I was a senior in college when I experienced my first “internet beef”. It was MySpace and I most definitely did not start it; it was brought to me. My offense was that I had started a sexual relationship with a man who was already attached to another women. A woman who happened to be pregnant. In my defense I had no idea she existed when I got involved with this man. It all came out a year and a half into it through, yup that’s right, MySpace!!!
It began with strange friend requests from friends of hers as a means to gain access to my private page. I eventually received messages, from this woman’s friends of course, and then the rest is history. Though we did discuss the matter cordially between us she felt the need to blast me all over MySpace and a “beef” ensued. A beef that didn’t truly end until over a year later when I relocated to another state and got engaged.
Since then I haven’t been involved with anything such. That is until someone feebly attempted to call me out in a blog last week. Hence the inspiration for this topic.
Before I go any further into detail I feel the need to explain a couple of things about my nature. First I am extremely confrontational. Not confrontaional in a bullying aggressive way but rather that I am a firm believer in directly addressing issues. Second, I do not tolerate disrespect. Call it the Leo “chip on the shoulder” complex. I am getting better as I mature and am a lot more willing to turn the other cheek but some things don’t get a pass. One of which is people calling me out.
So here I am reading this person’s blog and in the middle of the post she attempts to call me out. Granted, I had no real reason to be on there. The topics are generic and of no interest to me. In all honesty the general consensus is that the blog site itself comes across as extremely pretentious and self-serving (something I will expound on later). In an effort to keep it real I will say that my perusing was motivated by sheer nosyness, nothing more and nothing less. In addition to the disrespect I felt at being called out I was appalled at the coyish way it was done and amused that the person attempting to call me out tried to hide it by tying it to something spiritual. The kicker is that she topped it off by misquoting me and making assumptions about me . Of course, me being myself, I contacted her directly. Of course I got no response. I could further exacerbate the situation by identifying who this person is, but outing people is not my purpose.
Social networking sites give people a new sense of boldness that they wouldn’t have in real life. Most people are not confrontational and would rather avoid a conflict at all costs. Yet the security of engaging via the net creates a lot of internet bullies. People that will only engage you to a point, and then run tail and hide when they can’t handle the heat. On top of that, social networking sites are ideal for people who are seeking attention, have something to prove, or have a need to inflate their self-importance. This brings me back to what I promised to expound on. It’s easy to recreate a bigger, badder you through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or blogs. Eventually your true nature is going to be exposed. When a person puts themselves out there by creating these sites they are…well…putting themselves out there. Every post, every tweet, every status update brings readers closer to the person behind the avatar. You will be judged the same way you would in “real life” amongst a circle of your peers. A person doesn’t need the internet to show the world how awesome, intellectual, and cool they are. Simply being those things without broadcasting is enough. And if you aren’t any of those things that’s ok too. Pretending to be something you are not is what’s not ok. Creating websites as a way to elevate oneself is no different from the insecure person that brags about themselves at every cocktail party. It’s all serves the same self promoting purpose and people see through it. Those that tend to look past the superficial that is. Not everyone is fooled. The perceptive person can sum up a person’s entire character based on a few tweets and blog posts.
In all fairness I’m not separating myself nor am I putting myself above anyone. I have this blog site. Facebook, and Twitter. I will readily admit that I can be judged on the same grounds that I just criticized others. However there are a few major differences. I can bring in on the keyboard just as quickly as I can bring it in the streets. My blog site was created as an outlet for me first and second as a possible source of insight for others. And, most importantly, the way I am on the internet is exactly the way I am in “real life”.
I wonder, I’m sure I’m not the only person to observe these kinds of things happening on social networking sites. I’m curious to hear what others have to share regarding this topic.