You have to understand, my mom is a very novice Facebook user. She struggles to simply log in to the service. She doesn’t understand tagging, messaging, or sharing. She continually tells me that she declines to comment on anything on Facebook for fear that she will sound stupid. Every photo that has ever been posted on her account’s behalf was done by either my brother or me. Get the picture? My mom knows absolutely nothing about Facebook other than that it’s a place where she can go and see what her kids are up to.
But I lied. She actually knows one other thing about Facebook…
About a month ago I chatted with my mom and she told me about an observation she had. “You know Brent,” my mom started , “When I go on Facebook I notice people taking shots at each other, not directly, but I can just tell from reading their statuses that they are talking about the other person. It is pretty immature.”
My mom can’t detect emoticon meanings or birthday calendar invitations over social media but she sure as heck can detect bitterness, slights, and immaturity. Many of us think we are sly and cunning with our Facebook attacks but the truth is that everyone, including rookie Facebook users in their fifties, can see right through them.
I am not here tonight to go on a big rant about proper social media etiquette. I could go on forever about my personal code of conduct I follow while I navigate the enormous world of digital communication but I will save you all the agony. I will just say this broad statement about my major philosophy that I adhere to both personally and professionally when using social media. Be Positive. If you don’t have anything positive to say, just shut up and keep it to yourself….okay, enough about my own credo.
Indirect social media attacks are not something that is reserved for the younger generation. Sadly, it is probably more prevalent in people who should know better…like adults. It is prevalent in people who are my age. It is prevalent in people who are in their thirties and in their forties. It doesn’t matter the age, it is revolting in any case.
We all see it occur probably on a daily basis. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Someone writes a scathing status or shares one of those eye sore looking at your ex and seeing that he/she has downgraded memes. I know right after that sentence you probably had five Facebook friends who popped into your head who provide content like this consistently. You are probably asking yourself “why am I still friends with that person?”
With so much negativity in this world the last thing we need is to encounter it in such a shallow way over social media. This is a tough problem to fight but we can all take some steps. First off, if we find that we are guilty of such behavior we need to stop. Secondly, if we have a close friend who engages in passive-aggressive Facebook antics we might be in bounds to politely talk to the person and let him/her know how their social media habits make them look in front of hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people. Thirdly, if we have acquaintances who engage in such behavior we just need to de-friend them. Life is too short for such petty and immature negativity.
Across all social media outlets we need to hold ourselves to the highest standards. Social media is a terrible place to try to shame/embarrass others. Bottom line it is cowardly and selfish. Under no circumstances should we ever bring someone else down in front of a cyber audience. Again, no matter how we try to disguise it, it is always detectable. And because of that, we are actually the ones shaming/embarrassing ourselves. Don’t Blink.