In this age and time, anyone who has access to the Internet is entitled to his own opinion. Several social media platforms have not only served as a tool for communication, but as a medium of expression for many. I signed up for a Twitter account a little more than four years ago to simply write about how my day went and/or is going in no more than 140 characters, but this has changed over time. Lately, I seldom tweet about the mundane aspects of my daily life, and my Twitter has become my “go-to guy” for updates on social issues and current events.

You do realize that anything that’s been published in the public domain automatically becomes vulnerable to speculations, argument and mockery. Every one is all of a sudden smarter than another. Comments on every pressing issue tend to blow out of proportion, eventually leading to bullying and all sorts of ridicule. Freedom of expression has gone too far, and it’s a sad reality. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but there are two simple, albeit important, things I suggest most people put in mind when articulating their thoughts in whatever form:

1. Just because you’re entitled to your own point of view, doesn’t mean you’re compelled to open your mouth every single time.

I think this is the common misconception of having the liberty to speak your mind. Remember that freedom of expression is both a right and a liability. While it is a prerogative to comment on issues based on personal impression, it is worth remembering that you should take full responsibility in anything that you say. It does not necessarily mean considering how others will perceive your reaction to a particular concern, but it is important to choose an approach that seems effective to both affected parties. Identifying the purpose of such gesture may also help in sending your message across.

2. Get your facts straight.

To put it simply, don’t come to a battle unprepared. Ensure that you have all the necessary information ready to support your claim. Failing to do so will not only lose your chance to participate in the discussion; your credibility will be at stake, too. I think no further elaboration is needed here.

And thus keep the Miranda warning in mind: anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law. So unless your comments are beneficial to others as well as to yourself, then just don’t. Save yourself the trouble of disparagement.

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