Back when the internet was a little bit younger, when blogs were a new idea, and when comment boards were a novelty, there was an annoying trend that thankfully has since died out.
The very first comment on each and blog post was always the same.
That was it. No response. Just a boast. “First!”
And in the push to be first, I wonder if the commenter even read the post.
We all do this. A lot. We want to be first. The first to talk, the first to be heard. We want to be heard so badly that we don’t stop to listen.
I notice it when my daughter jumps into a conversation without realizing it and talks over everyone. But she’s a kid. She’s still learning.
I notice adults doing it too. Especially on cable TV “news ,” where so-called discussions are really shouting contests, and one who shouts loudest wins. They should know better.
We’re all so determined to be heard that we’ve forgotten how to listen. I wonder if we might learn again if we strive for a new goal.
Not first, but last.
Speak last, so we can hear what other people are saying.
Speak last, so we can consider our words rather than blurting them out.
Speak last, so we can measure our response and be sure it does no harm.
And maybe, while we’re at it, we can get a little bit of a break from all the noise. Maybe we can realize that while some circumstances demand an immediate outcry, others require quiet contemplation.
And ultimately, instead of always jumping in, always wanting to be first, we realize that—in some cases—it’s better to wait.
It’s better to be last.