Is it possible we *don’t* have to say EVERYTHING we are thinking?

So, in the last 24-48 hours there have been some silly posts, some ugly posts, some defensive posts, some asinine posts in the Catholic blogosphere. I’m not going to tell you who wrote them or what they are about, but more than a few have showed up in links on facebook, twitter, in emails and RSS feeds. I can, off the top of my head, think of 15 of them that have resulted in the author then going back and vigorously defending what they say they were trying to say and how everyone just jumped to conclusions and isn’t letting them have their opinion and blah, blah, blah, blah.

And this is what I’m going to say to all those people who wrote all those posts: you don’t have to say every single thing you are thinking online. I understand that in this 24 hour news cycle world we live in where we carry our phones everywhere so we can take pictures and update statuses and tweet and live-blog the temptation is to constantly check in with everyone you know and tell them everything about this moment in time, but that doesn’t mean  you have to. You have an opinion, great, but if you choose to share it, you can’t get upset with people who dislike it or misinterpret it. And you certainly shouldn’t treat anyone who misinterprets what  you read as though they are a child because they don’t “get” you or what you wrote. Tone is not always easy to read on the internet. And if someone does prod you, well, you can engage like an adult and discuss it civilly OR you can attack them for not being “hip” enough to get how cool your sarcasm, snarkiness or whatever you were doing was.

If you are angry about something or impassioned, that’s fine. That’s great. Sure you can blog about it. But blog smartly. Calah Alexander has a wonderful post about what she learned from firing off an angry post and the reaction that resulted. People are human, they will dislike and misunderstand you if given half the chance. And I cannot tell you how many angry, reactionary posts I  have written that instead of hitting publish, I deleted. Sometimes I deleted because I wasn’t sure my point was really made through all my anger. Other times, I just needed to get the thoughts in my head out and realized, “No one wants to hear this or even cares!” And sometimes, I am struck with charity toward the person or situation or thing I am angry about. And hit delete and pray for them and myself, instead.

I am not saying I don’t make mistakes, but I’m seeing a lot of hare trigger reactions both by bloggers originating their posts and by those responding and it’s gotten ugly. REAL UGLY. And maybe it’s time we all step back a bit, take a deep breath and re-evaluate why we post much of what we post.

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