One of my favorite songs of all time is the song Across the Universe by The Beatles. To be fair this isn’t the most original favorite song of all time but I feel like this song is very relatable. Lennon’s original inspiration for the song was an argument that he had with his wife Cynthia where she kept going on and on about something. To me Lennon is waxing poetic on the garbage that comes out of your mouth and your inevitable vulnerability to feelings.
In the moment that John and his wife were yelling the complaint was that his/her words were bouncing off his/her mouths and colliding with the jive of the universe; tampering with his/her future and transforming the paths of others’ destiny in the bubble of his/her existence.
We no longer live in the era that this song was written and yes the things we do say echo on and on across the universe; however, they have a much more public and permanent venue to latch onto in today’s world. I am speaking of any social media venue of your choosing; Facebook and Twitter are obviously the primary culprits.
When you say things in today’s world via social media, they don’t just echo on and on forever but they live on and on forever. I don’t think this a fair condition for humanity to exist in but it is the current predicament. Chris Hardwick, CEO of Nerdist Industries, once said on an interview with Bill Maher that the internet effectively takes seconds of stupidity and anger and allows you to rant about it in a written forum then click post which catapults that impulsive idea into a public arena where it should have never existed anyways. He warns that thinking before you speak is a thing of the past and the contemporary mantra is to think before you post.
I’ll be honest; I haven’t always excelled at this myself. Thinking before you post isn’t just a protocol of etiquette but a virtue, something that takes time and diligence to improve yourself at. A five second perusal of my Facebook feed is laden with rants relating to trending topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, current foreign policy fiascos in Iraq, and your favorite thing to hate at Stetson. I say rants because none of the post are fueled by facts but by anger and impulsivity. A few months ago I was incredibly distraught over an increase in Stetson’s tuition and I decided to take to my Facebook wall to get all my feelings out. Perhaps this wasn’t the biggest mistake of my life but it was really embarrassing and I assure you that it was my one and only time making that mistake. I realized a few days later that everything I said wasn’t actually factual or verifiable but a short lived, never-the-less intense, feeling of very convincing rage.
The moral of the story is that you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. Much like John Lennon never got anywhere hearing his wife ranting, you will never contribute anything useful to humanity by taking to social media to rant about topics upon which you may not be completely educated. You will just add to the noise and confusion, which is something ample and easy to come by already.