As the world evolves, something fascinating is happening. It is unprecedented, and it is shaking the very foundation of our societies and the world. One might say it is shaping a new world and they would be right. It has been a couple of decades in the making and it finally has reached the point of no return. I am talking about the generalization of various online platforms that give anyone a voice. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and dozens of others. I couldn’t name them all.
The world has literally changed dramatically since the introduction of these platforms. Studies show that the platforms have changed our behavior, way of thinking, empathy, interactions, the way we talk, write, and even exercise. We are still learning how to navigate through this bizarre interconnected and super connected world. For example, I hate emojis and would rather read what people write instead of seeing a yellow face covering its eyes. I find them deeply fucking ambiguous! Voila, I said it! Let’s not forget the memes, GIFs, snaps, etc. It is confusing. Communication has never been so complicated, yet we communicate more frequently than ever.
Today, everyone has a platform. Therefore, they have a voice. Anyone can be heard. Anyone can talk about everything, anything, to anyone. There is a direct contact that has been created with technology. We all use those platforms (social media, email, video call, texts, blogs, etc.) to communicate, to convey information and so much more. There are no limitations whatsoever. The dark web and other platforms host forums where people discuss radical ideas, deal drugs, order killings, facilitate human trafficking and it is also used for many other nefarious purposes which we will be not discussing today.
So, we have established that all of us can have a voice. Yet, there are two important points that come with having a voice.
First, having a voice isn’t synonymous with having expertise or gravitas. It isn’t the same thing at all, and people confuse that. I am not saying one shouldn’t voice their opinion. They should. Yet…I could talk about the technicalities of nuclear physics but since I don’t have a PhD in nuclear physics, my voice and opinion don’t matter one bit. I could talk about the risks of nuclear waste, nuclear proliferation and its dangers but even then, I don’t have much, if any expertise in that area. I will leave that to someone who studied in the field. I could speak about Dragon Ball Z, a field I master since I am a teenager and my opinion will count. Get my drift?
The second thing and it might matter even more than the first: when you talk, write, tweet, do a video or voice your opinion in any way, then please know that not everyone will agree with you or share your opinions. That is an undeniable and unequivocal fact. Do not act all surprised for the love of all the Gods. You already know this. Already, in your everyday life, there are a lot of people who will disagree with you, some won’t even like you! 2 people will never agree on everything. They might agree on most things, on a few things, but never on everything. Criticism is a direct consequence of putting yourself out there. Whether you like it or not, people will criticize you. Most of the pushback from others will be benign, sometimes harmless if one’s lucky. Some of the criticism will be disguised as mockery or plain sarcasm. Finally, a small portion of the criticism will be mean, hurtful, insulting, it might even be threatening unfortunately.
That is the price to pay when you put yourself out there. Is it fair or unfair? Mostly unfair I’d argue but that is how human nature is. I see this negative behavior on social media. People who only spend their time attacking others, trolling as they call it. They do so because it is fun to them, or because they want visibility, acknowledgment, or just hurt people because they might just be sociopaths or psychopaths. Who knows? Their motivation doesn’t matter as much as what they say and how they say it.
Keep also in mind that certain people who voice their opinion cannot defend them and they get metaphorically and verbally killed. It is a shame. Others can masterfully defend their point of view and a small portion of the population even thrives in hostile environments. Criticism doesn’t stop because of your sensibilities though. It keeps coming until it annihilates you or until you learn how to handle it. How you react to criticism determines who you are. Are you resilient? Are you Stubborn? Do you know how to persevere? Can you take in the good and constructive criticism and apply it to become better? Can you ignore the naysayers/haters? So many questions that you will need to answer one day.
I write and share my opinions on a myriad of subjects. The responses usually are positive. People often tell me they don’t agree with me and they even give their perspective and sometimes I end up changing my mind on a given subject if the argument makes sense or when presented with new facts. One must listen to critics and I do my best in that regard. Yet, sometimes, rarely, critics are simply mean, unpleasant, or designed to hurt. I am not immune to criticism, I am human, I have feelings, a soul, a heart I believe. I have mastered the art of ignoring the mean-spirited critics and it took some time. My dear brother told me about my responsibility as a writer and how I was opening myself to criticism. My brother was right. He warned me that it might not be an easy path to walk but so far, I am handling it as well as expected. I am not superhuman, I just learned how to deal with whatever comes my way.
Do not be surprised if others criticize you, somehow, it is a social imperative. Hopefully criticism will help you grow. Hopefully, you get the fortitude to see what you need to improve on instead of being totally silenced. Keep in mind that criticism never stops, it might become less intense or less frequent, sometimes it increases depending on the case, but it will always be there. So, learn how to defend your point of view, learn how to speak or write so you could get your point across. There are books that can help you with that, just check amazon. Granted, it isn’t an easy task, defending your point of view but it is doable. Consistency is key in learning.
Anyway, it seems to me that we all have two choices: you either take risks, try new things and get criticized or you do nothing, you stay constant and you will get criticized as well. You might as well be criticized while being productive and taking risks. I always choose that option. If we don’t take risks in life, how will we ever learn and evolve?
Just one man’s opinion.
Now, smile and go on with your day.