I was on Facebook the other day when a man stated his opinion on a subject and a woman on his friends list immediately castigated him. "You are so stupid!! You're a moron if you believe this!! I can't believe how freaking idiotic this is!!"
It left me wishing for a cyber-smack button. If Facebook can have "like" buttons, surely they could add a little open palm ready for a smackdown.
People behave so badly on the Internet. Finger-pointing, name-calling, lying, manipulating, libeling . . . this has all become acceptable behavior online. I'm amazed at how many supposedly mature adults are incapable of conducting themselves with any degree of dignity and how rarely they show even a shred of respect to anyone they see in opposition to their own beliefs.
(I'm also amazed that they always need multiple exclamation points to make their lividity known, but that's just me.)
Growing up, I learned manners. My family, school, church and community valued politeness and courtesy. We understood that it was entirely possible that not everyone we met would share our beliefs on God, politics, war, government, Coke or Pepsi, and we understood that that was okay. It didn't mean we were right; it didn't mean we were wrong. It just meant we were different.
We rarely called people names. We didn't erupt in self-righteous flames every time someone dared to disagree. We didn't insist that those who didn't share our views weren't fit to exist in our narrow-minded worlds. We certainly didn't go to someone's home and scream insults at them, yet people today think nothing of going to an individual's blog, website or social media pages and doing just that.
You express an opinion at your own risk. Say anything at your own risk. I can't count the number of times friends have made very inocuous statements online, only to find themselves the target of some snarky, aggressive or enraged "friend" pouncing on them with all guns firing.
Manners, politeness and courtesy seem to be heading the way of the dinosaurs on the Internet.