VERITY LUSH: With digital communication comes real responsibility

I often use optical illusions in class to show students how things can appear so very differently to us as individuals, depending on our personal perspectives.

Friday, 4th August 2017, 9:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:56 am
Verity says Facebook comments on news stories can often be abusive (SHUTTERSTOCK)

The thing I like about the optical illusions is that we are all looking at the same thing, but seeing it differently.

However, none of us is wrong. And a small change in perspective can lead to us seeing what somebody else can see.

This is an excellent metaphor for respecting opinions that are different to our own, and for appreciating or empathizing with other viewpoints, as opposed to blundering in rudely and making nonexistent arguments that are simply brash and disorganized.

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Just because you can see it from someone else’s viewpoint, doesn’t mean you need to change your opinion, but it does mean that we don’t offend people or charge in without thinking first.

Whenever you read an online article – and I follow several national papers on Facebook – you will see thousands of comments underneath.

I have learnt to very rarely bother with reading them. They will so often be littered with people who have blundered in, just making offensive or nonsensical comments, rather than portraying any hint of intelligent thought or considered opinion.

Other people will have become cross with them for this, and hundreds of further abusive comments then rain down upon the website.

One of the joys of life is surely to be able to voice your own opinion, and to have it listened to, considered, and then have polite (and hopefully rigorous, thought-provoking) comments in return.

This opens the path for real discussion and, ultimately, progress.

If we don’t have open forums in life, or are branded trouble-makers for raising differences of opinion, then we are missing out and living in a nanny state.

Equally, if we are just offensive and rude because we disagree, making no real points of our own, then we are missing opportunities to be taken seriously and to possibly change opinions.

There’s a real responsibility that goes with the privilege of communication, and I expect that, in a digital age, we all forget this.


Having purchased a new oven in January, it was sad times when it began malfunctioning by June.

Fortunately, I had taken out a comprehensive care policy on the cream enamel, induction-hobbed little beauty, and assumed all would be plain sailing.

Which it would, if it were not for the interference of humans.

Once an engineer was finally dispatched, some two weeks after I’d reported the fault (two weeks!), he arrived with not a clue of what to do.

Although he did manage to leave me with two newly broken hob areas, having destroyed the enamel on the front of the oven when he removed the top.

Following nine calls and two trips to the shop, I am awaiting the replacement as I type.


There are always things that need doing.

Once you begin painting a room, a thousand other mucky parts spring to light and, if you’re not careful, you’re soon re-painting the entire house.

Some of these things must be things that only we notice because we know they are there.

This is our environment and we know it inside and out.

My husband and I are planning on sorting our grim forecourt in the not-too-distant future.

And I fear this is one of the areas that other people really do notice.

I am so used to how foul it is, but I can stand it no longer.

Other things need doing, but those are hidden and, subsequently, shall have to wait!