Category Archives: Social Media

The Be-Nice Social Media Meme Quandary

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I’m not a fan of a quick recap or drive-by. I want three shotgun blasts to the thorax, using words, just to be sure. I’m obligated to kill the “be nice, you don’t know…” meme – and bury it under an avalanche of words.

A popular meme and motivational cliché challenge us to be nice to people because we don’t know what invisible battles they’re fighting. (Maybe their anger, mistreatment, and lashing out is motivated by something else.)

Duh!

That’s true for literally everyone, each day – unless we’re surrounded by sociopaths and mean people. Most good people swallow reactions to misbehavior constantly, without comment or repayment. As an outsider, you don’t know how many times someone might have overlooked being treated rudely or mistreated. We only see the consequence and not the long hill of effort to be kind that preceded an outburst.

It’s reciprocal, though, that expectation of kindness or overlooking someone’s inexplicable mean behavior that affects you. You’re not logical if you extend the benefit of the doubt to one participant without also extending it to the other.

People secretly fighting invisible battles should stop blame-shifting honest reactions on the people who are unaware of the circumstances.

We are all jerks; luckily, we’re just jerks on differing schedules.

Reciprocate and assume that I might have a bad day, bad life, or a particular circumstance myself.

Be honest with me and I’ll probably tolerate you lighting my toes on fire.

Like all clichés and generalizations, it’s almost meaningless to ask people to assume that all misbehavior results from an unseen struggle. We’re all going to say and do stupid things, especially hurtful things that we might not have intended to be so harsh.

Most of us are around a few people who lack basic decency. They gaslight and lash out regularly, then use any of our honest reactions against us. They’re the worst. They prey and thrive on the drama.

I’m around two of the worst sociopaths I’ve ever met on a routine basis. They’re toxic, angry, and abusive. They are masters at manipulation. It’s exhausting and needless. They always have an excuse to pardon their horrendous behavior.

P.S. I know this post is potentially contradictory, accusatory, and perhaps upsetting. Maybe I’m having a bad day, though.

So do as the memes demand and give me a break.

You don’t know what’s going on in my life.

Whatever it is, though, it’s my responsibility to throttle my misbehavior, angry words, or discourteousness before asking you automatically to give me a pass. I expect the same from you. It works 99% of the time.

So, enough with the “Be nice, you never know” positivity memes. They’re vacuous and defy the complexity of human emotions and interaction.

Good people need not be told. Bad people don’t care. And sometimes, we can be both.

 

Social Media Avatars

*At the risk of being shot, this is tongue-in-cheek.

I woke up this morning to a flood of avatars on Facebook.

Some are great, some are humorous, some are realistic. Some, however, are as far from reality as an alligator playing banjo on Mars.

As someone who has done a lot of photoshop or alternate pictures for years, I knew the day would arrive when Facebook would drop a bomb of avatars to its site. It was inevitable.

We’ve endured the misuse of softening filters for a couple of years. They have their place. Mostly, though, they obscure reality. It can cause grief when people use them and don’t realize they look a bit ‘off’ when using them. We have to pretend their baby isn’t hideous, so to speak, even as we wonder whether they’ll win the Halloween costume contest without the use of a mask.

Maybe I’m being judgmental. I love pictures – and I’ll take them any way I can get them.

The avatar fad that just exploded onto Facebook is a good thing overall. Anything that distracts people with a bit of fun or interest can’t be a bad thing.

It’s just that we all collectively share the same observations when people aren’t being realistic. If my avatar isn’t balding or fails to have a gut, it’s not realistic. It’s true I could simply use a Danny Devito gif to represent me, but that leaves him without a good one to use for himself.

Song: Do You Want To Date My Avatar?

The above song is old by modern standards. It did, however, predict the rise of avatars.

Because I knew she’d like it, I made a png cutout of her avatar so that it would include a bulldog, a symbol that best represents what she’s all about.

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To be an idiot, I made a George Clooney png avatar for myself. When people compare me to others, George Clooney is somewhere around the 5,000,000,000 mark on the list of my possible doppelgangers.

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Now that I’ve contradicted myself, I have to go make a mass of crazy avatars and pictures for other people. Some will challenge their notions of reality.

