While I don’t want this to turn into a full on rant or a pointless gripe session (note I say pointless because some gripes are, in fact, productive and legit), I do think there is a vast deal of therapeutic good in airing an opinion or two and soliciting others in turn.
This will be a “here’s what I think and do, what about you?” sort of post. Sounding board stuff. So feel free to cut lose and have no fear you will injure my delicate feelings.
Ah yes, the delicate feelings. I think that’s the point, actually. See, I don’t really have delicate feelings. I have them, feelings that is. As do everyone. But mine are not so special snowflake or so tender or weak that I require others to coddle them or affirm them (okay sometimes, yes, agreement is good and encouraging). I’ve learned to make it so. I am aspiring not to be ego-centric, but more global minded (doesn’t that sound profound? Snicker). That is to say, the world doesn’t revolve around me.
Now why in the Sam Hill do I bring that up? Good that you asked. I bring it up because social media has given rise to two types of folks that would not ordinarily have such scope for their issues and who really don’t grasp that there are other- real, feeling people in the world with them.
First, there is the special snowflake type who we all have met on Facebook, GoodReads, Twitter, etc. Their feelings are so very tender and their opinions are so very strong. Sigh… They rage, they hurt, they drama llama the rest of the world to death. They freak on a rumor and pass it on to two thousand of their best buds. They put out an opinion (generally outrageous or ignorant) and get bent out of shape when folks don’t stay quietly in the Amen pew for them. They…well you get the idea.
But the second group are equally frustrating. These are those who in Real Life aren’t brave with opinions and have low to average confidence on a given day. Approach the need to address another person or share an opinion with deference and politeness. But put them on a computer where they have the illusion of anonymity? Oh my glands they are the ‘da Beast!’ They will snipe, swipe, and snarl in their own posts and they will be that troll on other people’s. Not to correct an error or to share their take, but just to be THE Voice. I don’t know if they think it is witty, sparkly, or fun snarky, but yeah…not really. Just mean.
Now take these two types and put them in our book lover land? Because seriously, we know that we can make MMA fighters, lord of the alien invaders, big bad bikers, and bossiest alpha wolf shifters cringe when us reader types get to feeling strongly about our books, our authors, and our blogs. You know I’m talking true.
We now have outrageous street teams doing mischief, anti-author fan clubs, book shaming, Authors/Bloggers/Reviewers behaving badly, never satisfied complainers and commenters. Our world on-line and at the conventions can grow cloying and thick with the negativity in the air.
This is what can fatigue us all even those of us who are only sideline observers to the ‘world in flames’ behavior. I find myself go into hermit mode. Get on. Get stuff done. Get off. This is not good. There are wonderful people in on-line booklover land and I want to connect and engage with them. The gold amongst the dross.
How do we avoid becoming one of these two types?
How do we minimize it in others?
Here’s what I’ve thought and tried or appreciated as good techniques that others have thought and tried. Nothing profound, I assure you.
- As in do not engage; do not respond to dumb, provocative stuff. They tossed out an opinion. Not a bright one, but they’re welcome to do it.
- When silence isn’t an option because the opinion is harmful to others- Respond. But don’t react. Reacting can lead to the on-line uglies. Responding involves taking the time for a deep breath- brains getting oxygen is a very, good thing for higher thinking. Responding might involve a delay to form thoughts and words. And pause again, before you hit send ask- how would I react if someone sent me these words?
- Always bear in mind that whatever words I put out there while I’m on-line stay out there. No takebacks. Oh yes, you can apologize or retract, but you cannot remove them. Hitting delete on Facebook or wherever is not going to remove it from everything. So yes, watch what you say and how you say it.
- Limit your social media/on-line presence. Gasp, I know. (Pot is totally calling out Kettle on this one, but I’m getting there.) This keeps perspective.
- And not only that, sometimes you have to make the tough call to cut out the Negative Nellies (sorry to any RL Nellies who are awesomesauce). Unfriend, unfollow, move to inactive lists, etc. And if that’s too drastic, there are settings to keep them as followers or friends, but you can ‘mute’ or ‘limit’ their stuff on your page or in your roll.
Lest you think I’m pointing fingers, relax, cupcake, I’m not. I have no particular faces in mind when I write this. It all comes down to me wondering and thinking- solution stuff.
So, I shared and now I want to know your thoughts. How do you avoid being the crazy person that people want to unfriend? And what are some of your ways to respond/avoid/ignore others who are doing it? Do you have a system or a rule about this stuff? Do tell!