A penny for your thoughts. This phrase is used by curious individuals to encourage a person to share their thoughts, which are considered to be of some value to the inquirer. Notice the person who will serve as the audience must ask to hear the thoughts of the other.

I noticed, when on Facebook the other day, which I rarely visit anymore, that the prompt when opening the news feed is, “What’s on your mind?” So, apparently Facebook cares what is going through our minds, but does anyone else?

This brings to mind another little phrase, If you only knew what I was thinking. It used to be that people would keep their random thoughts as just that, thoughts. Whether these thoughts were flattering, insulting, inane, or clueless, they stayed in our heads as little secrets no one else knew. Now, we have a medium that allows us to voice all those secrets, but should we? Many people use social media platforms as an outlet to share their every thought at every moment of the day. They seem to think that their comments are funny or profound, or even that they are entitled by some authority to call out and/or correct another person’s thoughts or behavior, whether they know that person or not.

I, personally, think this is a dangerous precedent. I’ve heard people say in a positive tone that we have come a long way from the stiff rules and mannerisms of centuries past, but I think there is something to be said for behaving with decorum, manners, and restraint. We have replaced being helpful and courteous to one another with being critical spectators. We think we are being honest and open, when really we have become callous and hurtful. Insulting another person in a public forum, or posting an unflattering video or photo of some random person experiencing difficulty (or even someone you know) is just plain childish. Instead of posting a video of someone struggling, try helping him or her. Instead of ranting about someone else’s political views (because that will never get them to change their mind, and may encourage them to keep their own opinion), try understanding their viewpoint.

Not everything needs to be said, or written. Some thoughts should just stay in our heads. Uphold the Golden Rule, treat others as you would be treated. Or, how about this profound thought, If you don’t have anything nice to say (or post), don’t say anything at all!



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