Social Wellness Poll: Social Media Decorum

My previous blog entry garnered the best performance of any before it. The subject matter related to social awareness- social media etiquette in particular. Although it was not a subject I relished addressing, I’m forced to consider the subject relevant based on it’s performance.

While it drew the most visitors and views my blog has ever seen in a 24hr period, I didn’t inspire the type of interaction I was seeking. Going forward, I will try to open the door further for input and discussion. Not only do I want my readers to hear what I have to say, I want to hear their thoughts and comments as well.

Yesterday, I reported my disappointment with the lack of etiquette found in social media today. To briefly elaborate, the internet is overrun with public bullying, hatred, intolerance, and volumes of subtle cries for help and/or warnings- frequently recognized after tragic facts. Facebook (“Spacebook”) was mentioned specifically. The tone may have been slightly admonishing, but it came after several weeks of contemplation.

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Have you ever clicked on a piece of shared content? You know, something with 968 likes, 3612 comments, a cell phone video highlighting questionable behavior by two or more parties of distinction. The two parties are in dispute, something uncivilized occurs, someone’s rights are violated. You are curious what the masses have to say about what transpired in the video. As usual, there are the advocates for each party in the video hurling invective at one another. It somehow becomes a racial issue. A guy from Greenwich, Connecticut is telling a guy from Gary, Indiana what it’s like in the hood. The comments become partisan. Obama is blamed. Supporting Fox News links are posted in replies to replies in the comment section. Normal stuff, right?

Then you see a number of your “friends” have commented too. Awesome. Except for the one that made an angry, hate-filled comment. The type of comment that would offend your family. The type of comment that leaves you with an unrelenting sense of betrayal- or maybe deceit. The type of comment no one would never say to you personally, in open space. The type of comment they should have immediately deleted, and you can’t figure out- for the life of you- why this person would be so stupid (absent-minded) as to attach their name to such a statement, and actually press send. The type of comment that will undoubtedly forever “make shit weird” henceforth between you.

You simply reply, “Whoa. Seriously?”

Comment deleted.

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Listen, I know the interweb is home to every keyboard cowboy with a signal, but what I don’t understand is why we don’t respect the internet for being the largest public forum and resource in existence, as it truly is? I don’t understand how we develop these online personas, personalities, and behaviors. It’s not just “something that happened online”. It’s real, with real repercussions. I wonder how many tragedies in the last 7 years have their roots somewhere in social media?

Hatred and intolerance shared via the keyboard and screen is more hazardous than what is said out loud because it goes ignored. Kind of like an email that says, “To whom it may concern: The building is on fire, and everyone else left 10 minutes ago. Please feel free to get out before it’s too late.”

So, what do you do when offended by someone on social media? Take the poll.

Of course, we could always just ignore threats, declarations, slurs..

People constantly forget what slander and libel are- legal terms, for starters- and will commit them without pause nor concern.

We need to ask ourselves, what kind of person we might be viewed as when we are saying things through social media. We also need to ask ourselves who do I know who might be offended by this because the social media universe is smaller than we may think.

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