DTP Blog 28, Keyboard Warriors!

Check out this article I wrote for NSPIRE.

Keyboard Warriors

By Tanya Uhrich

The good old World Wide Web. How you have helped connect all of us by tearing us all further apart. Remember the good days of waking up to a newspaper on your front steps? Once upon a time that was our source of news, that and the nightly news on television. Fast forward to today we simply pick up our cell phones and have the world at our fingertips. This isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Stories get put in front of you based on things you have clicked on or the subject you typed in. Therefore it narrows down what type of information you are seeing. The problem with that is we are a lazy society and very rarely take the time to evaluate the content. So many believe that if it’s on the internet then it has to be true. I shake my head frustrated every time I remember some people out there believing that.  

Not only does the internet provide our daily news among a million other things, but it gives keyboard warriors the chance to comment on everything. Again, I shake my head frustrated. As a writer, it is becoming a very slippery slope on how to write. Do you write staying in a completely neutral zone or like me, do you say what everybody else is thinking. Everybody that knows me will agree I am that person.

Here is the problem, we have our beliefs on certain things and people forget we are entitled to that. So instead they get behind their handy little keyboard and start tearing the story down. By all means, you have the right to think it, but what gives you the right to so strongly believe that your “opinion” is the only one that should matter? I understand that some people just want to be heard, right or wrong. But does this help the situation? Absolutely not! It only starts a very long string of disrespectful and hurtful comments, therefore, igniting a war over something as ridiculous as to what color someone mentioned the sky was. So why even hit enter and post that comment? I am not saying every comment is bad, some are really great. Why don’t we build each other up and encourage and support others? Instead today people hide behind petty and jealous comments made behind a keyboard.

I am a Gen X and was raised by a Baby Boomer. My childhood was full of fighting and hurtful comments by my siblings. Still today we insult each other but at least now it is done out of love. Still mean, but we all can take it without being the least bit offended. My Dad still to this day says, “toughen up buttercup. The world is not going to do you any favors.” I didn’t realize how accurate those words were until the internet came along. I would be a disappointment to my Dad if I hid behind a keyboard. He didn’t raise me to only have the courage to say something hiding in the comfort of my home.

I am a big believer saying it out loud invites a conversation with real people in front of you. Those conversations open more thoughts on a subject and help you understand their point of view as well as them yours. Hiding behind a keyboard does nothing but make you look too scared to have an honest conversation with people face to face. So I ask when a news story out of let’s say New York posts a news article, why do you feel by typing a mean comment it’s going to invite any type of real conversation? What is happening there is not necessarily our situation to comment on. Chances are you will never meet the person that wrote the story so no discussion is going to take place. Not everybody needs to understand everybody else or agree with them. Instead, pick your battles. Does arguing with somebody online for three hours out of your day really fix anything? No, It simply gives an ulcer and high blood pressure.

With technology today it is so easy to become that keyboard warrior and hide behind it. Breakups, arguments, bad customer service are just a few things people type on their phone to avoid facing the problem. Instead, just send a quick text and be done with it with no regard to the respect you show someone by speaking to them. I know not all conversations are easy but you will learn a lot more by having that difficult conversation. So stop being a keyboard warrior because it gets you nowhere. Instead, invite a real conversation with an open mind if you feel that passionately about a subject where you feel you need to be heard. But take the time and respect to consider their side as well. Every single one of us has different beliefs on almost everything. Respect that. Realizing we are all in this world together fighting the same fight can help you understand them and yourself better. Have a conversation, not an argument. Listen as much as you speak. Consider the other side as much as your side. Throw the keyboard warrior badge you wear so proudly away and become something better. A person with integrity and respect for everybody.

If you have a topic suggestion you would like me to explore please email me at uhricht@gmail.

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