I believe that undoubtedly, there are many people who prefer to see on-line comments as insults, whether they were intended to be insults or not. It happens all the time. If you choose, you can turn anything into an insult if you find that angle or try hard enough. However, it will only seem to be an insult to you, the person wanting it to be an insult. Unlikely to anyone else. I see it happen every day.
Now, here’s why I felt a need to write about this.
I have a Facebook account. If you look around on my blog you can find the link. Look on the front page. There’s a link to my news feed, as well as my business listing, on Facebook.
Now, I find that people usually have fun with Facebook. There are some who join just to be caustic to others, they are usually called ‘trolls,’ and normally ignored, often blocked by people whom they insist on badgering. Otherwise, we usually post cat photos and videos, cartoons, optical illusions, etc.
I joined after understanding that I may be able to find people I’ve not seen or heard from in many years. I also considered that I could connect with the family members I had left behind in my home state when I moved to the eastern U.S. in 2001. Both have been successful. I have found friends and family, much to my delight and hopefully, to theirs as well.
I’m getting old, and as an owner of a very small business, creating a page for my business meant I could get a free online listing. I’m now in my 60s in age and I need to embrace the ‘here-and-now’ in order to be relevant. When a client contacts or approaches me, I need to be able to meet their need in my business, whatever their need may be. I also have a personal account, which must exist in order to support a “Page,” which is normally a business or community page such as I mentioned.
So, I have a Facebook account. I mainly use it to access many different news sites, more like an old RSS aggregate. I do have friends, around 60 in all. I have many friends in life, but 60 on my Facebook page. Most of them I actually know in my personal, non virtual world. Musicians, people I have done business with, family members, my wife, her mother, etc. I see it as an advantage, or a luxury, in my life.
When I started my first account on Facebook, I was more ‘friend oriented’ than I am now. Much more naive as a social network user. It was new, it was fun. I commented here, there, everywhere. It was a new world. However, I started to see how people have way fewer manners and character when sitting in another place hundreds or thousands of miles away.
I had a huge friend list, but eventually, I got to the point of being frustrated with people’s nasty attitudes. So, I made a list of the friends that I had found from my past and present, as well as new friends and printed it, then deleted the account, created a new one and found some of the people on that list. I knew I would probably face the same nasty attitudes from people, as I had before. So I chose carefully from my printed list and told them, as I “Requested” them that I had abandoned my old account and was starting over. Everyone was fine with it and accepted my solicitations to join my new ‘Friends’ list. Some from my previous list were never notified, or contacted as they were some of those who were less than decent to begin with.
I grew a thicker skin. I realized that people will put themselves in front of others without realizing what they are really showing of themselves. Displaying themselves as they never would to anyone’s face, or in public. Again, nasty, disrespectful and puffed up, often oblivious to what they were doing. “That’s how I roll” kind of thinking. Of course, if you call them on it, or point out how bad they appear, you become the bad guy. People want to know, they do not want to learn. They willingly embarrass themselves while thinking they are somehow appealing. A tactic I do not employ, nor do I engage in.
Well, even though I had done all of this, the one thing I DID see was how defensive people are, usually for no good reason. You make a sincere, innocuous statement and someone becomes offended. You slam your head on your desk hoping to see their angle, but you can’t see it. No matter where you stand in the room, you just can’t see it. But their they are, “So are you saying that I’m this or that?” No, I was just making a statement.
So, you explain it to them. You lay out exactly what you meant. They don’t get it. You realize that, even though you meant well, (I normally do mean well,) both of you are standing in two different holes that you have both dug for yourselves. You realize what has just happened so you just drop it. However, they will pester you. They do not drop it. Sooner or later you contemplate blocking them from even seeing you on-line. It’s a shame, but it is real.
Anyway, as I was growing up, I learned that if I just sat and watched and listened, often times I learned much more in the same amount of time as if I had sat and asked endless questions. Most often, the questions that you have are also on the list of the person talking, and if you just wait, they’ll provide answers without you wasting the time to ask the questions they know you will ask or are naturally evident to the conversation.
Because of this, I have relegated myself to just not commenting on many other people’s pages. Not always because of them, but more out of trying to keep their friends from coming unglued over things I post that mean nothing even remotely related to an insult. Honestly, if I intend to insult anyone, here, or in life, there will be no doubt, what-so-ever, that I meant to insult an individual. 90% of the time, I remain silent, mouth shut, eyes working well, antenna fully extended.
As I have watched over the few years now that I have been on-line, this attitude does not seem to be abating, but getting worse. Daily. As I said, it seems that people prefer to be insulted. Maybe it gives them more confirmation that they actually are world wide. A presence to be dealt with. I’ll pass. I’d rather eat soap than argue with a person who refuses to drop their defense and listen. Not that I am always right, but I don’t rip my shirt open or off every time I feel that I may have been insulted. I just read it again, get what I can from what I read and move on. Normally, I end up agreeing with something that looked much different after adjusting my attitude, loosening my hat and adjusting my antenna.
Arguing with people on-line, these whom you know are looking to stir the mud is no different than trying to play chess with a pigeon. They will dance around the board, knock over the pieces and crap on the board, not caring about how to play but feeling that, regardless, they have won.
I ain’t got time for it. I just ain’t.
So, Happy Holidays everyone and read everything twice, from two different places in the room. You’ll certainly see something that you would have missed and will agree with that will make you smile. Maybe even make you laugh.
Maybe you won’t. If not, try harder. Much harder. Life is too short to be a dick 24/7.
Thanks for stopping by,