Time to Re-Assess

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been battling the black dog a bit the past few days. It’s purely chemical, and will pass in time, but it’s at times like this that the things that bother me, frustrate me or make me angry, bubble to the surface, so it pays to lay those things out in front of me a bit and examine them, to see if I can improve on them at all.

One of the things that has been high on the irritation factor lately has been the behaviour exhibited by several people on Twitter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter, have made some amazing friends and had some incredible experiences. I have been taking a bit of a break for a few days, because I was feeling low and didn’t want to irritate anyone with my blah mood, but I am looking forward to jumping back in when I’m feeling a bit more robust. I’ve missed quite a few people while I’ve been on this hiatus.

However, I have realised it’s time for a rethink on how I have been using Twitter. Up until now, I’ve been casting my Twitter net far, wide and deep. Which has brought me some amazing people to talk to and meet in real life too. However, the downside of casting that net out so broadly and deeply is you also pick up a lot of fish that are not at all pleasant. What’s worse, is sometimes it’s really, really hard to disentangle those nasty fish from the net and chuck ’em back. Which means they spoil the experience and take up valuable time from the tasty fish.

Unfortunately, the internet, and therefore Twitter, can be a great enabler of bad behaviour. Where face-to-face you have to deal with the consequences of your behaviour pretty quickly, online you can throw out any old statement, behaviour or attitude and you don’t get to see the consequences. Needless to say, those people in the world who are arseholes LOVE this, and rely on it to be able to perpetuate their arsehole behaviour. This is not unique to Twitter understand, but as it’s the broadest interface I have been using for connecting with new people, it’s where I’ve seen it displayed the most of recent times.

Some of the behaviour types that have been bothering me the most include:

· The Passive Aggressive – people who are too cowardly to say anything up front, broadcast out snarky messages to everyone when it’s very clear who the intended recipient is.

· The “But I’m KIDDING!” – Behaving in badly and then claiming they’re “Just being facetious.” when they’re called on it. No you’re not, you’re being a fuck. Own it.

· The Judgemental – The level of intolerance has really astonished me. And it’s not the usual offenders of the highly conservative either. I can’t believe how vicious some people can be to those who are different to them – as if they’d accept anyone behaving in that manner towards them, but they’re quite happy to give it out.

· The Bitch – not just women. It’s the snarky comments and put downs.

· The Bully – the old “Hey everyone, look at so-and-so said! Let’s all point and laugh!” style. Fight your own battles.

· The Superiority Complex. There are a lot of people out there that feel that they’re better than others. They’re not.

· The Narcissist. Ever see that scene in Beaches when Bette Midler’s character says “But enough about me, let’s talk about you. How do you feel about me?” Oh how those people love online communities. Because they can always get validation from someone to say “But you’re awesome!” and feed their ego. So they spend their whole time saying things like “I suck.” So every conversation turns to them.

· The Drama Queen/King – instead of just opting out of the conversation, unfollowing or skimming, they chime in with a big “OMG!! Everyone is FIGHTING!! Oh I can’t handle it!” whenever anyone has a good debate. Closely related to the Narcissist, they have to make every discussion directly about them.

· The Wannabe – these people believe they’re intended for Internet Fame. They friend everybody, but only talk to those they think are going to make them appear more interesting and bring them more followers. If they ask a question and people respond, they only reply to those who they think are “awesome enough”.

· The False Networker – again, these friend everybody, but only so their follow count looks big and if someone is of use to them, then they’ll interact. Otherwise they just ignore most people.

· The Pick Up Artist – they’re looking for a root. They only want to interact with you if they fancy you or one of your friends.

· The Barnacle – these people just cannot let go. If someone dares to disagree with them, or there is some kind of dispute, they might unfollow, but they spend the rest of their time dropping hints about “certain people” and “remember that incident”. Other people in genuine concern then mention it to those “certain people”, which is exactly what the Barnacle wants. You just can’t shake a fucking Barnacle.

I’m sure there are more. These are the ones I find give me the shits more than any others.

So in light of that, I’m having a re-think of how I use Twitter. I have two accounts. One of which I am going to lock down now, after clearing out all of the extraneous accounts I follow that either fill my feed with irrelevant crap, narcissism or drama. This will be my private account and only people I trust will be welcome.

My other account will be opened up and I’ll follow all the local event accounts, work related stuff and people I don’t know yet. This account won’t get as much attention as the private one, but it will be where I get to know the character of people before I bring them close. That way I can hopefully filter out all of those personality types above.

It sucks that one has to put so much energy into directing something as simple as Twitter, but unfortunately there are a lot of unhealthy people out there who clearly don’t have enough of a life to live that they have to create drama, bad vibes and falseness to the rest of us who just are who we are and genuinely want to interact.

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October 2, 2009. anger, bad behaviour, bad personalities, online culture, shits, social networking, Twitter.

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