I have numerous friends on Facebook who post pictures or status updates, only to get a derogatory remark from a “friend”. Friends and I have talked about how we are reluctant to offer advice in Facebook groups because someone will invariably disagree, but in an unpleasant way. I’m watching a thread on the ICES page now that keeps getting dangerously close to name calling. I’ve watched friends inadvertently hurt others by repeating “warnings”they receive about others – it put that negative energy out into the world.
I flashed back to jr. high, when I had witty saying written all over my notebooks. One of my favorites was attributed to Confucius. Turns out, it was actually Adlai Stevenson who said it. “He who slings mud, generally loses ground.” It is so true. If you start slamming someone else on fb, your readers associate that negativity with you. Every single time. You might think you are being funny or that it is all in jest, but you will still be connected to the bad things you said.
Why do we feel like it is ok to post such hurtful remarks on social media?
The other day, a dear friend was brought into a conversation about copyrights as they pertain to cakes. This friend tried to answer respectfully, giving information on the research she had done. One lady disagreed with that research, but went too far in how she showed that. She attacked my friend saying that she was immoral and unethical. Wow. Wouldn’t it have been enough to simply say “I disagree”? If she had clear reasons for the disagreement, she could have given those. But no! She attacked the PERSON, not the logic. My friend was crushed to be called such things.
In the end, what did people in that chat group take from this interaction? They could only perceive this attacker as a bully. Even if they agreed with her opinions on the topic, they now see her as someone who looks to abuse others with her words. Her mud slinging lost HER credibility, not my friend.
I caution all of us to really think before we post. Is our comment helpful? Is it hurtful? Is it necessary? Enough of the negativity! I’m really focused on making positive social media messages. I hope you will join me.