12,000 comments. Really? That's the number of comments I saw on an article online that I was reading. Maybe I misread. Maybe it was 1,200. Still. That's an awful lot of people vying to be heard.
It got me thinking about the times we live in. On one hand we are so quickly and widely connected. I can post a picture of my cat on Instagram and moments -- actual moments in real time! -- someone on the other side of Earth can see it and give me a little positive feedback with a thumbs up or a heart. They like me! Well, they like my cat...picture.
Similarly, 1,200 people were moved enough yesterday by the articles's author's words to write back. By now, it's probably more than double that number. "I think this." "I think that." "I think you're right." "I think you're wrong." I just began to wonder about this phenomenon that encourages us, compels us, to speak up. To say, "I think..." and add our opinion to the 1,199 others who also "think."
Is anyone listening? You shouted your statement into the abyss. Did anyone hear you? Sure, maybe you got a thumbs up, or a like. Maybe someone even commented on your comment, but was that a dialogue or was it really some other person shouting into the abyss? Of course, once one comments, one goes on to the next article or picture and may comment on that one. I left my comment. The world has heard me. I shall move on to the next one.
Is everyone is talking and no one listening? How does it feel to be unheard? What makes us think that our opinion, our comment, our voice is the one that matters? When there are thousands or tens of thousands or more comments, to whom, beside oneself, does one's opinion matter?
How do we connect, engage, listen? How do we manage not being heard? How do we balance these two things?