Social Media: Where Everyone Has A Voice And Feels Compelled To Use It

Twitter is great, but it’s awful at the same time.

Having conversations with people from all over the world and discussing whatever subject brings us together (usually sports or pop culture) is amazing and allows me to make what my mom calls “not real friends” – citizens of the Internet that you may never meet, but interact with routinely and would share a beverage or meal with if you happened to be in the same town.

But it also sucks because there are innumerable people out there that feel their every opinion must be shared and if you dare disagree, it’s because you’re a mouth-breathing troglodyte who has unrefined tastes and shouldn’t be allowed to speak to people of such high standing as themselves.

And then there are actual troglodytes that live to say horrible things to other human beings (usually famous people) in hopes of getting blocked so they can tell their friends “Celebrity X blocked me!” or simply because there are minimal repercussions to being an awful human being on Twitter. Sure, there have been some cases where people that have said abhorrent things have paid for their 140-character comments by losing jobs, but most go unchecked or unpunished.

An offshoot of that are people actually taking to social media to lobby for others to lose their jobs because they say something misogynistic or vile, but that feels like an overextension. What really needs to happen is the offending party needs to be put in a room with the individual they made the comments to/about and asked to repeat them, knowing that the other person in the room gets one free shot in response.

You’d be surprised how many ignorant morons suddenly would have fewer quips and horrific comments to make if they knew there was a very real possibility that they were going to get punched in the face at some point. As someone who has been punched in the face several times in my 37 years (shocking, I know), I can tell you that the threat of being punched has prompted me to reconsider sharing my thoughts with someone more times than I can count.

Listen, I get the irony of some nobody on the Internet writing a column entitled “Social Media: Where Everyone Has a Voice and Feels Compelled to Use It,” but the fine folks at Maple Media liked my cover letter and agreed to pay me to write these hopefully witty and thoughtful and amusing commentaries (and other stuff), so that kind of gives me a lane.

What’s your excuse?

Outside of shameless self-promotion, I try to limit my social media interactions to things that feel positive or neutral at best: sharing things that I think are cool, giving some recognition to a friend (Internet or real) for a job well done or discussing a topic like civilized human beings using our grown up words.

If I can’t do that, I’m not pressing “send” because nothing good is going to come from it. Sure, I want to be snarky and show how smart I am, point out the mistakes of others or mock them for their bad taste, but what’s the point? What value does it bring to my life?

That’s my measuring stick now because I’m closing in on 40 and have much better things to do with my life than share my every thought and inject my opinion into every discussion on social media. (Things like writing columns about how I approach social media.)

I’m not saying I “do social media” better than you, but I do know that since I’ve stopped caring so much about having a presence on social media, I’m far less concerned about the affections of the Internet masses and responding to the countless people that think I’m a moron and not just because they’re partially correct.

Try it on for size. See how you like it.

Let me know what you think on Twitter (@spencerkyte) because this is something I will actually respond to and talk about… unless you’re mean, then I’ll just block you, which won’t get you any coolness points with your friends, so maybe don’t bother.

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