What about me?
I would like to think, and in fact have been told by people, that my online persona and my real life self are the same. I am passionate on many subjects, have many thoughts and opinions and I share them freely.
Clearly I write this blog, but I also post a lot on all kinds of different social media platforms. But it mostly mirrors the conversations I have in person, maybe a little more jokey, maybe not, depends on the subject.
Perfect I am not, I engage in discussions (heated debates?), I try not to be personal and attack, I make liberal use of the mute and unfollow buttons. I rarely block, has to be something serious for that.
The good points of social media/online interaction far outweigh the bad for me (making friends, a sense of community, connecting people, seeing people support each other, discussions on mental health, seeing movements grow for the greater good, pics of puppies, genius memes, discussions around TV shows/Movies/Music that you enjoy)
However, there are few things I hate about online/social (an account that just retweets others, lots of political/strange opinion posts, people that use anonymity to attack others mainly).
I have been wanting to write this post for a while now, and I guess the time has never quite been right. Every time I get close to publishing, someone posts something online, and I think that they will ‘believe’ this is directed at them.
Well you know what it just may be. So, if that is the case you can take that two ways. Either as a mirror held to your behaviour, or you can think I am mean and attacking. Because actually I am not bothered.
That may seem a little harsh. But a lot of what I see is people who don’t care but think others should. So, it is ok for them to be mean and offensive, but if people respond, or post what they believe to be an attack on them they get upset and launch revenge attacks.
What do I mean?
There are a lot of people who use social media well, it is a true reflection of them as a person, or an organisation. The promote, share their views, give their opinion, direct, help and support others.
Other people use social media to share their lives, what they eat, where they go, what they are thinking. We get a detailed view of their lives and habits.
Some people share politics, others sport, food, culture, charity etc etc. All are good. We all have opinions and we should all be able to share them, and this can be where the trouble starts.
The problem with opinions is that we all have them, and we are all allowed to share them. Sometimes you may agree with them, others not. Opinions can be challenged, discussions can be had, we can agree to disagree. What we can’t do is tell someone their opinion is wrong, because it is their opinion.
When does it go bad?
I have seen a lot of occasions in the last few months where online social media interaction goes bad. On two levels really, one is where people get inflamed by something and then repeatedly write tweets that don’t directly name anyone, but mock their opinions, views or what they do.
Every now and again a snarky tweet or post appears. Not aimed directly at someone, no one named, but enough detail that when you know, you know. Nothing direct as that would be a level of confrontation that they are not happy with. Diggy enough that if the person it is aimed at responds, the poster can claim to be victimised.
More often than not these people are anonymous, sometimes not. Sometimes they block people, then talk about them. Very occasionally they are brave enough to direct a post or tweet to a person, but it usually is deleted fairly quickly.
The other trend I have seen recently is for people to gang up on others. Round up their posse to help them to prove that they are right. One person responds, then it is the equivalent of the primary school ‘Pile on’. Disturbingly some of these people jump on any tweet/post/response from a person and then their chums come.
Is this just debate?
There is an argument to be put forward that part of the benefits of social media is the ability to promote debate. Engage those that have other opinions and have a discussion. This is a great thing, it leads to all sides in a debate learning something, maybe leaving it with a different viewpoint or understanding, even when your opinion doesn’t change.
That would be great. A feisty debate can be a fine thing. But I am not sure the constant attacks, jibes and pile ons by the keyboard warriors and their disciples is this.
My main reason for that is that they often don’t have the courage of their convictions. So when physically in the same place as their counterparts they never say anything to their faces. In many cases actively avoid them (then use this as a basis for another post saying they were ignored – if you block someone, that isn’t inviting an approach) or at least can’t even make eye contact.
If you thought you were right, and had the courage of your conviction, you would have the discussion face to face.
So what about you?
Was there really a point to this or was it just a moan?
Kinda just a moan really, but my ask of you all is are you happy with how you are on line and how that relates to how you are as a person?
Oh and if you think this post is directed at you, ask yourself why you think that.