manners (or lack thereof.)

People seem to be lacking in basic manners online. Especially on social media platforms. As a blogger, I seem to get a lot of the various forms of lack of manners directed at me. People are no longer able to agree to disagree, or even have what resembles a sane conversation about opposing views.

In this me, me, me world that exists on social media platforms, that whole phrase of “worthy opposition” no longer exists. As a matter of fact if you try to mention that to most people you get the social media equivalent of blank stares because people just do not understand much of anything these days, and have little intellectual curiosity to seek things out.

We are going deaf. We worry about political polarization, the rise of the radical right and so on, but there’s a deafness afoot that is pre-political and dangerous not only to democracy but to living with the other seven billion people on the planet.

We are losing sight of the “worthy opponent,” the person or party you disagree with but whom you see as a legitimate member of the body politic. We are forgetting how to learn how “the other side” sees things, and hammer out workable compromise—keeping in mind that a good compromise is where no one gets everything they want.

~The “Worthy Opposition”: Learning to Learn
By Marcia Pally

Yes that pretty much is the perfect quote for what I am attempting to discuss.

I am growing increasingly intolerant of those who cannot disagree and have a reasonable conversation. And I am saying so, which in the limited world of some on the Internet and social media whose comfort levels never rise much above whatever they are saying or pink fuzzy bunnies, it’s tragically akin to heresy.

The come backs on their part usually start with I can’t take criticism. Well, umm have you met humans? I have never met a single person who likes criticism, but that’s not why I am sick of what some think are acceptable comments. I am sick of the way people think it is ok to treat others on social media. There is no online conversation, it’s be like they want you to be samey same like them or you are bad. You can’t disagree, because if you do, you’re bad.

It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with me, it’s about being respectful. If you can’t state another perspective as part of a conversation then I can and will remove comments and people. I’m not your punching bags, and yes it is up to me because it is my page and blog. If people don’t like it when I say “my page” or “my blog”, so sorry did you think it was yours?

I have started to remove comments and people. From my blog, from my bog’s social media outlets. If people don’t like it, too bad. If you can’t be civil, have a conversation, I am over it. People can think what they want, but I find today there is a particular lack of decorum in discourse. Even on pages where you think this wouldn’t happen. There is a great deal of misplaced sense of entitlement going around these days.

Yesterday I was musing about the cyclist who was struck and killed by a police officer. All I said was it would essentially be helpful to know all of the facts before rushing to judgement. I said this after speaking to avid cyclists I know who said flat out that was a damn odd place to be on a bicycle. I wondered why the guy was there and I still wonder if his judgement was impaired in any way?

When it comes to cyclists, there are good cyclists and not so good cyclists who do not pay attention to the rules of the road and make up their own. I don’t know any motorist who gets up one day and says “today I will hit someone on a bicycle with my car.”

I remember years ago when I used to take windy and hilly Conshohocken State Road back and forth to work every day, there were several days a week when I would hold my breath because of cyclists. There used to be these groups of cyclists who would weave and bob in and out of traffic, sometimes nearly taking over both sides of the road during the morning rush hours…oh and not keeping up with the flow of traffic, instead creating their own rules. As a driver of a car, it was terrifying some mornings. You know that you have share the road and cyclists like motorists have rights, but no one has ever adequately explained to me did their rights include putting everyone else at risk? On that road, I also saw a cyclist hit once through no fault of their own and we found out later they were a hit and run victim.

My thoughts about this fatality a few days ago weren’t crazy, there are lots of questions about this. From the angle of the victim, and the person who hit the man who is also in law enforcement. But people hopped all over me that I was a horrible person and when I responded to them, I couldn’t take criticism and I was verbally barraged again. And one woman was particularly amusing because she took umbrage to my response as I found her particularly rude and made some comment about having agreed with me on something in the past. Umm, so that means you can just be terrible to me when you disagree and I am supposed to say “thank you, may I have some more, please”? In this same vein was the guy who is a firefighter in Chester County who was also upset that I reminded people it was my page. Well it is, and distilled down most simply is when you are on someone’s page, you are their guest. They create the rules and like it or not, if we don’t like their rules, we don’t have to be there.

Have I been removed from Facebook pages and/or groups? Sure (and there are so many I just wouldn’t bother with period.) And I haven’t lost sleep over it. What amused me in those instances is I wasn’t actually rude to anyone. But hey, it’s their party, not mine. Sorry not sorry that I didn’t agree with a mother in a parenting group who thought it was ok to put household bleach in a bath for a child with allergies. Yes, really. Objecting to what actually could be considered child abuse had me removed once from a parenting social media group. But usually I am simply barred from a Facebook page because I am a blogger, kind of like what the Chester County Republican Page did. And I have yet to actually comment on THEIR page. I comment elsewhere about what they have on their page. Or the Fauxblicist who runs around in the terrifying bunny suit on occasion. I never commented on her page either, just laughed hilariously at the idiocy others shared from it. She bans me from commenting, but why would I comment on her page? I wouldn’t.

And then there was the Facebook group I was removed from because I blocked NOT an admin/moderator/page owner, but instead just some random women in said group who I did not care for. They complained to the woman who runs the group and she said back then I could not be in the group if I blocked others in the group, and did not grasp the concept that I was managing my personal privacy settings and it had nothing to to with her or the people who ran the group. It was merely done to avoid online flame wars with people I will never agree with who are in fact, mean. I am still endlessly amused that she would tell someone to change their privacy setting to accommodate bullies. It was also ironically a group where I rarely commented. Did I care about not being in that group? Nope. Haven’t missed in in a decade.

And then there is Twitter. Yesterday on Twitter a person decided he didn’t agree with me. That would have been fine if he hadn’t called me a bitch and not in an amusing “oh bitch please” satirical way. It was as in it had absolutely no place in the conversation, zero decorum kind of way. His excuse for said behavior was he wasn’t a very kind person on social media and he wasn’t going to go away unless I muted or blocked him. Very mature. He didn’t get that we could have had the entire conversation if he hadn’t decided to be offensive. So I chose mute.

Decorum is not something that exists on social media. Maybe it should? All I know is just because I am a blogger or have a different opinion it doesn’t mean I am going to sit and be their punching bag. After all if I am so terrible why are they reading my blog and why are they on my blog’s Facebook page?

Of course the ultimate irony regarding these keyboard tigers is how they are in real time if you see them off of the Internet, not hiding behind screens, keyboards, and false bravado.

Manners should be a thing online and in real life. We don’t have to all agree, and we shouldn’t all agree, but the first response of people to attack I think is wrong. And yes that means I will mute or remove someone and delete their comments. Life is too short.

If you don’t like my blog, my blog’s Facebook page or my comments or thoughts, it’s a great big Internet out there. Feel free to discover it. Life is not a cheerocracy. And you all seem to think it’s just me who feels this way. It’s not. People are just miserable to the non-controversial as well.

Oh and one last point. Everything is not about a skewed perception of class warfare.


Rant over.