It’s called a spine. You might want to use it

Maybe you need an additional spine to help with all the weight of social media rules now. Perhaps that's the problem. Like a lot of folks, I’m finally recovering from attending the South by Southwest Interactive conference. It was great to finally meet a lot of the folks that I’ve gotten to know on-line over the last few years in person, and meet a few more folks that I seem to have a lot in common with. And, without trying, I managed to generate some work for my freelance WordPress design business. I had a blast.

But I noticed something else. In these conversations, the names of a few people kept popping up with less than flattering opinions and statements made about them. One person in particular (name not required) came up over and over in a very negative light. Yet, of all the people who made these statements and shared their own negative experiences, only 2 of them had actually SAID anything to this person. They simply ignored them, or worse still passively communicated with them. A few folks actually told how they had been ‘bullied’ by this person when they attempted to ‘break’ their social media bonds.

This is sad on so many levels.

Here, let me wipe off my mouth first. I was busy mauling the latest blogging topic of choice right now, and need to get back to my 'community' of people who think that I'm awesome. Want to join? What happened to all the self-respect we talk so much about? Passion, personal goals, and all that jazz. Yet, when faced with a clear load of bullshit, we back down? Allow someone to speak FOR you, ABOUT you, and INSTEAD of you? What happened to this ‘voice’ we all had now?

You were taught better than this

Face it. You know that back when you were wee little ones, you were taught right from wrong, and how to stand up for yourself. It’s a worthy trait to have, self-respect. And I’m also guessing that you don’t enjoy dealing with douchebags and could do something better with your time. So I’ll make you a deal: cut the ties. If you think you’re missing out after 30 days, I’m sure they’ll still be there. But, will they even miss you?

{ 12 comments }

Jeremy March 26, 2010 at 2:43 am

I can appreciate what you are saying. What seems like common sense to some of us is a foreign language to others.

Norcross March 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

I wish I could beat some common sense into people at times. But alas, those pesky assault and battery laws…

Ruth March 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

I’ve got one of those people where I’ve thought about giving him a piece of my mind but decided that it was easier to sever ties. I still encounter him or other ppl talking about him, but I think that within a few months I’m going to be free of him entirely. In a year, I’ll have forgotten him. :)

He’s old enough that if he hasn’t learned the lesson about his behavior by now, he’s not going to learn it if I try to lecture him.

Norcross March 26, 2010 at 11:31 am

That’s certainly a start, but may I ask why you haven’t actually given him a piece of your mind?

Ruth March 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Because his problems seem to be driven by insecurity, not malice. And because in an online context it’s harder to do that. And because I don’t know him well at all, so it’s easy for me to dismiss him without feeling responsible for him.

Norcross March 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Fair enough

Ryan Paugh March 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I hear ya dude. Maybe it’s the fucking politics, but it’s still sad. At the very least it’s nice to hear someone acknowledge that you do have a choice in the matter.

PS: I spent a bunch of money on cigars yesterday and thought of you. That’s right. When I’m smoking stogies I’m dreaming of Norcross. It’s creepy, but whatever.

Norcross March 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I can buy the politics argument to a point, however, it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s behavior that we keep saying we don’t want to exhibit. So why keep doing it?

Oh, and glad you’re enjoying a nice smoke. Next time we cross paths, there will be some involved.

Karen April 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I think you’ve touched here on some hypocrisy in social media- it’s easier to preach about doing the right thing, and then when reality comes, it’s easier to lack integrity. Having a spine is an option that many people don’t take, and it’s too bad.

Kyle April 26, 2010 at 2:41 am

So who is this “name not required” person? Just to be a devil’s advocate, wouldn’t giving this person’s name put some more spine in your back? :)

Norcross April 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

It certainly would. It’s a rather long story, but rest assured it’ll be addressed very soon. In a very, VERY public way.

Grace April 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Well said.

I wasn’t at SXSW (sipping margaritas in Mexico at a friends’ wedding) so I can’t attest the who’s, what’s and why’s here but I do agree with having a backbone, standing up for yourself and if applicable and a fight worth having, others.

I also like to use the word gumption. It’s one of my favorites, I wouldn’t live my life any other way and if that means there’s a non-favorable person who has done something to me, why wouldn’t I address it? I always have in the past. I can say that many people don’t react out of fear. Fear of being judged, causing a ruckus, uncertainty, or being seen as unfavorable. We see this all the time – fronting. It’s refreshing to hear you don’t and won’t. Thanks for writing this :)