Today I came face to face with this stark truth: social media gives jerks a pass. Rude people face no social repercussion for their antics online. (I'm in favour of a firing squad armed with rotten eggs.) Unfortunately, even otherwise good and kind people have been sucked into the social media vortex that says that you can be rude as long as you haven't met the person (or don't like the person) who is the target of your insensitivity.
Oddly enough, social media is making us more media savvy but certainly not socially literate and kind. People hide behind screen names only to hurl insults and concoct diatribes that only serve to hurt others. There was a time when men were men. There was a time when to be a man meant standing behind what one said and taking whatever consequences may befall you. With the cowardly use of the internet, those days are gone. We, however, don't have to give anonymous opinions any weight, credence, or consideration. Simply put, if you don't sign your name, don't expect me to care about reading your criticism.
Unfortunately, social media has tapped into the sinful instinct of man and provided an avenue for such things as bullying, gossip, character assassination, and just plain rude behaviour. Pride, it seems, is the highest virtue in the realm of social media. After all, my profile is all about me, right? I post there what I think is right and the things that matter to me. I comment on (read this correct) other people's posts when I don't think they got it right. I post "selfies" every time I get a new hairdo or for that matter, a new box of Corn Flakes. After all, everyone wants to know what I am eating for breakfast, right? We have to realize that the "social" aspect of social media can make one very egocentric. If people don't respond to what we are saying we just use GREAT BIG LETTERS so they know that we mean business and that they should pay attention to us. We snoop through the profiles of others and stand in the shadows watching conversations only for the purpose of being nosy. (Send that guy to the egg armed firing squad too.)
Really now, in what segment of polite and kind society do we put up with those employing these tactics of low character? I restate my thesis: social media gives jerks a pass. For some reason that is inexplicable to me people think that the golden rule does not apply to the way they interact with others via social media. It is sad really, because we are becoming a people for whom the social graces are irrelevant, a people who do not treat all people lovingly...just the ones that we know and then only when they are physically in front of our faces. God help us to treat each person who crosses our path, in person or online, as someone that Jesus loves and show His heart of concern for them. We cannot (and should not) escape social media, but we must have behaviour toward others online that passes the test of love.