Mr H commented at the weekend that I have become more opinionated since I started studying and also since the crash. It's true that I do feel that I have more to say, and that sometimes those things need to be said. In my previous life I would either not have an opinion, or if I did it would never get voiced. Whether that was because I wasn't sure of it, or because debate scared me (everyone else being so much more opinionated than me, including my husband!), I would just keep quiet.
I am beginning to think that a thick skin is required in order to voice an opinion, because as soon as you do, somebody might retaliate in defence, misinterpret your point, or in general come back with something other than a reasoned debate. You never know when something you say, which you consider quite harmless, might touch a nerve for somebody else, and it comes as a shock when they turn on you with teeth bared or they get terribly upset for a reason that you could not possibly have been aware of.
The internet is particularly dangerous place for voicing opinions whether banal and sensitive, or risky and provocative. On internet forums, blogs or discussion groups, the chances are that you have never met the people who are reading your comments; you don't know their history or their personal preferences, or even what mood they are in (and they don't know yours). It's no wonder that sometimes a simple statement by someone can turn into a long slanging match, because of people jumping to defend something that probably wasn't under threat anyway.
I just read in an OU group that a tutor had suggested that you can say anything you like on a social networking site as long as you follow it with "LOL" - which is quite possibly true!
So, I don't think my skin is thick enough for me to voice opinions on the internet, and I should stick to voicing them only in face to face discussions, where there is body language to help, and knowing the person I'm talking to reduces the likelihood of my inadvertently upsetting somebody. Although I now have opinions, I also still have the little person inside who doesn't want people to be upset at me, or say I'm boring because I drive at the speed limit and don't think binge drinking is big or clever.
I'm not saying I will never voice an opinion in my blog, but on the forums that I occasionally visit I think I will be biting my tongue and watching from the ringside more of the time!