Some days I am afraid to blog. I am worried where my words might wind up. I agonize whether to comment on a stranger's blog or post a tweet that I have no idea who is going to read. I get spooked wondering how what I have to say will sit with the reader. Some days I am uneasy with this entity we call cyberspace.
Cyberspace is a new frontier. And like the Wild, Wild West it does not have a lot of rules.
The plethora of new forums in which to speak our opinion, whether it is your favorite new lip gloss or how you feel about the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court are vast. More people can be heard in more places. That is a good thing.
But what I don't think is so great is the lack of integrity with which some people speak their voice. They are careless with their language, freely using words like "idiot" and "stupid", "slamming" what or who they don't like instead of expressing their opposing opinion with thought and substantiated facts. They forget what it means to be polite. They write without thinking first.
There are no rules for speaking in Cyberspace. I'm not sure that's necessary. The manner in which you make your voice heard is a personal choice. But there are pledges. I made mine with the folks at Blog With Integrity.
Most days I love cyberspace. I delight that I can connect across the globe from the comfort of my home office. I revel that I can write a blog, publish when I want to and hope that it will make at least one person, somewhere, think about something they wouldn't have otherwise. I like that I can read other blogs, engage in a conversation with strangers and reconnect on Facebook with my friends from the first grade. I adore that if I have a question I don't have an answer to I can Google it and in minutes I have new information.
And then there are the days I am afraid I might be the subject of someone's personal attack. That someone might slew a string of stinging words in my direction, not at my opinion, but at me because of what I think or write. But I do anyway. It's good practice. As Allison Winn Scotch discusses in a recent blog it's part of what a writer signs up for when putting themselves in the public domain.
There are days when I am timid to put my voice out there. Today is not one of them.