People watching can be lots of fun.
It can also be very eye-opening, especially when watching people on social media, where they can hide behind their keyboard with relative anonymity.
By and large, people tend to conform to behavioral norms when they know their actions can be seen. Sure, there’s always exceptions, especially if alcohol is involved, but we’re talking in general. But, there is ample evidence to show that once they hit social media…the “rules” of good conduct are completely optional.
I’m not going to go into the unprecedented nastiness of the current political atmosphere – that would be too easy – and probably incendiary. No – I have a much lighter example to illustrate my point…although there is no guarantee that there will be no “spirited debate” here.
The story began on January 9, 2013.
I posted, what I thought was, a humorous meme on my facebook page. I had no intention of offending anyone, I just thought it was funny. But what I discovered almost immediately was that while many saw the humor in the meme (as well as in my intent) there was a fairly significant number of people who took offense to it.
Here is the meme…
As I said, I posted it on Jan. 9, 2013. And as you can see (or maybe not) it;’s relatively inane.
However, it received a steady flow of likes and comments for about a month – until around Feb. 5, 2013 when the interest seemed to fizzle out.
I was actually surprised it lasted that long. I’ve posted things which I thought were much funnier that barely got a reaction.
Little did I know that the fun had not even begun!
Let’s fast forward to Jan. 20, 2016 – for those of you keeping score at home, that’s 3 years later. I had all but forgotten about the meme. Generally I post anywhere from 3 to 10 memes, pictures, etc. on my page every day…so after 3 years, even a conservative estimate would have the Led Zeppelin/Nicki Minaj debate about 6,000 posts in the past. So when I got a notification about a reaction to the meme I was, needless to say, a bit surprised.
Imagine my surprise when my facebook page blew up shortly thereafter!! The likes, dislikes, comments, arguments, and counter-responses started rolling in at a rate that defied explanation – and it didn’t slow down.
As I watched Super Bowl 50 (Feb. 7, 2016) I had my laptop on the stand next to my recliner and the facebook notification counter looked like the odometer of my car…the comments were coming in almost one every minute.
This surge lasted quite a while before eventually petering out.
But this meme is quite literally the meme that will not be silenced!
Here we are in January, 2017 – a full 4 years after the original posting – and a fresh round of chatter has commenced!
I have to admit, I find it a bit mind-boggling.
As of this writing (Jan. 31, 2017) the meme has been shared 111,897 times. On my page alone it has received over 13,000 likes, dislikes, etc., and there are more than 1,800 comments. I can’t imagine how many people have viewed it without responding, and thousands of people have tagged others in it.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself…here is a link to the meme on my page… http://tinyurl.com/j5gca5k
Now back to the original point of this post…the behavior of people on social media.
As you can easily imagine, the comments on this meme range from complete agreement, to complete disagreement.
There has been laughter and anger.
People have defended Zeppelin and Minaj with equal enthusiasm.
These reactions are all understandable, but there have been some responses I never would have expected.
I’ve had to delete several comments made by people who were a little over-zealous in the expression of their position. People have called those with differing opinions all sorts of nasty names, and I have been called a racist (among other things) for posting it.
This is what really surprised me.
Anger…and so much of it.
Music, like life, is subject to opinion.
To be offended or angry because somebody’s opinion doesn’t jive with yours is nothing but destructive.
If their opinion is going to change, it will not be the result of your outrage…and more importantly, carrying that anger around with you will never do you any good.
Whether you prefer Led Zeppelin or Nicki Minaj – you’re right. And if somebody disagrees with you – they’re right too.
As for those who have the effrontery to take the opposing view…it doesn’t make them a bad person. It just makes them somebody with a different perspective…it’s what makes the world go ‘round.
Don’t take it personally – that’s when the trouble starts.
As always – thank you for reading