November 12, 2008

A Parable (Of Sorts)

(The following story you are about to read is true. Any similarity to recent events is purely coincidental)

Several months ago, I was checking out the stats for the blog - I admit, I'm a data geek, and so I am curious about who visits. Of course, I find that I'm getting a ton of hits from a forum specifically discussing film theory.

When I get there, basically, I'm being trashed - people were critical of what I had said, but in a nasty, name-calling way. So of course, the first thought that entered my mind - all out war. I would write a blog post angrily decrying the very people who were mocking me, and how dare they do so; I would mobilize my Twitter pals to flame and storm them; I would make damn sure that they never did that again.

Of course, I then remembered the major principle of social interaction online: be nice.

It would have been easy for me to stay at that web site for hours, allowing my resentments to build to a crescendo. Instead, I chose to let it go and move on. As someone who works in social media (and who's been online seemingly forever), it would be ironic - and hypocritical - for me to engage in flaming or disrespectful behavior. (And when called out on it, I admit it and try to do right.). I harbor no illusions about who I am - a blogger who writes posts that a small group enjoy reading. I like having conversations on shared interests - Nothing more, nothing less. If I offend someone, I prefer a private e-mail to snarkiness or a cold shoulder - it's just the adult thing to do.

Looking back at that moment, it seemed unfair for me to head in and fight, or even try to have a one-to-one, with that group - it would have been disruptive and unnecessary. So I went and made myself a sandwich. It was actually peanut butter, but I kind of wish it had been ham - because a ham sandwich is better than pointing a finger.

And now, an NSFW Kids in the Hall sketch to put it in perspective:

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