Monday, May 22, 2017

When social media goes over the line

It is increasingly becoming one of my least favorite things about this job.

As part of my duties, I spend a lot of time on social media.

I'm finding it an increasingly difficult, even depressing situation.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, the opinions I express online - in my columns, blogs and editorials. Far from it, a robust discussion is part of the essential role of the newspaper.

But there are limits, and too often on social media, the conversation quickly veers away from anything that can be considered robust. Disrespectful? Oh, yeah, there's plenty of that. Hurtful? Why not. Pile it on.

I have a pretty thick skin. You spend any time in this business, and you expect to take some heat.

But the people who engage with me online don't necessarily always comport with those same rules.

Over the weekend, during another raging discussion on a blog item and editorial I penned again urging President Trump to be just that - more presidential - the argument got personal.

The barbs were not directed at me, but rather one of the people taking part in the discussion.

No, he was not agreeing with me. Far from it. I have no problem with that.

What I have a problem with is another commenter who decided to make this personal, and attacked both the man and his business. That's where I draw the line.

I rarely delete material that appears online. But I have to tell you that I am considering it.

I think social media has an important role to play in delivering the news. At least I hope so. I'd hate to think I am wasting all this time every day.

But I loathe how quickly the conversation too often descends into personal attacks, crude references and name-calling.

I think we're better that.

I hope my readers agree. If not, I suggest they move on and offer their small-minded opinions elsewhere.

1 Comments:

Anonymous joycecmi@aol.com said...

I am with you Phil! Civil Discourse is what the LWV asks for and we try to live up to that. I find that those who cannot find a reasonable reason to support any candidate seem to turn to trying to cut others down. It is a sad commentary on how folks treat each other these days.

May 22, 2017 at 11:02 AM 

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