As a global society, humanity is in a weird place. Thanks to the 24/7 lens of social media, we know when people screw up, feel sad, have success, and/or obtain a major milestone.
CNN posted an interesting article by Todd Leopold, titled ‘The price of public shaming in the Internet age‘. In the piece, he opens with the question if we believe in second chances and forgiveness.
My immediate reaction to that question is ‘of course I do’. Then I look at my own responses to things and realize I have a lot of personal work to do.
Here’s the thing – when you put something online for public consumption, it’s immortalized. It doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad, how ‘in context’ that millisecond of life is. When you put something out there, you completely lose control of that information, that snippet of life.
Like reality TV, posting a rant or a ‘WTF’ picture of someone in line with you can bring you a brief flare of fame. Then it can fizzle and turn into a nightmare.
Social media can help bring awareness to social injustice, uplifting moments, beautiful vistas, and sparks of imagination. It can also provide cringe-worthy moments where people ruin their own lives.
Here are a couple of examples:
The offenses in these examples run from brain-dead moments, to verified plagiarism, to not being able to disengage when someone gives a bad review.
Our special snowflake status does not exempt us from our own brain-fart moments. Does a project rejection, no matter how kindly stated, sting? Of course it does. Just because someone doesn’t get what I write doesn’t mean I’m going to have an online fit. It’s not worth the energy.
We live in a time where privacy is an illusion and our skeletons are a click away from being discovered. As writers we’ll be complimented or torn apart by people we know or strangers. The key is to have your mental house in order so that you can continue on your writing path.
The two rules to live by online, and in life in general, is:
DO NOT FEED or ENGAGE THE TROLLS.
DO NOT BECOME A TROLL.