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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Learn about taking a step back to think before contributing to a conversation. 

Here are a few quick questions.  

  1. What’s your opinion on the processing of soybeans in plant-based products? 
  1. Is there an ethical argument for owning a pet or not? 
  1. What do you think humans should do if/when the earth finally succumbs to climate change? 

Whether you had answers to any of these questions or not, they all require a level of thought, research, and analysis to truly give a refined answer.  

So, why in the age of digital hot takes and unpopular opinions do we consistently see and demand opinions from people who clearly spent no actual time understanding their thoughts?  

Please know, this is not a call-out. I am very much guilty of thinking of a 280-character count thought and hitting tweet, all while spending barely any time doing that one action. I simply made a statement based on my initial thoughts without thinking about the implications of my words. 

It is perfectly okay to reassess and make it known that you have changed your mind, or that you didn’t have all the answers in that moment. However, as the phrase has been pounded into our brains for years, “the internet is forever”. Sometimes, even, the quick talking points that we’ve all posted could’ve been harmful to others that we had no intention of hurting.  

Social media is full of people posting opinions. Go on Twitter right now and I promise you, there is a raging global conflict on there. While you can learn more, see your own thoughts tweeted from verified users, and simultaneously be entertained, it’s important to not get so caught up in the cesspool of controversial and/or lackluster takes. 

Let’s look back at 2020, Black Lives Matter.  

Let’s be honest. It was an incredibly difficult time. Racial injustice and police brutality were at the forefront of everyday conversation and in the media. The repetition of Black deaths was spread throughout timelines and in effort to spread awareness and teach, there were infographics on how to be anti-racist.  

Awareness of the not-new-at-all racist structures in the country became a hot topic for all to chime in to discuss. While it was important that many had these conversations and sought fundamental change on both personal and external measures, sometimes we asked those to chime in with their thoughts even if they added no actual value to the conversation. 

I know that sounds harsh, but how would you rather see awareness and learn more about a pressing matter? Through chainmail-esque story posts with a bunch of non-Black celebrities saying they support basic human rights, or would you rather hear from activists who have dedicated their time and well-being to fighting for change and protection of Black Americans?  

Even the “hot takes” that are voluntarily published online do nothing but distract and take away from real conversations. The real conservations sometimes concern life and death.

I’m not saying that you can’t have an opinion at all, rather I think it is important to think about and understand your opinions before saying them. Ask yourself: Why do I even think this in the first place? Is this a subject that is truly important to me and is important to my surroundings? Am I missing something vital to know what I am talking about? Am I truly upset about the scientific/historical accuracy of Black mermaids and elves, or am I just a little racist?  

You can answer yes or no to these questions and still be valid in your own way (maybe not the last one, but you get the point). At least, though, you attempted to reflect on your words before putting them out there. 

We are in an era of learning. The expansive internet has gifted us with quick access to knowledge. It’s no longer a trip to the library to do a little research. 

If we continue to just make statements without working through them, we all can end up distracted from real, pressing issues that warrant our attention on a much deeper scale.  

As an opinion writer for Her Campus Temple, it sounds quite ironic to take this stance. However, the wonderful thing about writing articles is that you get to think about your piece, A LOT, before its deadline. I’ve thought about this, and maybe I am missing something. However, in order to live a life where I am constantly learning and growing, sometimes I need to STFU, so I can better understand the world around me. 

We don’t all have to be philosophers and scholars on every topic we come across. Don’t be afraid to abstain from inserting your own point into something that you haven’t spent much time getting to know.  

Just say, “I still have to think about this, but I’m committed to learning more.” 

That’s your opportunity, and even obligation, to give a contribution to your community.   

Genesis is a second-year journalism major and an Africology minor at Temple University. Originally hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Genesis mostly analyzes and brings awareness to social issues. When she's not focusing on school and writing, she likes to explore the different nuances of international cultures, whether through traveling or through her love of KPOP and Spanish Netflix series. She hopes to travel the world and write all about it!