10/3/14

Bully . . .

Soooooo I took some time off from social media this summer to get my head right and to, allegedly, focus on real relationships in the real world. I was largely faithful to my vow to stay silent (I did log in daily to check my company's Facebook and Twitter accounts (one of my official duties) and I also manage social media for a few other things and groups I care about so I did that, too) but I made a few notable exceptions when I feel back in to old habits of wanting to scream and yell about stupid stuff in to the echo chamber.

Why am I telling you this? Again? Well, because something truly random happened to me during one of my weak moments/interruptions to my break - I was accused of being a "bully" . . . a Digital Bully (cue the dramatic music and mood lighting).

I won't get in to the details of who and how lobbed the label (that would be, even by my hard to meet standard for using said term) a bully but they felt entitled.

To be clear they are not the FIRST person for digital behavior. Nay. NAY, I say. I was labeled a bully in front of a class of students at THE Wichita State University for THIS post (many moon ago - note the screen grab of a Tweet where the sender's (and re-Tweeter's) name(s) is/are blocked). I was also labeled a bully for an e-mail I sent internally at work one time accusing the accounting department of cutting a little too loose at the company happy hour (my exact words were "Let's not shut down the work until 4 PM . . . accounting."). I have also had people reach out to me in digital and physical settings to confront me for my strong opinions and harsh criticisms of others.

Yeah. This is a real thing. I know people so fragile in themselves that they "need" the world of social media to just absorb them like so many piles of freshly washed, fabric softener scented towels and to bounce them back up with a gentle kiss on the cheek to protect them from the evils around them.

That's fine. I get it. If you believe what you hear, I have NO heart. I am not sensitivity or decorum. These things are far from true but it IS valid to believe that I am not highly impressionable. I don't really put much stock or value in the negative and dismissive opinions of others (to be very clear I DO value constructive criticism, great thinkers/thinking, people who push and pull against me in productive ways, etc,) But I CERTAINLY do not allow Tweets, in their terse character count and emotionless delivery, or comments and feedback on Facebook, Google+, this blog, etc. to impact me in wounding way.

You want to get under my skin - come find me. We can TALK about it. I will RESPECT you for confronting me. I will LEARN something from the exchange. You want to send me an e-mail peppered with screen grabs of Tweets that can be years old (I have 44000 Tweets behind me, people - have you nothing better to do than dig through them) and call me names? That's on you.

I hate bullies. I hate the notion that someone would go out of their way to make someone feel small, less than, or unaccepted. I hate the very idea that someone would lump me in with those people (most of the time - even if I am being critical or contrary I am hoping to get nothing more than a rise or a little passion out of you). I hate the idea that people are bullied and that they are made to feel less than and that they are fragile enough to let a Tweet or Facebook comment gnaw away at them.

But I also hate the idea that anyone feels entitled to take a term that has such a strong and specific meaning and impact and to hurl it around so casually because they don't appreciate my social media banter.