Man, we hedge our bets a great deal. It's especially obvious online.
I'm not sure when or how we decided that we had to disclaim everything we say personally. Perhaps it's the litigious world we've come to live in, or the over abundance of political "correctness", but it's more pervasive than ever, and it's not a good thing.
When I asked why we insist on using things like IMO (In My Opinion) when buttressing our personal statements, Ryan Wynia was smart to point out that we feel the need to soften the impact of our personal perspective. That drives me a bit nuts.
If the words exit your mouth or keyboard, by default they have your mark on them, even if you're sharing or restating someone else's words. It's like tacit endorsement, unless you're careful to state otherwise. There are precious few irrefutable facts on the planet. And if you're merely quoting and actively questioning without agreeing, that's when you'd better be pretty clear about that, because the default setting in most dialogue is unadulterated and subjective opinion.
So here's my PSA: Quit pulling your punches.
If you're going to state something that warrants putting in out there online, own it. Stand on your own two feet. Be prepared to discuss, debate, defend, and listen.
Tagging your statement with "in my opinion" doesn't soften the blow if you're being offensive. It doesn't absolve you of responsibility if your thoughts are controversial, accusatory, or if you're asserting a position that could incite debate. And if you have something strong and important to say, it simply dilutes your words with a meek little disclaimer that basically says people don't have to give your thoughts any credence whatsoever.
We do the same thing with "just saying" or "just my .02â€³. It's like we're apologizing for having a stance, and I'm less and less okay with that.
It's a noisy world out here, full of fluff and pandering and nonsense. I, for one, am asking each of you to be proud of the thoughts you have and share them with confidence. We need your strength of character. The beauty of minds is that they can always be changed. You can change your opinion, too, if you find that your perspective has shifted. And you know what? When that happens, own that, too.
The world is full of ambivalence, of risk mitigation, of qualified statements and milquetoasts and deliberate middle ground. And while I don't think you need to kick up dirt just for the sake of it, we'd all do well to demonstrate that if we believe our thoughts worthy of public air, we have the courage to take ownership of them, too.