Why Did Social Media Become So Anti-Social? STOP IT!
— August 30, 2017
I want to start off with a story. I’ve been a musician pretty much all my life. As a matter of fact, at 10 years old, I started taking guitar lessons from a colonel at West Point Military Academy. We lived very close. My dad worked at the hotel there, which was on the base. He’s a vet, but he was working for AT&T in their training division at the time. My first guitar teacher wanted us to learn the E string and the A string and the D string and the G string and the B string and the E string. It’s like, “Learn these strings. Learn all the notes.” Three weeks into lessons, I came in and said, “Hey, check out these chords. If you play them in order, you can do House of the Rising Sun.” I got kicked out of class really quickly. It’s like, “Son, this is not going to work.”
RIP Mel Pokorny
In 1980-1981, after I graduated from high school, I auditioned for this band. It had many different names: Promise, Force Of Habit, and others. The drummer, Don Pokorny, who is a really good friend, was the true force of the band. We’ve stayed friends forever. He had all the rehearsals at his house. All the equipment and PA was stored there. It was probably a half hour drive from where I lived. His parents were deeply involved in this band. As a matter of fact, his mother called herself the manager, but she was more like a den mother from Boy Scouts or something like that. She was such a sweetheart. His dad was involved in it, too. They are such sweet people. His mom is still alive, but unfortunately, Don told me (September 02, 2017) that his dad passed away.
He sent me a text message and said, “Before you see it on Facebook, I wanted to let you know upfront.” That was such a nice gesture because I had a chance to actually see it before it got on Facebook. I’m sure his mom is heartbroken, and I know all the things that have to happen. It’s tough losing a parent. I’ve lost both of mine, but things change when you post any news on Facebook. Things change. The question I have for you is, when did social media become so anti-social?
When Did Social Media Get So Anti-Social?
Today, I want to discuss three things that I’d like you guys to consider not doing anymore, because it has turned very divisive. Yes, the country and really anything online has just become very split on the way that people think. Now, I get that. I posted a simple little thing the other day, after the Charlottesville massacre, which is what I call it, because somebody died. I don’t care what you believe in — gun rights, all that other stuff — whatever. All I did was express that I was sickened. That was it. What happened? I got a handful of people that came on and said, “Yes, I am, too. It’s sad, sad the way the things are working.” Then, out came the trolls, defending and starting fights with my friends to the point where I actually had to pull the post down. I then put up a picture of two people in unicorn heads, riding a unicorn in a pool with a rainbow and sunshine and said, “Now for something completely different.”
I was hurt. You know, the bottom line is I was just expressing my feelings, but you can’t do that anymore. Somebody always has a different feeling, and theirs is more right than yours, okay? I get it, but here’s the thing: It’s meant to be social media. It’s meant to be supportive, but everything is so divisive right now. People just have to get their opinions out. If you believe one thing, they’re going to say, “This is the way it is.” The bottom line is, they don’t know me. They don’t know how I feel. They don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m sure you see this all the time. Now, what has this got to do with business?
Well, I’ve always said that the three things that you cannot post on social media are politics, religion, and sex. I’m not talking about the act. I’m talking about women and men. You know, talking about them in a negative way. What I want to talk about are three things that we have to stop doing on social media.
Number one is to stop trolling people. If somebody puts something up and you don’t agree with it, let them feel. Let them have an opportunity to post their feelings and stop judging them and stop trying to shove your views down their throat because guess what? I don’t think anybody’s ever changed their views. I’m all up for great conversations, but I want people to also be empathetic. I don’t mind arguing with somebody who has a different opinion than mine, but as long as they’re empathetic and not mean and divisive. Then, we can have a conversation. Trolling, on the other hand, is just finding somebody’s post and going in and saying, “You’re wrong. You’ve got the completely wrong thing. You don’t understand what’s happening in the United States right now.” Who cares? If you feel something, feel it. Live it, but don’t beat somebody down because they feel something different.
Do Your Research
The second thing is be careful when posting news. Yes, there’s fake news, and there’s real news. Who the hell knows anymore, right? Here’s the deal. If you’re going to post something, do a little research. Go look into it to see if it is real, and if there is more than one source on it, there is a chance it’s legitimate. There are way left and way right newspapers and blogs and podcasts and all this other stuff that have their conspiracy theories and whatever. The bottom line is, research it. One of the things I love is when people say, “Oh, no. This person has died.” Then, somebody comes on and says, “Yes, like five years ago.” The original poster didn’t even bother to click on the story and read it to see that this is old news, you know? If you’re going to post something, at least read the article and at least maybe see if there’s another article supporting it. If you’re going to post your opinion, which I understand people want to do, spend a little time doing some research rather than just getting angry and blurting things out that will create more divisiveness.
Kill The ‘Question’ Post
The third thing — please, people. Stop the question posts, okay? “What would you rather have? Total insanity or total consciousness?” “What would make you feel better? The beach or the mountains?” You know, it’s like, who cares? That’s not engagement. If you, as a business person, or if you, as a person, want to create engagement, here’s what you do: create and then post great content. Find things that people really care about, and create original thoughts and put them out there now!
We have a hundred-pound black lab. His name is Buddy Guy. He’s sitting behind me right now, huffing and puffing. He just got back from his walk, ate his dinner and all this other stuff. My wife thought he might have had bone cancer. I took him to the vet. She checked him out. He doesn’t have bone cancer. He has a stiff right knee, and his hips are both not doing well. We had him on one drug. She prescribed another. I went on Facebook and said, “Hey, pips. Buddy-guy is doing so much better because of this second drug,” and he is. He’s going up and down the stairs better and stuff like that. It’s positive news. Had over a hundred people comment, like, share, do things. The bottom line is, think of your audience. Post great stuff.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Comment below and share your experiences with how social media has affected your business and how some of the responses to your posts may have changed to the way you post now.