Say What?

Originally I was going to call this “Fly in the Buttermilk” but I'm not really sure what buttermilk is, so I let that one go.

I know flies aren't supposed to be in it (whatever it is) and that got me thinking…

This is about goofiness. Saying things on-line that add no value or don't extend the conversation. Things that just don't belong.

Look, I'm only one person: my view of SoMe works for me but that doesn't mean its right for you. But it may help explain why people sometimes don't respond to you or worse, decide to unfriend you or even block you.

Everyone uses SoMe for different purposes. For me its all about professional contacts, sharing information, seeing what's new in the fields I work in and trying to understand how social policy might affect my work. I admit it: I'm a wonk – I love this stuff.

And its true that periodically professional contacts morph into friendships and I'm okay with that. I don't look for it but if it happens organically why not?

But every now and then people (including people I no longer follow/friend) say things that make me scratch my head. Here are some things that make me wonder:

  • Off topic remarks – you post things unrelated to the convo
  • Off color remarks – there is no sexist/racist/ageist comment I will tolerate
  • Personal comments – I don't care how hot I am: don't say it
  • Intimate inquiries – unless I'm married to you that's none of your business
  • One-offs – comments, or single words, that make no sense: have you been drinking?
  • Attacks on me or anyone else – I won't enable on-line bullies. Period

Look I don't own SoMe anymore than you do so I don't set the rules: you can say just about whatever you want although I'm pretty sure you can't threaten violence – don't do that!

And it's not about being vanilla and agreeable: the people I hang with are smart and opinionated. They disagree. A lot.

That's cool. We call that Adding Value

So its fine with me if you have a different point of view. Hanging out with people who don't see the world the way I do makes me smarter and I enjoy learning. My network has taught me a lot.

I just want to point out that in my provincial life there are limits – I have them in the physical world just as I do in the virtual world.

The things I've pointed out above are about as useful to me as buttermilk.

That reminds me: I don't really know what buttermilk is, but I know I don't like it.



6 thoughts on “Say What?

  1. Great article, Chris.

    So much on SoMe is just noise. Usually crappy noise, at that. It is a powerful tool that can be leveraged for great discussion, and respectful disagreement. But when people can’t follow the rules and start acting like over-sized 5th graders, we have to just walk away.


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