I spent too much of last weekend doing what I sometimes do on the weekends: looking for original sources and documents to help someone understand why something they’ve posted on the internet is incorrect. It’s an illness for me. I’m the embodiment of the “someone is wrong on the internet” syndrome, especially when it involves people I know in real life who are talking to other people I know and care about. I hate misinformation. I hate it when people I know are being led astray, and possibly into danger.
It uses up too much energy, though. I have a lot of projects I want to work on. I have a wonderful family I want to spend time with. I really can’t afford to lose half a day to these educational hobbies of mine. And I’ve done it enough to know that it changes nothing. The friend will continue to share her incorrect stuff. Her friends will continue to agree, or disagree, because we all pretty much have our minds made up. And who likes to read original sources, besides me? I don’t know. I don’t think most people make it beyond headlines.
Shortly after getting offline on Saturday, I was flipping through one of my sketchbooks and came across a quote I’d written down several years ago. It’s by Solzhenitsyn and says, “Let the lie enter the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”
It seemed fitting for what I was working through at the time. Do I need to be there to fight every case of misinformation online? No. Nor do I want to be! That much combative, negative energy would destroy me.
Instead of trying to fight against all the things that I think are wrong, I’m going to try to adopt a new philosophy. I’m going to focus my energies on promoting the things I think are awesome instead, starting with a series of reviews of some of my all-time favorite books.
How are you using your online energy? Do you spend your time fighting and trying to correct others, or are you sharing those new and awesome things you always want to work on?