Something happened to me on Twitter last week that really pissed me off.
Social media in general is great – you get to share your thoughts with the world, connect with friends and family, and meet new people. All plusses, right?
Unfortunately, social media also makes you vulnerable to censure, negative reactions, and general troll-like behavior.
It sets up your thoughts and opinions – as harmless as some of them may seem – to be torn to shreds by people you barely know.
And that sucks.
Last week, I tweeted about how I think Emma Watson is one of the greatest women of my generation.
Some random Twitter follower of mine decided react condescendingly. Why? I have no idea. Probably because he had nothing better to do.
I felt uncultured and small and ANGRY for about 10 minutes.
Then I laughed at myself.
That guy doesn’t know me. He doesn’t understand my values, my sense of humor or my life story.
And you know what? I don’t have to validate my feelings or opinions to anyone, let alone someone who I’ve only exchanged a few sentences with online.
Emma Watson is an incredible woman. She’s much more than an actress of the greatest movie franchise of my generation. She’s also a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. At 25 years old. She dedicates her time to meeting other amazing young women, like Malala Yousafzai, and advocates for women’s rights all over the world. She’s bright and humble; she’s making a big, lasting impact for girls everywhere.
It takes all kinds of inspirational young women to make this world wonderful, but I believe Emma Watson is one of them. And I don’t need to defend my opinion. I certainly shouldn’t feel inclined or bullied into apologizing for or retracting it.
So many people think that others’ online opinions are open for debate. Or worse – they think others’ opinions are open for ridicule, scorn and abuse.
If people want to hide behind their computers and make assumptions about your 140-character opinions, that’s on them. You don’t have to justify what you believe or think.
You can choose to ignore them.
You are allowed to share your opinions online without having to defend them. You’re certainly entitled to sharing them without being vilified or made fun of for them.
So next time you feel the urge to tweet that Nickelback is in fact an awesome band or that Jar Jar Binks is the greatest Star Wars character ever, go for it. You have that right. You do you.