Interacting on social media is like driving a car. There is an illusory thin veil that people believe they can hide behind. It reminds me of the invincible blanket that separated me from demons in the dark in my pre-pubescent bedroom.
When you drive, the car’s frame becomes the veil you can marginally hide behind (tinted windows helps). That and bad driving often results in road rage.
On the internet, the network separates you physically from others, and people use that veil to write things they would almost never say in person. The result? Flame wars and hurt feelings.
When I make presentations about social media I usually get a few laughs from the audience when I say there are three specific online topics in which I refuse to engage:
- MAC v. PC
Yes, there is humor in the statement, but as usual…a hint of truth in my motto. Almost no other topic creates the sort of passion that can lead to a heated exchange online, than any of those three issues.
ME v. YOU
Election Day’s results prompted this blog. Someone’s side wins and someone’s side loses in these things. I realize the cathartic release that comes from letting off political frustration in an online declaration. Left at that…such a stated sentiment works.
But inevitably the opposing viewpoint chimes in, and then it’s off and running…with escalating claims, and others joining the fray.
Have you ever been shocked to find out that a close voice-over associate is on the “other” side in these threads? There… on the screen… is the person that you otherwise enjoy, support, and interact with — alla sudden espousing the kind of propaganda that boils your blood. As balanced rational human beings we can understand someone championing a different viewpoint… but subconsciously, haven’t you re-written your estimation of that person?
I have a different kind of veil.
Hiding behind the impartiality of journalism breeds both protection and resentment. Publicly taking sides is not possible for me. I can hide behind that veil and remain above the fray, sure…but the frustration of never being able to speak my mind drives me crazy!
HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
If your voiceover colleagues who know you well are “adjusting” their assessment of you based on the online diatribes you post… imagine what your clients and potential clients (who may not know you as well) are thinking.
Raise your right hand, and repeat after me:
“I will not initiate or engage in volatile online threads involving the topics of religion, politics, and MAC v. PC.”
Allowable topics for dissension:
Twitter v. Facebook
ISDN v. ipDTL