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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stay Frosty: A Non-Guru's Rules of Surviving Social Media

I see a lot of folks on Twitter claiming that they are social media gurus. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how to maximize social media for the benefit of your financial well-being, social status, or promote your personal brand. I don’t know what to do if you’re branded and you know you’re a man.

Look, God knows I’m guilty as hell of pimping this very blog, but I try to promote a lot of people’s stuff out of respect for their work, and maybe a little to make myself feel better for being such a self-important ninny.

I’ve been doing this internet thing since about 1997 and I’ve learned a few things. I’ll pass these lessons on to you and you can consider them as reasonable assessments or mock them for their obviousness. These are my general rules. Your mileage may vary.

1. Message boards are mine fields. I was a member of a message board for a long while and cultivated a great many pleasant friendships there; people that conducted themselves with tact, diplomacy and honor. Then there were the trolls, those people that feed off of controversy by being rude, obscene, intentionally offensive and contrary for the sake of being contrary. Trolls usually cannot be rehabilitated and assimilated into a healthy message board society. They thrill on irritating the shit out of people, focusing their most concentrated attacks on the hyper sensitive and easily offended. Then you get flame wars that produce no meaningful dialogue, no chance at compromise, just less mature versions of “I know you are, but what am I.” Sometimes, I suppose, one might see these little anonymous battles as amusing as each side makes more ridiculous and nonsensical assertions to prove their points. Eventually I was made a moderator of this board and for all my socially progressive ideals I moderated like a prudish schoolmarm. Epic fail. Eventually the trolls got to me and I unceremoniously walked away and never visited that message board again.

2. NEVER read the comments left by readers of news articles or videos. It will make you think that only a small portion of the world does not experience severe cognitive dissonance in their reasoning ability. This is also the place where drinkers of various ideological Kool-Aids spend a great deal of time being high on vitriol but low on the desire to research their arguments and augment them with actual facts and stuff.

3. Ignore any message, tweet, or post that insists the author knows what God wants, ya know, like they talked it over at Denny’s. Religion can be a wonderful thing. Quoting from various religious texts is no less valid than quoting Freud or Shakespeare, if it makes a point that illustrates your personal philosophy, but when that philosophy turns into a certainty that an unseen force with absolute authority tells you to persecute others for what they do as consenting adults I will ignore you. Also these folks tend to type in all caps, which is only allowed by another man of unshaking faith, Owen Meany.

4. The Golden Rule might get Ron Paul booed at a convention but it is definitely something I take to heart when posting on social media.

5. Don’t respond to brick walls. Brick walls cannot be reasoned with. They will always remain brick walls.

6. Double-check “facts” before you tweet or post them. I let one get by me last Sunday and if I FiretrUCK up and tweet a bad piece of information, I apologize. Example: A musical artist, who has sold millions of albums, retweeted misinformation that I tweeted to her. It was my bad because I didn’t double-check. Not only did I apologize to her but I apologized to everyone who responded to the retweet, one calling me a douche, one wondering what I was smoking, etc. The artist immediately forgave me because she’s a doll, and surprisingly every single person I apologized to not only accepted my apology but apologized for calling me names, which I kind of deserved. The whole apology process took TWO HOURS. I learned my lesson.

7. I used to have a non-political internet presence rule but recent events threatening universal women’s health care and the civil rights of the LGBT community have made me break that rule in a big way. I will however stick by my no name calling policy, but I will point out blatant hypocrisy, as politely as possible.

8. If I don’t have anything nice to say, particularly on trivial matters, I do my very best not to say it.

9. I try to never pester anyone into following me and I don’t take people not responding personally.

10.This is my most important rule.

I owe a lot of positive energy and love after the outpouring of concern and affection from my friends on social media during my recent troubles. I’m gonna pay it back hundred-fold if I can.

Until next time Love Each Other!