Man, sometimes I think I suck for not garnering lots of comments (Jeopardy! budget-buster post excepted), but recently I have been reminded to be careful of what I wish for.
I used to be on Facebook, but it turned out that my relatives, whom I thought were great when I was a kid, were not great, and they figured I was not great either.
I did not pick fights, nor insult anyone. I played games, sent birthday greetings. Then I erred in posting about an exchange I had with some cultists who went door to door with a questionnaire. I said that a multiple choice questionnaire was a poor way to gather the religious and spiritual beliefs of a planetary population of 7 billion unique individuals, ending with "Needless to say, I am not a convert." and "this is not an invitation to religion discussion" and lo! the born-again cousin thought it was an invitation to religion discussion! And my atheist friends mocked her post, and my brother commented bitingly to my cousin, and then her brother got involved... that thread went gang aft agley. My born-again cousin defriended me. I did not post any comments, because I erroneously assumed my audience was composed of mature people. Losing someone who did not meet my audience expectation of reading comprehension and maturity was for the best.
I did not participate in this next episode, but it horrified me, sensitive soul that I am. I have this cousin who works at a mental hospital for the criminally wacko, she regularly saw and befriended some city police, who were shot dead at a coffee shop by, wait for it, a criminal wacko. She posted her grief on Facebook along with asking why a then-governor of another state granted the loon clemency for an earlier crime, and my uncle's wife and her relatives swarmed on her post like angry hornets. Neither my uncle's wife nor her relatives ever lived in the state where the governor granted the wacko clemency, but did that stop them from posting venomous comments in response to my cousin's grief? Of course not. I felt sick that people would behave that way. I left Facebook. I felt I could not post anything without people jumping down my throat, inventing offence where none was, and having to be that guarded and second-guessing what would tip someone into the lunatic zone got to be too mentally taxing for me.
I have to say that when I
It's a weird facet of social media that people who know someone intimately enough or long enough could connect with a poster via e-mail or post or phone, engage with "what did you really mean by..." but instead flock to the Web where electrons are forever and heap abuse so onlookers could see what kind of people they are. "Hey I need to have the last word, post more than three times on a thread, attack other commenters." Me, I have learned not to post anything that I would not want read back to me in a court of justice.