Positively Overloaded

August 7th, 2012

There was always something about that smiley face that made me kinda queasy. You’d see it in the ’70s on bumper stickers or T-shirts. I was too young to understand what exactly the smiley purveyors were trying to say, but I judged them as blissed out hippies or people who simply didn’t understand that the world was serious business. It seemed naïve to pop up like Whac-A-Mole and implore us to accentuate the positive. Who knew we would one day live life stalked by a relentless barrage of virtual pleas to smile and be happy!?

Just look at my Twitter feed right now:

“Be proactive, not reactive. Choose your actions … don’t let circumstances choose for you.”

“Lifestyle Tip: Don’t forget to have fun.”

Now, I have been known to wantonly emote-icon. And I will share a pithy Facebook infographic. I am less irked by information overload than I am by positivity overload. In 140 characters, it’s way easier to pedal fluff than it is to think great thoughts. I mean, “There are many ways you can give” (Tweeted right this sec) takes so much less research than, say, E=Mc2.

Blogs don’t have limited space, but with everybody in the game it’s not exactly Journalism with a capital J. Editing and fact checking and professional scrutiny are largely history, so what do we get instead? Yep, a lot of pep. The big publishing networks that distribute our posts, too, have little impact on what we write and can’t risk offending an advertiser, so it’s safer to stick to recipes, yoga, and all things smile-inducing.

I get it. A 24/7 stream of negativity would be unbearable. But I’m bummed that serious thinking has been hijacked by bumper sticker philosophizing.

Help clean up our web and revise an old adage for your digital interactions: If you’ve got nothing but something positive to say, don’t say anything at all!



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