Commentary

May 4, 2012

If you write it, own it

Commentary by Maj. T. Allen Herritage
2nd Combat Camera Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah

(AFNS) — Two recent 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 non-aircrew personnel drove more comments than any story I’ve ever read on the site.

One attracted so many negative comments that 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 okay 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 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?




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Old Glory Challenge helps Nellis remember 9/11

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of Nellis Air Force Base run with the U.S. flag during the Old Glory Challenge at Nellis AFB, Nev., Sept. 11. During the Old Glory Challenge, participants were charged wit...
 
 

Air Force revamps air expeditionary force construct

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to present a...
 
 
suicideprevention

Suicide prevention: What you can do

http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/suicideprevention AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) — September 8 through 14 is National Suicide Prevention Week. However, many people are hesitant to get involved in the discussion on the topic...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed

FCC provides home away from home

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed Brittany Morrill, a Family Child Care provider, shows memory cards to Sam and Ayden in her home on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 9. FCC providers are given free access to c...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

Frag out! Airmen attend last Air Force-only grenade training class

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen Tech. Sgt. Preston Meier, 99th Ground Combat Training Squadron NCO in charge of combat arms, throws a live M-67 fragmentation grenade during the last iteration of the M...
 
 
volleyball

Intramural volleyball playoffs

Teammates from the 823rd Maintenance Squadron work together to block a spiked volleyball during the intramural volleyball playoffs at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 9. The intense 30-minute gam...
 




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