Comments that hurt
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A few years ago, I posted a picture on Facebook on Facebook that drew a few comments. Someone, whom I considered a real friend, posted a comment that I am sure was not meant to hurt me…, but it did. I was stunned and then I sort of shut down for a few days. I think I even experienced a very rare bout of Writer’s Block; I felt like maybe I should take a couple weeks or more off. I wrote only a simple, heartfelt holiday greeting for a blog the next day and wanted to just curl up in a tiny ball. I also felt like apologizing to anyone who had ever read any of my posts. Silly, I know. But I am just that way.
After a weekend and two joyous days off, I was rejuvenated and felt that old spark again – the urge to write. So.., that little writer’s flame within me hadn’t completely burned out? Nope. You can recover from unintentionally hurtful things written in full view and for all of your world to see? Yes. Yes, you can… And I am sure no one else saw it as anything different than a stray comment. But it stung me. Comments from family members and friends sting the most. It also, interestingly enough, inspired me to make a few changes and to alter my thinking about what it is that I do. Why I write like I do. Who is it that I actually write for. Why do I write at all…
All good questions and all that I still seek to answer for myself on a weekly basis. When questions or statements haunt you, it is usually for a reason, there is a purpose and a subsequent full review is typically in order. So in this, my short tale of caution, there is advice for all. There really is no etiquette book for social media. While we certainly need an Emily Post (how fitting is THAT name?) – there is no Ms. Post or Dear Abby or Ask Ann Landers anywhere on our social horizon. We are left to our own devices.
Governance over your own cyber world
We are each given governance over our own Social Media land. Who we allow to trespass upon it, or to build a house is in our own hands. Who we allow to stop in for a spot of tea or a game of tug-of-war. Who we allow access to our medicine cabinet and our photo albums stuffed in the back hall closet. Our lives are more open than ever before. Mine is anyway. I decided several years ago, with the onslaugt of Social Media everywere and with fears about Big Brother or fraud, that I would take control of what is out there about me, what digital information is available. I would be open about my work and about who I am. This is not for everyone, certainly, but it is for me. Of course, I don’t share all, but I do share plenty, and if you have read any of my stuff, you know this to be true.
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Ethics and Etiquette
I often post ideas about Social Media ethics and etiquette. They are reminders for me, as well. I am not an expert but this is also not my first rodeo.
Your Own Discernment
I enjoy stimulating conversations and respectful interchange. I like the discussions that make me think “what can I do better?” That is what drives development and growth. The point of this post is that we can all do better, behave better in social media. There were no instructions that came with this stuff… no Dr. Laura or Cornell W. Most of us just plug away at this stuff, it’s not always easy to know what is appropriate, what will drive a worthwhile discussion, and what is just BS.
This is where our own discernment comes into play. You gotta be smarter than the keys on which you’re typing.
“The test of good manners is to be able to put up pleasantly with bad ones.”
– Wendell Willkie