Social Media and Sisterhood

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One of the things critical to our wellness as human beings is our connectivity to others. And nothing seems to have both connected and “disconnected” us more than our gadgets: iPads, iPhones, mobile phones.


Our gadgets, however, have become a dangerous way to communicate when we are angry, disappointed or otherwise annoyed with someone on something. It used to be that we wrote letters to the editor, picked up the phone, talked it over with a cup of coffee or out for drinks, or in the public policy realm we attended public forums to vent. Things have changed. Now we simply send a text, email, tweet, or post on Facebook about anything and everything. We all have done it, and usually after we hit the send or post button we think better of what we have said and wish we could take it back (at least some of us do).


A perfect example of the boundary we have crossed in our cyber rants, was on display this past week, when veteran writer and filmmaker dream hampton decided to leave Twitter after a series of public attacks on her teenage daughter via her Twitter feed. I personally considered doing the same thing two weeks ago after I took a public stance against same-sex marriage as a matter of my religious faith. I had been on the record for years as a supporter of civil unions and gay adoption. Yet, as a Christian I accept the Biblical definition of marriage in Matthew 19:4, as between “male & female.” I (and some others) was “called out” on TV by Professor Michael Eric Dyson as a “sexual redneck” and “religious bigot” for my position. Subsequently, I had a debate on MSNBC’s The Ed Show with Dyson. After our debate I received a series of tweets so vile that I dare not repeat them here. My life was threatened. I was called vicious names, and people wished me dead. It was simply mind numbing and scary all at once.


In my case, as a journalist my opinions are fair game for public comment and response, but when expressing our opinions become personal attacks, or worse threats to a person’s safety we need to take a step back and evaluate. The goal of this piece this morning is to get us to reflect on why we are so angry, why we react instead of “responding” to what upsets or perplexes us, and why we take it out so readily on social media, texts or emails.

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