Not too long ago, something amazing happened to me on Twitter. Yes, that place. An acquaintance, or at the very least, someone who follows me and I follow them right back, and we interact occasionally. Is there a word for that, yet? If not, there should be. Anyway, an acquaintance tweeted about a recent experience, and then expressed a commentary about said experience. (I'm being intentionally vague with the details here, so bear with me.)
Since it's the internet, I felt like my opinion on the matter needed to be shared. Turns out, it didn't. Not long after I tweeted a couple responses that disagreed with this user's commentary, the user came back and kind of exploded at me. The user was a little salty but generally cordial, I mean not a complete badger or anything, but the message was clear: my opinion and disagreement were quite unwelcome.
Now Cameron from 4 or 5 years ago would have spent the rest of the night researching my point and proving why my opinion was the correct one, and why I didn't deserve to be internet-yelled at when I was on the right side of the argument anyway. (Cameron from 4 or 5 years ago was awesome, yeah?)
You know what I did instead?
I went to sleep. Sure, I thought about a million or so things I could say to really stake this thing in the ground and secure my rightness (though it really wouldn't have), but after awhile, I cooled off and slept. And then I woke up the next day and did something I don't normally do. No, I'm not talking about going to the gym.
I got on Twitter and apologized. Yep. I said sorry. I shared that I still disagreed and had a differing opinion, but I conceded that I had caused offense when I didn't intend to and I just wanted to have a conversation, but clearly, it's a sensitive subject, so I wouldn't bring it up anymore.
I was ready. I was ready to receive a lashing because I've seen how the internet is. There's no forgiveness. It's eat or be eaten out there. I was ready for OneRepublic to @ me and tell me that it was too late to apologize. Then it happened.
The other user apologized for snapping. The user admitted perhaps jumping too quickly, and recognized that it wasn't okay. And you know what? We're still twiends today. (That's the word I'm going with.)
We still follow each other, we still interact fairly regularly. We know that we have differing opinions, in a lot of subjects, but we've decided that sometimes, it's better to be a decent person than to be right.
This really isn't a post about how awesome I am, or how to be more like me. This is a call for you to just be good. The internet has a name for being a place where trolls don't have to hide. Everyone is so angry with everyone all the time because it's easy to say things when you're anonymous behind a screen. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Obviously, there are areas to hold your ground. Hold to what's morally right. Hold to things that are life or death. I will defend my faith until the end of my days. But you know what? It's okay to disagree. Let there be disagreement, and treat it with cordiality and respect. Because we're human beings. And we can have different opinions. To quote Morgan Freeman's Judge Leonard White, "Be Decent." You can do it. And maybe the internet can be a better place because of it.