Every week I take a fresh look at something that could use a bit of tweaking. This week: Social media.
It could just be me, but I think people are clearly confused about how social media is supposed to work. Everybody thinks they know, but unless you've reviewed the user guides, codes of conduct, or for most people, passed a civics class or even know what the word civility means, maybe it's time to review.
Here's some rules and do and don'ts of social media "If Steve Ruled the World." Which I realize is a horrifying thought for some of you. Here goes ...
Anonymous profiles would be -and should be - banned forever. Need to be anonymous? Then don't sign up for social media! If your handle is something like @angryaboutWalker, @trumpsafool, or @AOCforprez, in my world, you don't get to post on social media unless you put a name on it. What's your real name? Let's start there!
Obviously, politics and entertainment are great fodder for social media posts. Here's the hard part for some people. OTHER PEOPLE THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU DO. Doesn't mean they're Hitler, doesn't mean they should be shamed or shunned, just means they have a different take. It's life. People disagree. Respectful disagrement is actually a virtue. Try and practice it.
If you're a fan of social media and the HBO series Game of Thrones, you may have noticed the recent phenomena of people posting things like, "I never watched Game of Thrones" or "I don't understand why that show is so popular?"
You know how you could change that? Watch the damn show or maybe more importantly, since we're talking about social media, don't post about shows or subjects or people you have no clue about. You don't see me posting about Bernie Sanders' popularity do you? I don't understand it, so I leave it alone.
Let's talk for a moment about grammar police. Comedian Jim Gaffigan had a great tweet recently on this. "Whenever you correct someone's grammar just remember nobody likes you."
Twitter or Facebook are not college exams. They are not thesis statements or court documents. They're a random stream of consciousness snapshot into the mind of a person or organization. Treat it as such and keep your red pen off my damn tweets.
This one is political, but if the only thing you ever post about is Trump or any individual politician for that matter, and always cast a negative shadow on a specific subject, then I have to start thinking that maybe you're more than a little bit obsessed.
You may not realize it, you may make a lot of money talking or writing about that person in your professional life, but to me, it reeks of obsession. Step away from the technology a bit. Hey, a wasn't a fan of Hilary Clinton, but I did find the time to compliment her pant suits occasionally.
Let's talk about the term TROLL.
Do you write posts just to elicit anger, offend (see my earlier Game of Thrones mention) or cause trouble?
Can I ask you a question? Why?
You may see it as witty social commentary. I see it as a cry for help.
Social media has given people this weird fascination with stirring up controversy, for some, the only reason they use social media, often with no understanding of a subject. or any direct knowledge of the person they're interacting with. Here's an idea. Do some research, ask some questions, then make the leap to tweet or post.
Estimates are that we spend an average of 5 years and 3 months of our lives on social media. You want to understand why this country, or world for that matter, is where it is today? Social Media. Uninformed, biased, angry, hate-filled, socially inept basement dwellers shaping the opinions of millions, or billions, of people. Yeah, that's a recipe for a healthy planet.
Since I'm a positive person, I'll end on a more pleasant note.
Want to be happier in life? Don't feed the negativity beast. Go back and look at your last 50 tweets. Are they all negative? If the answer is yes, it's not social media, it's you. I'm not telling you to blow sunshine up somebody's you know where, but think about the impact of what you post. If the only story you ever tell ends up with the main character being ridiculed, beaten, or worse, dead, then we probably wouldn't be surprised if your life takes a similar track. But, by all means, you be you.
That is this week's If Steve Ruled the World ...catch it live on my radio show every Wednesday at 11:35!