When an article praising a race and its organization was published by a newspaper, a deprecating post on Facebook was posted that same evening. In a small community and many mutual friends, not one person commented favoring the post. However, several contacted the Race Director after reading it. “What is wrong with ______? Was that about you? “That is so wrong”. There was more offense taken by the ones reading than it was by the person meant to be mocked.
Since the uproar of social networking, I have been appalled at its misuse and abuse. Celebrities use Twitter to bash one another and people are tempted to quickly write a post filled with judgment and ridicule.
There is no denying the many professional and personal advantages offered by social media: Instant communication, informative resources, search engines, and at the top of the list is the perceived connectedness with the world. However, the disadvantages strike at the heart of sensitivity. Social Networking has aided our society in becoming desensitized, assuming erroneously that it provides a license to disregard the emotions of others while hiding behind a screen.
It is not unusual to find anonymous comments and reviews left on professionals profiles to damage their reputation by people who have never used their services; innuendos that are clearly personal attacks are posted on Facebook; and Twitter is a thriving field for downright mean “hashtag” insults by celebrities. The sensationalism that our culture indulges in is fed generously by the evening news with details of who attacked whom on Twitter.
Because of its wide audience range, on line assaults can be a disastrous character assassination to the person or the business being attacked or…to the one attacking. Sometimes the joke is on you.
Personal attacks, online or otherwise, are simply wrong, unnecessary. Think and think again before putting something “out there”. And if it must be said, state the facts. There is a difference between “The food is bad” and “You are a bad cook” or “It is not a good book” and “he is a bad writer”.
Represent yourself well. The world is watching.