I have to start this posting with a story. This past weekend I was out running errands. While out driving from one place to another, I had a driver in a mini-van start to slowly drift into my lane. I was inching my way to the curb to avoid a collision, thinking that the driver would quickly notice where they were and self-correct back to the center lane. It became very clear to me that this wasn't going to happen so I quickly tapped my horn (twice I seem to recall). This startled the driver who snapped back a hand gesture that wasn't very appropriate or kind. Before I could even react to this, the driver turned left and darted into a parking lot where a kid's football game was about to start. Now I can handle a little hand gesture now and then (well, maybe not) but when the van is full of young children, I begin to wonder what other life lessons these children are learning from someone who they are suppose to look up to for guidance and direction.
So now I'm thinking about what I see posted on Facebook, Twitter, blogs,YouTube, the list goes on. People tend to say what's on their mind. Sometimes it is positive, and other times it can be cruel and vendictive. You can never be 100% positive that what you read or see is in fact the entire story (or the truth). As I look back at the driver of the mini-van, his reaction to my beeping of the horn was (IMHO) not what I would have expected. The same can be said for tweets, posts or video blogs that I've seen posted (look at all the false reports of famous people dying over the summer). Without knowing the whole story, I can't tell if what I see or read is in fact the entire story. Maybe the driver thought that I was deranged and about to throw down a smash-up derby challenge. Maybe the van was filled with a bunch of wild people who were about to terrorize the park. I will never know the whole truth. What I can say for sure is that any blog, tweet, or post is only one side of the story.
So the lessons learned are:
1) Never over-react to a tweet or blog. In the story of the mini-van driver, my reaction was to mind my own business and keep on driving. As I read tweets, Facebook posts or blogs, I choose to keep my comments positive or silent. Since I don't know both side of the story, I could end up saying something that I will live to regret. As we all know, once it is posted to the digital world, there are no mulligans or returns.
2) Be careful who you choose to look up to and support on the digital roadways. Are they a mini-van drivers on the verge of a nervous breakdowns because the kids wanted to stop at McDonalds before the game or kind and gentle souls who would stop to help the homeless?
I'm not going to dictate to you how to react but at least you know what I will do in Cyberspace.
Stay safe and drive between the white lines.