It seems that people these days are a little too quick to pass judgment on others. Just last week, I got accused of being a racist on Twitter. It was based on one wrong interpretation of one single tweet I sent. Two guys started to chastise me and label me based on 140 characters. They didn't take the time to read anything else I've written, understand the context of the conversation, or to learn anything more about me.
They were ready to round up their Twitter posse and take me out to the woodshed one tweet at a time. Anyone that takes even a few seconds to get to know before judging me based an opportunistic interpretation of 140 characters would know that I don't have a racist bone in my body.
Many people are so ready to judge that they don't take the time to understand the whole story.
Logical thinking tells us that everybody reads the actual article before posting a comment, right? Wrong! You would think so. However, every day I see people on social media who jump straight to the comment section and start sounding off, without even bothering to read the post or understand the author.
How can you tell they didn't read it?
These commenters stick out like a sore thumb. They are the ones that ask questions that were clearly answered within the post. They go off on tangents based upon only the perception of the title and picture. Many times their comments contain very poor grammar and invalid points that lack facts. Since these commenters don't have a clear understanding of the subject, it is not uncommon that they become hostile right away.
Have we reached a low point in our communications that people have become too lazy to actually read the information provided before they form their opinions? Has this become socially acceptable? Do people think they already know everything, so they don't even need to bother reading the content?
I love this quote from top scientist and philosopher, Milos Djukic, from his recent post on beBee. His quote summarizes this alarming trend of not wanting to accept or even consider other people's viewpoints:
"The moment when we start to believe that we are influential is at the same time the final moment for our own rigorous review, reconsideration and implementation of all necessary corrections."
I think it is time for a reading intervention! A call to action for greater levels of social engagement to produce higher levels of understanding and learning.
Some of you may remember the epic April Fools' joke, National Public Radio (NPR), pulled on its followers on social media? They produced a phony article with attached picture and published it on their website. The "article" was titled, "Why Doesn't America Read Anymore." When clicking on the link to the article readers were greeted by this message:
"Congratulations, genuine readers, and happy April Fools' Day! We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven't actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let's see what people have to say about this story."
Sure enough, many people jumped straight to the comment section and were firing off. Many of whom were quick to defend their reading habits. The irony was brilliant!
Here is one of the better comments that beautifully illustrates the point:
"This article is horrible. Americans DO read, it's disrespectful to intelligent americans to state as fact that america no longer reads. My daughter is second grade and her class is assigned at least one book a month to read. My wife is an avid reader and is even takes part in a weekly book club. As for myself, I read mainly ESPN and Sports Illustrated. America is a great and educated country and one I am proud to live in."
This is a classic sound-off failure! We should at least make an effort to understand the whole story before casting judgment.