Commentary

June 15, 2012

Don’t be shy: If you write it, own it

by Maj. Allen Herritage
2nd Combat Camera Squadron

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Two past stories on the Air Force’s web page drew significant reaction in the site’s comments section. Both a story on finance troops being awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the news that Air Force Space Command was ending wear of flight suits by nonaircrew personnel drove more comments than any story I’ve ever read on the site.

One attracted so many negative comments; the comments themselves became the subject of a story in Air Force Times. The reason for the publicity wasn’t the sheer number of comments, but their nature. Many, if not most, of the comments on both stories were sarcastic, bitter, or just plain rude.

It’s not the existence of negative comments that bothers me. I think discourse on Air Force issues is good for us as Airmen and our service as a whole. And if you take some time to consider the arguments surrounding the issues covered in these stories, there are some valid points on both sides.

This discourse can become heated. That’s OK in my book. I appreciate someone who is passionate about their opinion and ready to defend it. The problem here is that there is a direct correlation to the nature of the comment and whether or not the commentator was anonymous. Almost without exception, comments that were rude or sarcastic came from an anonymous source.

I recognize the subjectivity of the last sentence. What’s rude to one person may be perfectly acceptable to another. But it’s safe to say that the wording of most of these comments would be changed drastically, or even left unsaid, if their originator’s identity was attached to them.

The anonymity offered by the internet has given those with an axe to grind a false sense of empowerment. I say “false” because the very nature of their comments limits their utility. The angry rant in the comments section rarely inspires real change and usually only serves one person — the one doing the ranting.

I’m not advocating a “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” approach.

Our business is serious. Sometimes we have to say things that are unpleasant to others. But, as leaders, I think we have the duty to own it. This isn’t just about comments on a web page. It’s about accountability. If you want to criticize something, have the intestinal fortitude to defend that criticism and the manner in which it was conveyed. If you can’t own it, why say it at all?

Courtesy of af.mil




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

No man is an island Have you heard these words before? Maybe spoken them about yourself or another individual? Possibly you have read the John Donne prose found in Meditation 17, “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,” or you’ve heard the song “No Man is an Island” by the band Tenth Avenue North. Perhaps you have tried...
 

 
entire_workbook

Fly Over: ‘Paddington’ and ‘Financial Peace University’

On DVD: ‘Paddington’ I have a confession to make — I do not have any children. There, I’ve said it. And yet, I have seen my fair share of family movies, from Disney and Pixar to classics like, “The Princess Bride.” ...
 
 
smith_d2

To do or to be? – A very good question

Col. Daniel Smith I am a huge fan of the Air Force core values. For a long time, I have felt that whatever board or individual developed the values got them absolutely right. In fact, every Airman, young or … seasoned, who co...
 
 
Top-3-Council

Airman — The Air Force asset

The most important asset to the Air Force is the Airman. Regardless of rank, Air Force specialty code, position, gender, age and experience, each of us still needs guidance, validation, and most of all, honesty. So how do you t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>