Weird For Normal’s Sake

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“What’s wrong for being weird just for weird’s sake? Plenty of people are being normal for normal’s sake. And they look anything but normal in the process. Normal isn’t a thing and it never has been. It’s a fraud masquerading as an ideal. We have people putting fake fingernails on top of their real ones, injecting fat into their lips, acting like their human emotions and reactions should be repressed in favor of whatever the prevailing notion is. Worse, we have people who don’t recognize what real humor is or the difference that motive makes in regard to everything we do and say. Be authentic. That’s normal. If you want to shave one eyebrow off, do it. It’s no weirder than having painted on eyebrows – or gluing fake eyelashes onto your real ones. The next guy can put a quarter-size hole in his earlobe or another hole in his nostril but thinks he has the right to tell you that you can’t say “Hello” in Klingon if you damned well want to? Get your banjo and play it as loudly as you want to, even if you sound like you’re being electrocuted.”

– From “The Old Man Chronicles”

It’s Better If You Don’t Share

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I didn’t put the stupid fake picture first, given the way that the header picture is invariably the one first seen.

 

—NOTE (Below) : Misleading Title from a worse Facebook page—

 

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My initial response to the above-debunked picture appearing on my FB feed for the 12th time…
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My nested response underneath…

The fake posts by social media users abated. Inexplicably, I had TWELVE repostings between today and yesterday. I don’t know whether people suddenly became more stupid or if those running the conspiracy and fringe social media sites upped their game. It could be both – and often is. It’s no secret that people are often both stupid and lazy. How they could have missed the countless debunkings though, is beyond belief.

I don’t know why I’m still so surprised that otherwise smart people don’t check what they share. By uploading an image to Google Images, I can usually see what portion of its usage occurs on conservative vs. alleged liberal media. If it’s mostly one side, it’s probably drivel, whether shared by liberal or conservative.

The picture with this post was debunked a couple of weeks ago. Despite this, those who can’t or won’t use their critical thinking skills continue to share it as it makes its way around the internet. There is no media bias, at least not as pictured. I’m not a fan of the NY Post, given its owner, but they used a properly credited picture of the beach. The other FACEBOOK page operated by News Break aggregated the story. The FACEBOOK posting used another image from the same website. The NY Post website did nothing incorrect here – and neither did the News Break FACEBOOK page. A few politically-influenced social media sites have continued to improperly report the juxtaposed images in support of the incorrect and erroneous claim that its proof of the elusive media bias that evidently occurs everywhere. In turn, people who are inclined to believe such claims outright, even in cases that are demonstrably not evidence of media bias, share these posts ad infinitum.

What the picture does expose is the ever-growing need for people to use social media to share their own words or ideas. It insulates them from being ‘had’ by the very media they claim they can either trust or not trust. By continuing to share such incorrect stories, they themselves become guilty of what they accuse others of doing. By presenting every word and image on their page as their own, the worst that can be challenged is their opinion. Posting/sharing what others produce exposes them to scrutiny and being fooled by partisan or cause-oriented falsehood.

If I sound a bit irritated, it’s because many of the people who are shouting the loudest about ‘fake news’ or the unreliability of the media quite often use questionable sources to get their ideas, especially social media sites. No matter how often I point out that they are being victimized by their choices, they, of course, get irritated and angry. No one enjoys being asked to correct provable wrongs. On the other hand, that’s what responsible people do: they correct errors and push back against ego preventing them from saying, “Oops.” Sooner or later, we are all going to repeat/share/post something that is literally wrong. How we respond when someone points it out is the single biggest determinant of whether we are capable of discourse and conversation. Along that line, the safest thing to do is to avoid sharing something that you didn’t create. Doing so and then digging in when it’s pointed out that it’s wrong tends to lead people to the conclusion that discovering what is essentially true or right isn’t high on your list of priorities. Above all, always be very cautious about sharing an alleged news post from a Facebook source. They are notoriously unreliable. I have hundreds of them blocked, both conservative and liberal alike. Likewise, I use LeechBlock on my browser to block a huge list of websites that are prone to extremism.

Granted, even though I meticulously pointed all this out, the odds of the outright false post being taken down approach zero. The people who make the “fake media” claim tend to ignore such requests at a rate much higher than their crazy liberal friends. It’s a hallmark.

