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What happens when Social Media becomes the Weapon of Choice?

Do you say things on social media you wouldn’t dare say in person?

Social media is a great place for introverted writers. We get to be social without ever having to get dressed. We can hook up with readers, other writers, make new friends, share information, promote, etc all from the privacy of our home, or wherever we are. Except, none of it is private. And too often, we type words we would never let our mouths say.

We all have hot buttons and sometimes, when we feel strongly about something, we react or even attack. I’ve been guilty of this and thankfully it hasn’t been anything so bad I’ve totally regretted it, though had it been in the physical world, I might not have let the words out. I might have bit my tongue. In social media it is simply easier to express ourselves, even when it might be best to take a step back and think it through instead of reacting in the heat of the moment. Because I have reacted in haste, I now always take a moment to think before I post anywhere. Heck, this blog post has taken me over an hour so far…

When I was growing up the worst thing that could happen was that someone said something bad about me, then repeated it to the entire HS and next thing you know, I was known as XYZ. It lasted for a week and then they school was on to someone else. Now, it is broadcasted across entire networks…globally…to everyone…on the planet…and perhaps Mars…and it never goes away. EVER.

We are as a whole, obsessed with bad behavior. Charlie Sheen should be a household name for his talent, but instead it’s because of his current state of turmoil. Not that I follow it, but I read something about it while standing at the checkout line at the grocery store. I was mortified at myself that I even looked at the tabloids. I agree, it’s newsworthy and should be reported, but the fact that we as a society get off on putting others down, poking fun at their troubles, making judgments about who they are and why they are that way sort of mortifies me to an extreme level. I will concede the man has problems and I hope he gets the proper help, but we don’t need a twenty-four update on his bad behavior and listen to anyone who is trying to get their fifteen minutes by spouting off whatever about the situation. Part of the reason why social media scares me and I limit my access and use it sparingly. Unfortunately, it can be a playground for bullies that collect the masses along the way by promising them a good time all at the expense of someone else.

I’ve seen many writers use social media as weapon to get back at someone or something in very unconstructive ways. It’s one thing to say, you know, I tried this, but it didn’t work for me and this is why, but it might work for you. It’s quite another thing to tweet, blog, Facebook and comment malice statements, even if the thing didn’t work for you all in the name of making the other person or company look bad. It is okay to disagree with a statement, and express you point-of-view. Where it becomes destructive is when it as at the expense of someone else. Best to say, this was my experience, instead of because of my experience the world should be on my side. When the tools of the intent used to cause harm, I do take issue with it. When the intent is to inform, even if it is negative, I have no issue. Just allow the opposing view to be heard.

I find it interesting that people are more willing to point out your faults, than point out your good qualities. It has affected me so much that I think if someone actually tells me I’m good at something they are lying. Now that is topsy-turvy.

Social Media is a tool. It is a way to connect in ways we couldn’t before. Technology is both a curse and gift. It is a curse when it’s misused for malicious purposes. It is a gift when used as way to communicate effectively and without malice. Use it to positively connect with your audience and friends. Use it to communicate your message to the world, without putting down the opposing point-of-view. It isn’t about being politically correct, but being respectful. We can disagree without slinging the cyber mud.

Here is an interesting YouTube video discussing negative comments and integrity. Bottom line, be real and have integrity no matter what you put in your social media stream.

Here is an interesting article from The Sacramento Bee regarding social media, libel and lawsuits.

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