New Year – New Chance

A year… 12 months… 52 weeks… 365 days… 8,760 hours… 565,600 minutes… 31,536,000 seconds… that’s a long time! 2019 is over and here comes 2020. We’re a year older and, hopefully, a year wiser too. In a year, there were many, many occasions to learn and to grow and hopefully, we all did. We’ve gone through our ups and our downs, individually and together. Some discussions were very pleasant while some, well… not so much. But it’s a New Year, a new beginning and what better way to get it started but by wiping the slate clean?

I’m referring to Social Media. As most of you are well aware, I have a Twitter account on which I’m very active. What not as many of you know is that I also have a Facebook page on which I post from time to time, although not quite as actively as on on Twitter. Then I have an Instagram account, a tool very much so under-utilized by yours truly, mostly because I’m not familiar at all on how it works.

As you know, it happens, from time to time that people get into pretty heated discussions on Social Media. Cyber-bullying is now a thing and hiding behind a keyboard to become what we call “keyboard warriors” is unfortunately too common now days. While there is not much hope for some people who seemingly will never change, it is my experience that it’s not the case for most people. Often, you will catch me on a bad day or I will get into a discussion with you, dear followers, on a day where you’ve reached the end of your roll. If it becomes personal, I will block so that I don’t have to make my other followers have to suffer through petty and disrespectful arguments.

I’ll give you an example. Many years ago and for several years, I was a member on a message board called HF Boards. Granted not always the best place to exchange, it was, for me, a great source of inspiration for articles for this blog. At one point, I was going through a rough time in my life and I acted in a way that was inappropriate. They banned me. Okay, I deserved it. But a few years later, I wanted to get back into reading and exchanging a bit on that site. So I created a new account and started posting, being very careful to be polite and respectful. When they discovered that it was me (I used the same username so it was easy to tell), they immediately banned me again instead of reaching out to talk to me. I wrote to the administrator but I received no response. You see, for them, people can’t change… and that’s terribly wrong.

I started something last year and I want to make it an annual event: forgiving and forgetting. Forgiving the Habs’ fans with whom I’ve had heated discussions with throughout the year. Forgetting those discussions and starting from scratch. While I usually do that within 24 hours, when it gets to the point of blocking someone from reading me, I didn’t use to unblock them. Last year, for the first time, I took advantage of the fact that we were starting a New Year to unblock all Habs’ fans from my Social Media accounts. And guess what? It worked. Many started following me again and we’ve had some great discussions even when disagreeing on topics. I’m a strong believer in Respect so as long as the discussions remain respectful and don’t turn into personal insults, I’m usually pretty good at looking beyond the disagreement. For the most part, it’s not me that they’re debating, but rather my point of view.

So once again, if you’re a Habs’ fan and I blocked you in the last twelve months, I have gone through my blocked list and unblocked you all. If you know of someone that I might have missed, someone telling you that they are blocked by me, just let me know and I’ll unblock them. As you see, unlike HF Boards and some of my fellow Social Media users, I do believe that people change and for that reason, I do believe in giving someone a second, even a third chance. As years go by, we mature and understand things that we didn’t just a few months ago. It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this article so that everyone knows what I’ve done. So to those who I blocked in the past year, welcome back and… Go Habs Go!

EDIT: Since we’re starting a new decade, I decided to go the extra step. I have emptied my blocked list which means that I have forgiven not only Habs’ fans, but fans from other teams as well. While I have a feeling that it might blow back in my face with some of them, I’m also hopeful that I can have civil exchanges with others from that list. Happy New Year everyone!