fish bowlI’m an opinionated person. If you haven’t picked up on this, then clearly you haven’t read my blog before. And if you haven’t, what’s wrong with you? I kid. Sort of. One of the opinions I’ve held for a long time but that is even more apt in the social media fishbowl we now live in is a two-parter:

1) Don’t read the comments

2) Don’t say anything you’ll regret/have to defend against people you’ve never met/don’t give a crap about/who have the IQ of a dead kakapo.

I feel like these rules become more and more important the more I realise how many people I know on social media (and I’m actually talking about people I know in person and am connected to on social media, i.e. on Facebook) expose themselves as opinionated hypocrites, functionally illiterate, or just straight up WTF?! From the well meaning but totally crazed great uncle to the “holier than thou” school acquaintance to the “I know everything” sister’s ex-boyfriend, to the “I’m hilarious because I’m an asshole” colleague. You know what I’m talking about.

And I constantly have to hold myself back when I see people posting

  • the ‘counter blog post’ to a trending post, because it’s so cool to be anti
  • aetheist postings that are more fundamentalist than any religious items
  • racist/bigotted/pro-gun/anti-liberal postings directly after a “I heart Jesus” posting
  • find a country with the letter A. I bet you can’t. In fact 99% of people can’t. It’s virtually impossible! Except for the roughly 17 countries that do
  • animal rights activist posts from people I know eat meat and wear leather (it’s cute and fluffy, so I care. I can’t believe people eat cats! How inhumane! Fuck those battery hens. They taste good. “it’s okay to eat fish, because they don’t have any feelings.”)
  • if you don’t share this picture of this baby, we’ll all die of Ebola
  • half-assed opinions on current events that add nothing new/intelligent/original/informed
  • posts that complain about people being too PC
  • posts that complain about people not being PC enough (and then posting something horribly inoffensive to another culture – South Africans do this all the time – we’re so concerned about our own issues but damn, “Red Indian” headdresses look cool at AfrikaBurn)
  • references to Instagram
  • pictures of maimed babies/animals/humans
  • whatever the latest “awareness” campaign is without any reference to actually donating to the cause
  • “join my group of my cousin’s art made out of macaroni and garden refuse” posts
  • arguments about how this band is infintely superior to anything you’ve ever heard of or thought
  • engagement/pregnancy/baby photoshoots
  • the hoax post (that is clearly a hoax) that other people then, with great glee, proceed to slam for being a hoax
  • Bitstrips
  • posts just begging for likes and comments of the “ooh you’re so talented/cool/high brow” kind
  • photos with cutesy animations/stickers that include hashtags saying things like #BFFs

Now here’s the thing. I’m sure I’ve posted something hyprocritical or that you might find inappropriate (especially if you’re one of those anti-liberal, religious gun toters I mentioned). I may have offended someone. I may have shat on something you love (microbrew, plaid shirts, gluten-free bakeries, and beards, perhaps?). I may have annoyed you with posting pictures of my dog or this cat in a shark costume on a Roomba chasing a duck and a pitbull in a hammerhead costume (which I don’t apologise for because, fuck, it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen). However, I also try not to intentionally say anything that may hurt someone else for the sake of a laugh or a dig. I also try, when I do post my opinions, to back them up with research and well-rounded arguments. Mostly, however, I simply post things that amuse me. Or that enable me to procrastinate with marking.

More and more I hold myself back from commenting on something because I just know it’s pointless to even go near that can of worms, let alone dare opening it. More and more I’m also rather frightened and hopeless about the direction the world is going in. More and more I want to go and live in a cave.

So when in doubt, rather don’t say anything at all. Definitely don’t read the other comments. And always post the video of the cat on the Roomba. We’ll all thank you for it.

* I chose this date because it’s when Facebook started. The term social media, though, has been around since the 90s, with various people claiming credit for coining it. See? Whackos and hyprocrites.