I’m sure I’m showing my age, but social media has done a number on social graces. Remember the old “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything?” Well Twitter took care of that. Just post whatever tacky or nasty comment that comes to your mind, and then try to weasel out of it the next day by making a ridiculously insincere apology, also on Twitter. I mean, really. If the comment will need to be apologized for, why say it in the first place? And I understand you can do the same thing on Facebook, but I’m told Facebook attacks are seldom recanted. I don’t know much about Instagram, one of the newer machinations concocted for the Internet and your smart phone, but I suspect its main traffic will be unflattering pictures of your so-called friends. Speaking of smart phones, they have made taking pictures of an accident more important that coming to the aid of the accident victim. How golden is that? And then of course, there is the plain old Internet, where you can post those phone pictures, nude pictures of old girl friends, or make up untrue stories and do all kinds of other devious things that I can’t even begin to imagine.
The old tried and true golden rule is still golden: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But that one seems to have fallen out of favor; at least all the negative, unpleasant, vindictive, hateful, tacky things going on in social media seem to indicate that no one worries about how they treat their fellow man or woman. Perhaps it sounds too formal or old-fashioned. Or maybe mothers don’t pass it along anymore. Whatever.
I do realize that all people don’t abuse social media, but the ones who do seem to be the ones who get the attention. And that’s a shame. The quest for that fifteen minutes of fame has made its mark on society.
Perhaps we need a new golden rule. I submit for your consideration this one: Use good sense, good taste, good manners. Think about it. Stopping to apply one or all of these concepts when tempted to do or say something questionable and discovering that the proposed action would not meet these standards would be a pretty darn good indication that another course of action should be chosen-mostly to do nothing. The problem with this new golden rule, however, is that the person in question would have to know what good manners and good taste actually are, and based on current music, TV shows and movies, I’m not sure any conventional wisdom relating to good manners and taste even exists anymore. And good sense? I’m not sure much of that is cultivated these days, either.
So hoping for a rise in the use of good manners, good sense, and good taste may be a pipe dream. And it’s a done deal that the Internet and social media aren’t going away. The perpetrators of all the unnecessary, hateful, and most of the time, inane drivel, need to step back and put the shoe on the other foot. Is that the way they would want to be treated? What do their actions say about them as a person?
Oh, right, that won’t work, either. That would require the good sense part.