid and true, but if it's something that needs to be said or talked about, then I'm not sure about thoughtful.
H; is it honest? As with all of these things, it will depend on what's being talked about, but is it honest? Is it truthful, yes, it's best not to be making things up to back up your stance, I'm not sure that I'd call this being honest necessarily though. Of course being honest to yourself about why you feel like this is important.
I; is it inspiring? Now this one, I happen to think, is a load of rubbish. If I were only to ever write or say things that were inspiring, then I'd never say or write anything. Does something have to be inspiring to be valid? Of course not. Should you always try to be inspiring? Well, if you really must, although I suspect that you're more likely to sound as though you're full of yourself.
N; is it necessary? I can agree with this one a little bit more than the others. If you're having a disagreement or a discussion, then it's always worth thinking about if it's necessary. Do you really need to get into an argument? Are there things to be gained by it, or is the person that you're talking to just actually winding you up and you want to retaliate?
K; is it kind? I'm not going to suggest that you should be actively unkind, but being kind, or at least outwardly so, isn't always the best thing to do. Sometimes, things need to be said, or discussed, and it might seem very unkind to the person you are discussing them with to bring them up, but they might need to be said.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into all of this, there's no doubt that some pretty nasty comments get made on facebook and other places on line, but I'm not sure that this nicey-nicey approach is actually all that much better. Yes, you should always think before you speak or post, but you should also be true to yourself and your ideals. Don't be afraid of standing up for what's important and what you believe in, just don't be a dick about it.