Who are you?

The subject is a rhetorical question as I neither need, nor expect, any answers. It does however pose some interesting thoughts that are rather unique to blogging in that, what I know about you is totally dependent on what information you provide.

As a number of you have noted on various Posts, Blogging hides so many factors that could be an issue for some people. The obvious ones are the visuals (significantly over weight, underweight, physical limitations and irregularities, dress and skin color etc), some of which could impact on how we react to certain people.

Accents can be a cause of difficulty for some people, either because it is simply a challenge to understand, and/or because it is associated with a culture which presents negative connotations.

Finally age! I find this one particularly interesting, and is in fact the basis for this Post. Age of a blogger, just like physical attributes and accents is pretty much a secret unless the Blogger decides to make such information public.  However, unlike the physical aspects of bloggers which really should be of minimal interest to us, we should perhaps be at least more aware of the age “secret”!

My concern is how we react to controversial Posts and Comments because age could very well be a factor. If we cast our minds back to our teen years (or focus on today if you are a teen!), then most of you will recall a period of time when you pretty much had the world all figured out, and adults knew very little because they were all living in the past. Parents were probably the worst because… what did they know about life and the real world (as distinct from their world)?

I have come across a few rather controversial/inflammatory Posts and Comments, and have  been taken aback for a few moments as the text on my screen in front of me sinks into my brain. I consciously avoid an emotional response as little purpose would be served. So what should I perhaps do?

My suggestion is focus on age! If there is no other data on the writer available, then contemplate their potential age, and if that seems to be a difficult task, then give the writer the benefit of the doubt and assume misguided youth!

A misguided youth may perhaps be influenced by a sound and logically explained alternative perspective, whereas being told that they are an idiot (e.g.) serves no positive purpose, and would probably simply reinforce their view of the world.

Doing nothing is, from my perspective, just as bad.  Doing nothing under any circumstances is condoning it, at least from the perspective of the other person. How can they possibly be introduced to alternative perspectives of nobody says anything?

Can this approach backfire? Yes of course it can! You may be communicating with a youth who has a very rigid view on life as a result of their own experiences. Perhaps you are communicating with a very bitter elderly person. Either scenario could well prompt an offensive response to your efforts… but so what?  At least you know that you made an attempt to offer a different perspective and, isn’t that really all we should expect?

Blogging is a wonderful communicating tool because it allows the focus to be on written thoughts, with none of the distractions that a face to face dialogue could have, but we must acknowledge that age is also hidden and may well be a key factor in an apparent insensitive piece of writing.

Who are you? It doesn’t really matter does it as long as we can share thoughts and exchange ideas on this “world stage”! It doesn’t really matter does it if we can spread the concept of compassion, understanding, friendship and peace. It doesn’t really matter does it as long as we make allowances for young and developing minds!

Food for thought.


28 thoughts on “Who are you?

  1. In this day of social media, ‘misguided’ sadly comes in all age brackets and not totally restricted to the young. Surprisingly older people are equally as at ease saying horribly nasty things online when they might not say them to someone face to face.

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  2. Being only nineteen myself, I appreciate your thoughtful perspective on so-called ‘misguided youth’. Teenagers, like many other types of people, are sometimes simply misunderstood. There are many readers out there who, regardless of age, would definitely respond to efforts by others to reach out and celebrate the diversity of our views. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post 🙂 (Also, your dog is adorable! I’ll definitely be checking back on this blog 🙂 )

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  3. Nice post, Colin. I don’t usually give age much thought on here, or anything else for that matter, though responses and comments usually provide hints to those questions.
    This is sort of like The Voice, where judges only hear the talent and don’t have a chance to make judgments based on appearance.
    We read and respond based on how our minds read the words that are written by others. Hipefully we hear them with an open mind but I think it’s safe to say that age, etc may enter into how we digest it all.
    Very interesting post to discuss in detail.

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  4. Such an interesting thought. I see writers as ageless, for the most part, if I’m interested in their post and the ideas it reflects. What I love about WP is that it is a kinder, gentler community. But then again, I avoid controversial topics, especially politics.

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  5. Good post, Colin! I think the differences are actually what unites again because it shows different points of view. No matter what age. When people are even younger they can remind us of things we might have forgotten over time. Also, so many other differences which actually show how colorful this world is!

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  6. Great post, Colin. Really made me think. It’s funny…I’ve never really considered the age of my fellow bloggers…I guess I just assume that everyone’s either like me or my parents. 😛 It must be because I’ve never come across too shocking of a post or comment to trigger that contemplation. But yes I agree…the blogosphere is a wonderfully unique place where we can all get together and learn about each other!

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    • One beauty of blogging is, of course, the fact that age should be irrelevant… and for the most part it is. But then there are those isolated controversial comments where we really should perhaps think “age”, in order to respond as effectively as we can. 🙂

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  7. Interesting post. There are all sorts of age biases around — too old, too young, too middle-aged. If the comment was on my blog what I would do would depend. I only deleted a comment once as totally inappropriate and offensive. Sometimes people just differ in opinion, that’s ok. If the comment is on another post, it also depends. Many times I scroll by. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’m not interested in a comment war. If it’s misinformation, I try to correct gently. If it’s political I go get a beer.

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