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Ever since the invention of FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets, people speak their minds in a way that was never before possible. Or if you want it put another way, it’s given a voice to the voiceless. In some ways, that’s a nice thing to have. In other ways, the privilege has been horrifically abused. There’s a lot of nasty exchanges out there.

In the olden days, people were told if they couldn’t say something nice about someone, to keep their mouth shut. That piece of wisdom has apparently gone the way of the 8-track player. Keeping your opinions to yourself is unheard of. I wonder where that self-control went? Social media outlets have allowed us to broadcast our private conversations to the world. What once were discussions over a dinner table or in a fishing boat are put out on the internet for all to see. People complain our privacy is being trampled upon while sharing every secret on-line. Not a lot of rational sense to that. If you want privacy, quit sharing everything on the internet.

We’re blessed to live in a country where everyone is free to think whatever they want as long as it doesn’t endanger others. They’re also free to disagree with other opinions. Social media sites allow some small measure of anonymity so people can be run down, criticized, made fun of, bullied, or physically threatened just because someone disagrees with them and wants to be vocal about it. America is (or at least used to be) a place where thoughts and ideas were freely exchanged and respected, whether or not everyone agreed. Not everybody is going to be interested in my opinion and the same can be said for yours. Let’s respect each other and debate the issues instead of hitting each other over the head with it.

So spread some on-line love. Do something nice for someone. Instead of sharing some snarky post about one side of the political spectrum, do something nice by spreading a little cheer, a little joke, or a little sense of accomplishment. Give people a reason to smile. Talking about or reading social media about pleasant things is more productive than reading ugly and nasty posts. Maybe it’s time to update a bit of wisdom: if you can’t say something nice, maybe it shouldn’t be posted and shared.

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