Opinions: Politically Correct?: Navigating my exisential Internet crisis

Opinions: Politically Correct?: Navigating my exisential Internet crisis

Elisha Strecker

I’m a 17-year-old, politically-aware, opinionated journalist.

I always find myself wanting to post my political opinions and funny (sometimes crude) ideas online, but I’m constantly battling whether I want to offend someone on their computer, neighborhoods away.

I have 878 friends on facebook and 97 people following my tweets.

The amount of friends and followers I have is not something to brag about because the more people I add and follow from different friend circles and backgrounds, the more people I’m likely to offend.

My social networks are like Manchester Road on a Friday at 5 p.m. I’m constantly at the intersection of hearing about people’s weekend plans and CNN updates. And I’m always adding to the mess, one more car on the road, honking and trying to cut across lanes of traffic.

Last month I posted my opinion on facebook about Chick-Fil-A’s stand on same-sex marriage.

I wasn’t directing my status toward anyone, nor did I mean to offend. I stated that if people were angry about Chick-Fil-A’s views they should channel their anger through donating to a political campaign or a LGBT organization.

Even though my point wasn’t intended to offend anyone, I added in strong language directed at the issue. I used the words “bigot” and “stubborn.”

Like a two-car accident at Clayton and Clarkson, the status ended up blowing up with a lot more feedback than I had expected. My comment created a gridlock of responses. With a total of 14 likes and 39 comments, my existential Internet crisis started to resurface.

I keep asking myself what my Internet boundaries are. If I have an opinion and want to share it why shouldn’t I?

Luckily, my situation only involved some of my close friends with differing views, but I’m scared I’m offending that anonymous person from my friends list, miles away, like the driver I accidently cutoff trying to cut over two lanes of traffic to make a left onto Clarkson.

What if the person commenting with a different opinion had been someone I barely knew and was deeply offended, like the stranger burning with road rage? A status like mine could have carried over into a situation outside of the screen. I could have been the one event that triggered a pileup.

This facebook exchange could lead to a situation involving face-to-face confrontation instead of a seemingly harmless status.

Last year, fights and conflicts jumped lanes from the Internet into real life, consuming about 50% of our school officer’s time, according to Officer Mike Smith, school resource officer.

I don’t want what I post on facebook or Twitter to taking up part of his time. I like School Resource Officer Mike. I don’t want to meet Officer Mike.

If we can’t express opinions on the computer without an arguement, I don’t know how are we suppose to handle them in person.

I’m trying to be more cognizant of what I post, but I’m still battling the problem of whether opinions are socially accepted in our cyber age. I travel the Internet hourly like most. I’m still trying to navigate my daily commute and avoid the traffic headaches.