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.


 
 

 

Planning for your future equals success

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” ~ William Arthur Ward Success does not happen accidentally, it takes detailed planning and a vision of the future. I remember the day before I left for basic military training, I tried to imagine what my future...
 
 

Tuition assistance — a great benefit

In my opinion, tuition assistance is one of the best benefits that we as active-duty military members have available. During my 17 years in the Air Force, I have seen this benefit increase from 75 percent of tuition being paid to 100 percent. Additionally, most of us experienced this benefit being eliminated for a short...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Last week I quoted Dr. Billy Graham who said, “Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.” We saw the necessity of forgiveness in all relationships, including personal and divine. Forgiveness allows our relationships to flourish, while a refusal to forgive brings toxicity. The second part of Dr....
 

 

Fly Over: ‘Divergent’ and ‘NO Excuses’

On Netflix ‘Divergent’ After a devastating war that is believed to have destroyed most of the world, a sole colony has survived and thrived, safe-guarded by a giant wall encircling the city. The founders of the city created five factions in which to divide the population based on aptitude scores which determine the faction best...
 
 
History_56-FG-Eggebek-Raid-Flyers

This week in history

April 13, 1945: Raid on Eggebek Seventy years ago this week, the war in Europe was winding down. Late afternoon April 12, 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia, President Franklin Roosevelt died. At Royal Air Force Boxted in England, ...
 
 

308th FS rich history, poignant ending

After 21 years of continuous service as an F-16 Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, the 308th Fighter Squadron, recently recognized the 2014 Top Fighter Squadron in the 56th Operations Group, will close its doors this summer. Given this sad fact, it is only appropriate that this week’s Thunderbolt commentary focus on this highly...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin