Medina Journal-Register — Over the past week, the government shutdown has caused quite a commotion.
A group of World War II veterans earned national acclaim for visiting the monument in their honor despite it being closed. Personally, unless you’re telling a 90-something-year-old vet he can’t skydive for health reasons, you shouldn’t tell him he can’t do something as benign as visit a monument.
Oh, and some politicians have tried to close part of the ocean or something.
Heck, even Miley Cyrus skewered this ridiculous shutdown during her hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. I actually laughed, despite not entirely agreeing with it.
Now before I get too involved with the shutdown, let’s bring it back to the local area.
One person I know posted something on a social media site related to the shutdown. It wound up being a story in other outlets, much to this person’s dismay. I’m not one to beg, so after a few attempts at getting the story here, I stopped pressing the issue out of respect.
But, the whole thing got me thinking about, of all things, something I heard a few years ago on ESPN. I had the channel on in the background while I was doing some cleaning — or something like it — in the living room. Former NFL coach turned broadcaster Herm Edwards was giving a motivational speech to incoming professional football players and warned them about the dangers of “hitting send.”
The dangers of living in an increasingly technologically reliant society is that part of our socializing is now done through various types of social media. Almost weekly, we hear or read about some celebrity or pseudo-celebrity tweeting something about one topic or another, and the media analyzes the tweet and the person who wrote it for days at a time.
Recently, one comedian said social media has created a world with “mean kids” who don’t get the chance to the see how words can hurt. Hence, there is a growing epidemic known as cyberbullying. (In some cases, I will admit to thinking it is a bit overblown, but I will also agree that it truly is a problem.)
Words are powerful things. We text, we post, we tweet, and all of those things involve words.
In the heat of the moment, we tend to use rather powerful words. I know I have. I’m willing to bet we all have.
How many times have you or someone you know received a text that left you so infuriated you immediately typed in a response specifically meant to elicit the same emotional response in the original sender? Probably more than once.
How many times has something happened where you felt like you just had to tell someone how incredibly crazy or horrible it was, and then posted those thoughts online somewhere? Probably more than once.
And, how many times have we read stories about an employee at Company XYZ being fired for something posted online, or an emotionally-driven tweet?
See where I’m going with this?
Take a minute to gather your thoughts when there’s a computer or phone nearby, and consider the consequences. It could save you a lot of unneeded stress.
Howard Balaban is a reporter the The Journal-Register. He can be reached at email@example.com.Howard Balaban is a reporter the The Journal-Register. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.