Just because you can, does it mean you should?
One of the benefits of engaging in conversation, ideation, and/or creation is the ability to explore an issue or a situation with one self, and/or with someone else. Exploring means keeping an open mind, being ready to see things you were not expecting, and to evaluate them on their own merits.
In fact, much of the skill of critical thinking is based upon your ability to suspend judgment while you evaluate information. It's something you can learn in school and train for at work.
Here are some examples of the value of critical thinking:
- journalists and reporters covering an issue/event by requiring reality to explain itself, maintaining a skeptical posture while interviewing sources on both sides of the story and investigating data independently
- researchers using scientific inquiry and being as objective as possible to reduce biased interpretations of results with the basic expectation to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists
- innovators who help spearhead the thought process for doing something differently, or the useful application of new discoveries to existing processes
- teachers facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, literacy, independent learning and thought process by mentoring, inspiring, and demonstrating
I'm sure you have more examples of the value of such skill put to use. In all the years and experiences I've had, I never once was afraid of someone jumping out of a dark alley and saying something incredibly smart. In fact, most critical thinking happens below the surface, beyond the quick and fast reaction.
Jumping to conclusions would not be a way I'd choose to describe helpful or exploratory discourse. So many of today's technologies and tools are allowing people to do just that, and faster. Yet tools are just that, tools. Are live tweets a direct invitation to complacency, for example?
Not exactly. They are mere, albeit powerful, real time instruments in the hands of individuals. What those individuals do with them is still a choice — not all tweets are created equal. Because influence tends to be contextual, I also submit that it's not universal to all situations, nor absolute, as in granted for ever.
Yet, influence is often treated that way. Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should.
[image found here. Clicking on the site produces a search result]