P.S. Many users aren’t aware that some of their posts are flagged by Facebook as “FALSE” as they post them. If you show the poster that Facebook has done this, they’ll invariably shout, “BUT you know nothing Facebook says or does is true.” And then I’ll point out that the fake post they are arguing about was itself a Facebook post and that they are contradicting themselves. It’s a sublime moment; one of joy for me and seething anger for them.

I know I’m an idiot. In my defense, I don’t use other people’s websites or links on my pages. What you read is my opinion and interpretation. It’s not poorly-expressed as objective truth. It’s opinion.

FactCheck Link

Poynter Link

Politfact Link (Same Beach, Different Conspiracy)

Snopes Link

 

 

The Social Media Revelation Observation

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This is my Uncle Buck, with his first wife. The picture is from 1965.

You must either post or perish. The road between reassuring affirmation and privacy is indeed narrow. If you fail to share the complex and multi-faceted path that got you here, people will not understand your sudden departure from the thing you declared to be angel’s elbows and dancing unicorns.

Corollary: If you don’t share a multi-faceted explanation for the arc of what you’ve experienced, people will judge you on single-issue concerns. We’re all voyeurs and we all tend toward oversimplification.

If you’re going to use social media, you must do so while bowing to the truth, even if it is not immediately glittering.

Don’t imply your life is perfection while you are eating hotdogs over the sink or looking out your window with teary eyes. We only share our humanity when we share it all. No matter what you’re going through, we’ve probably experienced it or helped someone else as they did.

Almost everyone agrees that sunlight is best. Yet, most shroud their goings-on with a bent elbow.
We not only judge when we have incomplete information, but also when we have all the information. It’s a no-win situation. But if you opt for secrecy when you claim everything is perfect, I’m going to look at you cross-eyed when you want to know why everyone is so curious.

You can’t have both affirmation and privacy: they are mutually exclusive.

P.S. I wrote this rule while in observance of someone whose marriage disintegrated. It’s a trajectory I’ve often seen: joy, distrust, implications, none-of-your-business posts, followed by resignation and a push toward the next phase of life. Repeat. But it applies to so many other areas too.

 

High School Picture Vanity? (The Picture Rule)

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Do I have your attention with this horrible picture? Is it completely real or photoshopped? Who knows! Who cares? It’s more or less me back in 2005. I’ve posted it before. It makes me laugh, precisely because it makes me look like the “before” picture for both the South Beach Diet and John’s Guide To D-I-Y plastic surgery.

I enjoy the posts about people complaining (gatekeeping) about people posting their high school pictures. It’s true that it doesn’t “help” current seniors. Let’s be honest, though. High school pictures don’t seem to help anyone. Except comedians. We all love a crazy high school yearbook picture. We can’t help it.

They do, however, remind us that our idea of hairstyle and fashion was never as great as we’d imagined. This is the case of every graduating class in the history of… well, history.

I know it’s not an ironclad rule, but I distrust anyone who is truly upset about anyone seeing their high school pictures. Not only are almost all of them available online, but they are precisely the pictures more likely to survive the next 300 years because they are public and otherwise in the hands of so many other people. They are copied, indexed, and even included in genealogy websites.

What am I saying? You’re screwed if you don’t want people to see your pictures from school.

Years ago, I scanned and archived several years of Springdale High School’s yearbooks. I also uploaded them to all the relevant SHS FB class pages, for everyone to share and enjoy. It look me 100+ hours. It was a huge way for all of us to get acquainted again, whether we liked it or not!

By the way, a huge number of yearbooks are available on classmates. Get a free account and start looking. Other websites carry college yearbooks, too.

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The Picture Rule: If you’re complaining about the existence of your high school pictures, you’re probably at the mercy of either an exaggerated vanity or a profound scarcity of a sense of humor.

P.S. I have almost never been stymied finding EVERYONE’S yearbook picture, not to mention the address you lived at when you were 7. Your life is an open book, no matter how badly you want to stick it under the bed where no one will ever find it. The more you want to hide your pictures, the more likely your brother-in-law is passing it around secretly via text, email, or DM.

P.S. Redux: If you are desperate to find someone – or a picture of them – let me know and I’ll get enough details to sleuth them out in the interest of both lovingkindness and transparency.

Love, X