I as a middle class white woman have no issue discussing feminism at a table full of peers, do not feel threatened by letting others speak on points of race and classism, and do not fear challenging someone on their beliefs in person. However, after starting and stopping and starting and stopping and starting once more on this blog, I recall the intense fear of placing any political analyzes on the front of the internet.
The internet is not a table of peers, or a forum of people, or a momentary confrontation. The internet is database of conversations, nothing ever truly exchanged or forgotten. Over the years, I have witnessed countless and fruitless fights on FaceBook. Insensitivity and ignorance from a range of people. Anger and superiority littering any post.
I wanted to discuss an article from The Atlantic where a group of liberal students crossed the line in their protests from demanding more diversity for an intro course to purposefully ignoring the desires of those in the intro course. However, I was too afraid to discuss racial issues as a white woman for fear of speaking in a conversation I had no place in. I wanted to discuss how I as a liberal cannot disregard the beliefs of another simply because they called themselves a conservative. However, I was afraid of words attacking me later in life for defending bigots, racists, sexists.
My own confidence falters on the internet for its permanence. In a (respectful) conversation, one is required to listen to the other and think of a response. On the internet, you merely project your thoughts and others fire their response with as little or as much restraint as they please. There is no wait time, no thoughtfulness, only wrong or right, and you are never right.
When the internet seems like a lion’s den for your opinion, how do you continue to create?
Every person has a voice, online and in person. However, current environments online make it seem better to be mute.
As a contributing member to the media and to society, my internet presence is as important as my physical presence. The fear of making an incorrect comment should not be so paralyzing that I cease any internet communication. However, I see articles everyday where a someone with a 120-character limit sends a career-ending tweet. A full length blog talking about my ideas on politics like digging my own grave.
Many students go back on their previous FaceBook posts and cringe at the immature voice permeating them. Some even feel so embarrassed they delete any evidence of their previous voice. Others choose to repost their previous online errors as a way to refute them.
I often chose to not post all together, keeping as much of my personal opinions from the digital audience. If a video or a long post written by others fully expresses ideas I agree with, only then will I share or express a sort of opinion.
What keeps me from expressing my opinions online is that a job could be kept from me for doing so. With my future within reach and a few clicks from destruction, I find myself keeping me fingers off the keys entirely.
What are your feelings about blogging, identity politics and posting online in the current digital environment?