I sometimes get annoyed by Internet discussions: people who think that the whole world revolves around their opinion, or who think that they’re so witty when they point out what was probably already on all of the readers’ minds, to begin with. It’s not all comments that I dislike, though. When people share their stories and are vulnerable, I tend to value those comments.
Nowadays, I usually read Internet discussions rather than
participating in them. Granted, I miss out on learning when I do not
participate, when I do not ask questions or make points and see how
people answer them. At the same time, some discussions are just
fruitless. I was one time on a progressive political site, and I was
talking about Pat Buchanan’s writings that criticize the decline of the
American middle class. A commenter was belittling me and did not
believe that Pat Buchanan had such a concern or compassion for those
struggling to get by. That’s when I was thinking: You know, Pat
Buchanan’s column is online. One can buy his books on Amazon or check
them out of the library. Why, then, should I waste time trying to
convince this jerk, when his mind is already made up? If he’s
interested, he can consult the resources that are out there.
Of course, people may be annoyed with me, too. And there’s the
question: Is my problem with Internet discussions, or is my problem that
I simply don’t like people? I’m not asking this as a way to search my
heart, as if I will believe that I am a bad person if I arrive at the
latter conclusion. I just wonder. The thing is, though, as I said, I
do value reading people’s stories.