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Online divide

Throughout my schooling, be it in elementary school, high school, and especially in college, I’ve heard the importance of constructive criticism over the years.

This type of criticism points out flaws in an argument or work. It offers tips on how the person can improve or possible solutions to help fix an issue.

Nevertheless, if you look at comment sections on the internet nowadays, you’ll find nothing but personal attacks, insults and an overall ideological divide among people. There are even people labelled ‘trolls’, whose apparent only purpose online is to put someone down or upset someone.

Yes, it is easier for someone to sit behind a computer, anonymously, and post a negative review on a business or insult someone in an online chat section.

It may be harder to do, but I think it would be more rewarding for people to attempt to bridge the gap with others. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with someone else’s opinion, and in my role as a journalist, I encourage multiple viewpoints. What I am saying is, though, we need to handle our powers of internet commenting respectfully.

Maybe you could find parts of someone’s position or argument you agree with, then validate that part first, by saying ‘that’s a good point, but….’, or simply find a smooth way to agree to disagree. In order to not encourage further divide, people, as well, need to be hesitant in labelling someone’s argument using conservative or liberal tags or generational terms like millennials.

I’ve stated it before in this column, but as a reporter I’ve observed that each and every person is unique. They have their own stories, beliefs, and feelings, and we shouldn’t paint individuals with the broad brush of larger groups.

Simply insulting a person or a point made sends a message to the person you don’t really have any information with which to refute their point.

Creating a better, more respectful world is a job for each and every one of us. We can all do our part by learning to use constructive criticism or simply abstaining from internet chat battles.

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