Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Think Before You Click
"If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind that drugstores sell"
Gordon Lighfoot sang prophetically about wanting to read his loves mind back in 1974. Now, 39 years later, he no longer has to wish for it. No. All he needs to do is follow his love on Twitter.
Ten to one, he drops her after a day.
When I was a young man, I was handed down the maxim of not talking politics, or religion with others. Arguments, and differences of opinions will always ensue, and friendships have been know to die because of it. Keep your ideas to yourself, unless specifically asked for your opinion, and then think a bit before sharing it.
If you are on a campaign that requires your to share your views, then so be it. Your ideas, beliefs, and views will either hinder, or hurt your campaign, and that is totally expected.
As always, know your audience, and hope for the best, but expect the worst.
Todays media siphons ones thoughts out of our heads as if we all lived in a 1950's science fiction movie. Once out we then actually type them, and click a button insuring the world will be privy to those thoughts. We share far too much, and it is not the outside world that has broken into our minds, it is us that have opened the gate, and let out thoughts run rampant across Twitter, and Facebook.
I do it, too. Much too much according to Mary. I may share a picture of a pie Mary just baked, or post where we're eating out, maybe the show we are at, or a funny video. Everyday things. Things I would do without Facebook, and in person. I hope I don't post any pie photos, or restaurant check-ins that offend anyone, or change a persons opinion of me.
Actually, I know I don't.
But, there are those that do, and this week I have witnessed it twice from sources I would never have expected it. The first time was on Facebook the day of the Presidents speech about guns, violence, and how our children are affected. That day, the President had four young kids behind him on the stage with their parents as he spoke. He shared an example of how each one felt about the Newtown massacre in order to show just how the events of that day affect others. In this case, how it affected the children.
What I saw on Facebook was posting by a local journalist with four photos. A photo of Adolf Hitler with young German children, a picture of Mao Tse Tung with Chinese children, Joseph Stalin with Soviet children, and lastly, President Obama with those children on stage the day of his speech. The caption was a line from Pink Floyds song, The Wall, "Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone".
The posting threw me. Was this journalist comparing Hitler, Mao, and Stalin to Obama because he involved children in a speech that had everything to do with children, and how guns had killed other children?
This time, that writer let too many of his thoughts escape. Sharing a political thought, or opinion is totally different than what this posting offered. It revealed a side of the man I had not seen before through his writings in a local magazine.
I won't read him again. I don't need that kind of hate, and negativity in my life. The respect I once had for him, his craft, and talent, are gone.
Later in the week I stumbled on the Twitter feed of a local politician that should be limited to 144 characters a year, never mind per Tweet. As soon as a thought burps to the top of his head, he sends it out as a Tweet.
Makes sense. Share everything one thinks with the world. It's the best way to ingratiate yourself with your constituents.
I don't need to know every thought he is developing as the day evolves. There is no filter on those burps. What I knew of this man prior to reading his unfiltered thoughts was much higher than what it is now.
Needless to say, the local journalist is no longer a "friend" on Facebook. I choose not to contaminate my life with his thoughts. I don't use Twitter, I just went on it after receiving an email following up since I had signed up for it when I bought my iPhone a few years ago. The email recommended people I may know. I clicked on one, and now, I regret it.
Should have left well enough alone.
Yes, I do use Facebook, and I do write here, on this blog. I use the current media, and at times I may share a bit too much of my personal life, but I have promised Mary to be better. I am opinionated when I see a wrong, or something that needs some reconsideration, and I want to initiate a change, or correction. I also share humor, history, and bits of life.
I will not cross the line. What you read here, and on Facebook, is just me. If you know me personally, you will never be surprised by what you read here.
I was surprised earlier this week.
Remember, that yours thoughts are your own, as is your opinion. You can choose to share, but your choice of just what to share, how to share it, and whom to share it with will dictate how you are perceived by everyone.
Typing and clicking is not a benign activity. You touch others each time you do it.
There, (click) you've been touched. Now, pass it on in a good way.