Imagine this: you’re standing with a group of friends, talking about something that you all have in common. For this example, let’s say you’re discussing your mutual love of the color chartreuse. You’re opinion is that chartreuse is just the coolest color ever. Your friends may not all share your intense enthusiasm for chartreuse. Perhaps they really like it, but they have other favorite colors too. The conversation is friendly, respectful and fun. These are your friends, so you feel safe gushing about chartreuse.
Suddenly, you’re joined by someone else you know – someone who really, really digs vermilion. In fact, they think people that like chartreuse are downright idiotic. They join your conversation, call you ignorant names and questions your intelligence. What makes matters worse is that this person is a relative/close friend/person you can’t really escape being associated with. You’re humiliated, not because of your differing views, but because this person just vomited all over the conversation.
Then they say, “We’re in public. I can say whatever I want. Don’t put it out there if you don’t want people commenting on it.”
Sure, you’re standing in the mall, but you’re clearly talking with your friends…or not. Why would someone who cares about you, walk up to you and bitch slap you in front of 300 of your friends and family?
Okay, by now you probably get that I’m not talking about standing in the mall talking about obscure colors. I’m talking about the way people treat each other in the social media. Rather than rant, I’d simply like to point out a few things and hope it sinks in with some people.
- Social media is not necessarily “a public forum”. If you’re on Facebook, (where most of these offenses occur), your privacy settings are very likely limited to your “friends”. I don’t know many people that put everything out there for public consumption. Therefore, when you swoop in and shit all over someone’s post, it’s the same as walking up to them and calling them out in front of every person they know. Because, who are we kidding, we probably all have people “friended” who are like our bff’s next door neighbor’s cousin because we went to a party once with them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly want everyone I know to be aware of the fact that Aunt Sally can’t control her mouth when she’s drunk…again.
- Just because you disagree with someone, it does not mean they are wrong. Seriously. Deal with it and move on.
- Comments on social media are not a private conversation between you and the original poster or anyone else who may comment on the post. To spell this out further…EVERYONE CAN READ THEM. Please. There are many other ways to find out if she slept with so-and-so. Truly, none of the rest of us care.
- The same goes for blogs. If I say Mary is my best friend in my blog, don’t comment that you think Mary is a tramp. Guess what…Mary can read it and you’re an idiot.
- Lastly and most importantly (yet, what I know will be lost on most people), don’t treat people like shit just because you can’t see the hurt you inflict. I learned this one the hard way. If you don’t agree with someone’s opinion, move on. Hide the post or close the browser. Rant to your husband about what a drunken idiot Aunt Sally is. But don’t call her one on Facebook or anywhere else. Words hurt and sometimes the hurt lasts a lot longer than you’d imagine.
And for the record, this is chartreuse.