THERE has been so much going on over the last few weeks and months, with many around the world unable to physically go to work or attend school, much less engage in their usual recreational activities as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 threat. Though things have already begun to open up locally, what obtains is far from the norm.
Nowhere has it been more evident recently that people have much more time on their hands than on social media. Social networking sites have been the go-to for anyone who wants to vent, or even just continue socializing and meeting new people in a world where social distancing and keeping as far away from others seems to have become the norm.
One thing that has been apparent in this space as more and more people take to websites like Facebook to air their frustrations, is how easy it is to get offended nowadays. Someone says something that does not sit well with us, and nine times out of 10, we want an apology. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting another person to apologize based on something that has been said which may be inaccurate, or even disrespectful. Where offensiveness may come into play is when a person decides to ridicule, disrespect, or completely cut another person off for something they have expressed, simply because it differs from their own opinions or beliefs. This happens so often for such trivial things, and even more so now that many of us, for business, networking, socializing, or other purposes, are practically living on Facebook.
Now that election time or “silly season” is upon us, things have taken a turn for the worst. Many have long determined the camps they will be sticking to – red, or yellow as usual, and some seem to have no care for the acquaintances or even friends they might lose along the way while they either campaign right alongside their party even attacking other people for their personal opinions, or react to other people doing this, by shutting them out of their pages, and out of their lives.
Offence comes into play often particularly in social media comment threads, and you might have noticed this in some of the popular Saint Lucian political or networking social media groups. Typically, people use these threads to freely express their opinions, but with a whirlwind of varying perspectives, someone is bound to get offended, and this happens often.
The truth of the matter, and what we must all realize is that it is necessary to get past this unnecessary spirit of offence in order to have real conversations, to have our voices heard, and our opinions even heard past the point of getting spirited online reactions. These reactions have chain reactions, which really and truly don’t bear any fruit – aside from fueling more online wars, political and otherwise. We can get up on our soap boxes and say things that are (intentionally or not) offensive, attack other people who will in turn feel offended, or we can pause, and really think. It is important to share, and vent, and enlighten… but it is also important to swallow the reactions that are often solely coming from a place of offence and ego.