An Aspiration For the New Year

Now the holidays are over and the new year’s on its way, its time for that Janusian moment, where we look back over the year that’s passed and look forward to the year to come. And while much electronic ink will be spilled on retrospectives and top whatever-number lists, I find myself more inclined to look ahead, and to, if not resolve, then at least aspire to make improvement to myself and my way of being in the world.

Number one on my list of aspirations for 2016 is to project my best self in my online and social media presence.

The internet is a wondrous and enchanting place (at least it can be). But it’s also, thanks to the distance it puts between people, a really easy place to give your worst intincts free rein. It’s easy to say things online, in comment threads or tweets or blog posts, that you’d never say to a person’s face. It’s easy to let your anger get away from you, or hell, just say some nasty shit just to get a reaction out of somebody. It’s easy to call people who don’t agree with you idiots, and to denigrate their intellect, parentage, and character, largely consequence-free.

It’s easy, in short, to be an asshole.

And it’s not like I haven’t done it. Among folks who know me I am famous for anger management issues, and I have always loved a good argument.

But arguing rarely convinces, and being an asshole doesn’t do much but make the folks your sphincter is pointed at unhappy. Maybe some people may deserve that kind of treatment, but on the whole it’s not particularly productive or helpful. It certainly doesn’t do anything to make the world a better place.

So, for my part, I’ve decided to trade argument for discussion, insult for empathy, and superiority for conviction. I aspire to reflect my best self, not only in real life, but in my online incarnation, too. I hope other folks will choose to do the same.

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