Trial by social media

In the last 48 hours or so there has been a shit storm on social media.  A workplace conflict involving two journalists and an outfit mishap.  It could certainly have been handled better.  But hey, we’re all perfect aren’t we?  I have spent 20 years in recruitment so I’ve seen and heard my fair share of workplace conflict and by comparisons this wasn’t a huge deal but holy cow social media went into meltdown and the journalist in question was crucified.  I’m in no way condoning the way in which she handled herself but I suspect she is torturing herself enough privately whilst everyone else is tearing her down publicly.  She has been labelled a bully and a spoilt brat and yet the comments on social media were fierce and relentless.  Ironic much?

I think the behaviour of the person who leaked the video is the bigger problem. It was a mindless thing to do and yet it’s possible that as soon as they leaked it they felt a surge of sweet smugness for doing something so cool and funny and controversial. Or maybe they didn’t think anything because they didn’t think. Is this our new reality? That we do things to other people to make them look bad to others and to feel bad within themselves.  Or do we just do shit with no real thought about the impact it might have on others?  What does this say about a society that is already drowning in depression, stress and anxiety?  I think it says that we are truly and madly screwing it up and that is both sad and insane.

I’m all for a great debate (I was, after all the Debating Captain for 1987.)  I love for my view to be challenged and I am genuinely interested in the real, valid and intelligent perspective of others even when I am at complete odds with their point. Some of the best nights out I’ve had with friends have involved dinner, wine and heated and healthy discussion. Especially when I have friends who are way smarter than I am. We’ve argued the refugee crisis, the education system and the travesty that is Trump. I love a conversation that is passionate and I feel alive when I’m stating my case.  My light shines when I’m in passionate talks with someone and especially so when we don’t see things the same way.  At the end of the night we kiss and hug and we realise how fortunate we are to be friends albeit those with different views.  But I struggle with the concept that we all get to openly and tirelessly punish people behind the comfort of our computer screens as though we are all so freaking perfect.  It’s easy to judge from the peanut gallery but it is pointless and exhausting and bloody hell it has to be unhealthy.  What has occurred in the last couple of days about this news video isn’t debate, it’s a beat up.

Recently I had a customer service experience that at best could be described as barely tolerable. You know the kind, it makes you huff and puff, roll your eyes and think inwardly that some people shouldn’t be in the “service industry.”  Since I work in a business that is so service driven that if you don’t do it well then you don’t get paid I’m pretty well wired to know what good service is and when it comes to bad service it annoys me.  The way in which I handled this particular incident was to have a verbal vent to MM and then I wrote an email to the Manager.  The Manager responded and that was that.  I was telling someone about this only recently and this person said to me “you should have posted something on Facebook?” Really, why?  Maybe I would have, if I’d sent an endless stream of ignored emails to the Manager but I didn’t see the reason to carry on like a pork chop online just because I can type, I have an opinion and a retail assistant was possibly, probably having a bad day.  If someone isn’t happy with the way in which one of my staff handles something I would be horrified if they took to social media BEFORE giving me the opportunity to respond and sort it out.  Everyone is such a fucking expert and it sometimes looks as though people post whinging crap online just to make themselves look interesting.  Sorry, but I think it makes you look like a bit of a dick.

There’s not much we can control when we watch the news or check out our latest Facebook feeds.  Refugees, entitled politicians, musicians dying, friends with cancer, marriages ending.  It’s bloody rough.  We all have days that are defined by our circumstances at that given moment in time.  Anxiety, health, family and work pressure can be crushing, it can’t be tea and sunshine everyday and as I write this I’m feeling, for no particular reason, as though I’m in a bit of a funk.  (Actually, it could be because the toddler just spat cauliflower at me and I am thinking about permanently sewing a chux to my body). But quite frankly I don’t know anyone who isn’t feeling something similar.   It’s stupid to think that we have it together all of the time but surely it isn’t unrealistic to think that we could lose the attitude, at least some of the time.  You can feel pissed off about something and still be a nice person.  Wanting a bit more kindness doesn’t mean I’m living life as a unicorn in La La Land it’s just that I can’t think about getting through 2017 if not without more of the good stuff.  By stuff I don’t mean things, but I mean more connections and stronger relationships.  Less angst and more feeling of contentment.  More conversation that is deep and with substance and less antagonism. Less road rage horn honking and more courtesy waving.  Please, for the love of God, more waving. Less shoving and more “excuse me.”  Social media without the social outcasting you know.kindness matters, social media

I think about this stuff when I think about Charlie growing up.  I want to shelter him from all that is wrong with the world and I know I don’t have much power to always keep him safe..  I want him to grow up to be resilient and confident and to be able to deal with whatever life hands him because I know that it will often be hard.  I want him to be a free spirit with a good heart. I want him to be a lot of things but what I really want is for him to be good and kind.


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