Editorial: Owning your words

People are heard now, more than ever before. With the rise of social media and blogging sites, it is now easy for the average person to spill their proverbial two cents out onto a blank screen and post it for anyone and everyone to see.

Whether it’s a Facebook status, a Tweet, or a text post on Tumblr, we are a generation that is obsessed with voicing our opinions – that is, to the people who are most likely to agree with us: our friends

It’s easy to rant online when you know that, for the most part, you will be met with words of encouragement or affirmation. But how likely would people be to post their thoughts and feelings that are not the norm? That goes against the grain of those values that are accepted and utilized by their peers?

The smartphone application, Yik Yak, allows users to talk to people via a live feed featuring other users around them, all while remaining anonymous – like a twitter stream with no names or pictures.

People residing in Bourbonnais, whether they attend this University or not, or going to see a feed that mostly consists of Olivet students.

As one might suspect, not everyone is spending their weekends in group bible studies. The anonymity of the application, for many users, is more than casual fun. It’s a way to vent their true feelings; the ones that they feel they may be criticized or shunned for were they to proclaim them publicly.

You hardly see a Facebook post that looks like many of the posts uploaded to Yik Yak.

It’s no mystery why this is – a school with a highly esteemed reputation such as Olivet’s can leave some buckling under the pressure to fit the bill. Are you Christian enough? Are you clean enough? Are you good enough?

Others express the ways in which their spiritual growth has been stunted, rather than fostered, by the expectations that they feel that they can only fall short of.

Judgment from other people is inevitable. The power to provoke change for the greater good is worth a little criticism.

But this doesn’t just happen on an app – it happens in those whispers of conversation you hear in passing on the floor of your dorm building, in bathrooms, or in the dining hall.

As valid and sincere as these concerns may be, they are in no way helpful. Not to the commentator and not to the community, not in the long run.

Strangers on a train is a phenomena that is very real – people do feel a sense of relief after confessing their troubles and trials to a stranger, to an unfamiliar face, or even to no face at all. But that relief is temporary.

When you feel that, in your heart, there is a problem, you have inherited the duty of eradicating it. The first step is almost always speaking out.

The worst people can do is judge you, just as they will if you say nothing at all. Judgment from other people is inevitable. The power to provoke change for the greater good is worth a little criticism.

The GlimmerGlass staff are people who voice opinions that aren’t always in alignment with the assumed culture of Olivet. We’re provocative, we’re stern, and at times we have been risky. And we always put out names next to our work. The staff owns their words.

The writers on this staff are no different than any other student on campus with a heavy heart. We all have something to lose, and yet we are still willing to put ourselves out there. We challenge you to be risk takers too.

It can start right now – Own your words, own your thoughts, on your feelings, whether that’s on your favorite social media site (with your name displayed proudly), on a public blog, or even with your campus paper (We’ve got your back).

After all, what merit does your opinion have if even you won’t stand by it?

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