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About an hour ago, I had a moment that made me think. I was at a grocery store Starbucks, when the barrista was starting to get my order wrong. It was a small thing: I said "no foam" and she missed that alongside "grande vanilla latte". So as she started to put foam on, I said "no foam, please" -- probably a bit snappishly, I'll admit.

I started to pull out my phone to tweet some snark, when I was stopped by a lack of signal. That pause made me think: wait, I'm about to be a dick to a couple thousand followers (or, after you discount spam bots, probably just 12 people). The whole #dontbeadickday  message hit in my head, and i seriously thought about what I was reflexively about to do.

Who did it help? Such a tweet only serves to make me look like a cockbite, annoy those who do or have done barrista work and similar, and otherwise just add to the general negativity of the tweetgeist. Why do that? Why do I now have this reflexive behavior around sharing annoyances that I'll honestly forget an hour from now? What the hell is wrong with me (and by extension, those of us who do this without thinking about it)?

There are papers on the subject, I know. The question is for once not a curiosity on psychology (which often my questions are) but a call to act. So, I'm going to try for the next week to not tweet negativity or snark, both directly and through retweets. It seems like it might be easy, but again, this came from something I was about to do without thinking. And it's high time I analyze this bullshit behavior.

- Ryan

P.S. Positive snark jokes with friends that don't come to the expense of others are still fair game. :)
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There's a movement going for the whole month of August to only say positive things online. I believe that +Monte Cook is the one who decided to start it. I'm going to try and do the same thing. I've got reactive moments similar to the one you described, and I can't but imagine that it would do my life (and others) good if I stopped.
 
Right. Imagine how often we read things negatively? Why? Maybe, just maybe, because we're saturated in negativity.

Solidarity, brother. \m/
 
I'll add to that: \mm/, because it's too much metal for one hand.
 
I like this a lot. Sometimes it's hard to realize just how much negativity we put out and see, being aware of it is good. I may just have to attempt to lead a "don't be a dick" life! ^^
 
For me, it's the level after snark, the exasperation of "someone is WRONG on the Internet," that I have to contain.  I don't mind snapping at someone who is being a butthead, but it's all the times I see something I vehemently disagree with from someone who  is basically well-intentioned, and I feel the need to argue when there is really nothing to be gained. 

I created a personal journal some time ago that is basically where I go post when I feel like that, and no one ever has to read it so I don't hurt anyone's feelings.  Unfortunately, I still slip; I started doing just that, arguing with someone who is, I guess right for the wrong reasons this weekend.  I realized it too late but at least I didn't follow through.
 
I agree Ryan, and I like this a lot. It's one thing to take umbrage, but just because we can isn't a good enough reason. Foam or no foam is such a minor thing, but it's easy to lose perspective. Nice of you to write about it; lots wouldn't and would just pass it on by and not examine it, and we all now how unexamined lives turn out. I agree with you though, snark jokes with no intended victims will make me howl every time. Have a great and splendid life. Mary
 
The level of negativity on FB dwarfs the level I've encountered on G+...perhaps not unsurprisingly I find myself much happier and less tense now that I've moved 90% of my interaction over here.  We feel the emotions we surround ourselves with...so why surround ourselves with bull shit and sniping.

That said...the general lower level of nasty over here, makes it standout somewhat more when it happens.  Like the storm of "OMG NBC sux for how they're broadcasting the Olympics!!!" posts...really?  

Some people just can't go through a day without finding something to bitch about.  It does get old.
 
+Bryce Byerley: Please do! It's a word I used to frequently use on my blog, until it grew into a giant in my tag cloud. :)
 
Rock on +Ryan Macklin ! As a barrista I thank you...the best barristas want to make your drink perfect, that's the job after all. They also have a enough of a sense of humor to bounce back from a little snark. Speaking for all though, we thank you twice for your forbearance.
 
+Bryan Mullins: \m/ One thing I forgot to mention, because it's so far in the past, is that in college I was also a barrista. And I remember the hard days where I would get shat on for an honest mistake.
 
=)  It can be a tough job because when its done right, it looks like you're not really doing much. Patrons are often in "another world" when they come seeking their special mojo beverage and can forget that "its just coffee" and that we are all, or once were, human beings.

Also, here in KY the grocery store barristas are actually employed by the grocery store corporation...so it can add an even more complex layer of customer service orientation to the experience. I have known many barristas of both types (corporate "partners" and license "partners" and by and large, they are just folks trying to rock your transaction right.
 
Yeah. The "if we do it right, you don't notice" pretty much sums up being an editor and software developer (my current & former profession).
 
My parents used to always tell me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." That has always stuck with me. 
 
I saw this through Wil's RT and it hits home. I recently complained about a biker driving like a total dick and got a couple of close Twitter friends really pissed at me (even though I used to be a biker and what this guy was doing was illegal). I've found that every time I tweet about something pissing me off, someone gets pissed off back at me and I get more angry instead of just getting over the original incident. It got to the point where I wiped my Twitter and started fresh. I don't say anything insulting or controversial. I barely complain and I don't snark. It certainly keeps more friends than it loses.
 
Twitter? What about G+?
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I don't know who you are, but right on man. You've made a good point that has made me think
 
"tweetgeist" is a new word for me. I like it.
I think having a "don't be a dick day" is a great start.  It can become a good habit. :-)
 
I found myself tempted to tweet snarkily about something this evening. Then I remembered this post, and didn't tweet it.
 
Steve: I'm sorry you've missed the point of this post. But perhaps you could respect it be not being negative?
 
I haven't used G+ enough to complain on it yet. ;)
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