Have you ever read the comments section below an article posted on social media and thought, “Hey, that guys comment doesn’t make any sense… he clearly didn’t read the article!”
Or let’s get real…
Have you ever been THAT person who commented on a post where you didn’t read the article first. You read nothing more than the headline and thought, “Man, I just gotta say something about that!”
The answer is: Of course you have. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it.
We Are Collectively Stupid
And instinctively, I think we all know that is probably kinda stupid. The Bible confirms this. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers a matter before he hears a matter, to him it is folly and shame.”
The allure of the clickbait headline is just too enticing. Like a fish that sees a shiny lure skimming atop the water, so we too just can’t help ourselves, and take a bite at it. We can’t even take the time to read, let alone skim the content. We just feed on the headline alone, and can’t wait to throw our thoughts into the frey for others to hear.
I get it.
I make podcasts, write blog posts, and produce YouTube videos. More than most, I understand the inner need to express what I’m thinking. Deep down inside we all want to be heard, to influence, and have a seat at the table. We have something burning in our belly and just feel compelled to share.
Two Ears And One Mouth
But as someone once pointed out, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.
The Bible says we must be “quick to hear and slow to speak” (James 1:19). Unfortunately, we live in a society which awards our quickness of speech with dopamine hits. It doesn’t reward us for making slow and thoughtful responses. And, as much as we love typing something out and hitting the enter button, we ultimately love all the ensuing replies and thumbs up just as much, if not more.
Our ability to learn from one another and have meaningful dialogue is at risk. Instead we just talk at one another, with no intention of genuinely considering the perspective of another that might better inform us. All that matters is the avalanche of replies we receive and the attention that we get, and being vindicated in our perspective, no matter how unrelated our thoughts are on the actually at hand.
The End Of It All
In the end, all such behavior does is produce an endless sea of noise. Instead of yelling at each other all day on Facebook or Twitter, we should just get together and start banging pots and pans. That at least sounds like a lot more fun, and perhaps, even more therapeutic.
But, what we should really be doing is have a change of heart. We need to place a premium on learning, and valuing the opinion and insights of others over that of our own. We shouldn’t aim to merely be heard and to make some noise, but to engage in meaningful and thoughtful discussion, where ideas are actually exchanged, and new opinions possibly formed.