I recently finished reading Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown and I feel like I need to read it all over again just to be able to fully absorb all the wisdom, so I am. Because Ms. Brown talks so much about shame in the book, and the effects of shame on individuals, I can't help thinking about the social media mob and its uncontrolled tendency to fly off the handle at every transgression.
When I started blogging back in 2009, I never thought anyone would want to read what I had to write. It felt like a monumental change for me to post the link to my blog on my Facebook profile. I never even shared any of my posts there for almost two years after I started blogging.
The idea of complaining and getting customer service on social media wasn't something I thought *I* would do pretty much ever. But then I hit brick walls in a couple of situations by going through the usual channels - phone calls and email - that I couldn't get through. Imagine my surprise when a couple of comments on twitter and a link to my blog url in my email signature created a sense of urgency to resolve those issues positively. (And they were resolved - both situations, very positively.) Not in a "do what I want, or else" way, but more in a "please do the right thing, big corporate entity" way.
I honestly don't remember the comments I posted to Twitter, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't adopt a shaming approach or even expect a response from the actual companies involved. These days I see people post complaints with the clear intent that they want the issue resolved the way they want and they want it to happen now. (Actually, that's the email and phone approach these days as well.) I've been somewhat surprised at the tactics that high profile individuals will use with businesses - big and small - that they feel wronged by.
Having worked in various roles that involve customer service off and on for my entire working life, this attitude rubs me the wrong way pretty hard. It positively chafes.
What is even more disturbing than shaming and entitlement toward companies is the trend of shaming individuals publicly - sometimes in their employment roll, other times for just being objectionable humans. And every time I see a story about public shaming, I can't help but wonder how the person who started it would feel if the tables were turned on them.
Right...the good ol' Golden Rule.
The immediacy of the Internet and the ability to communicate our thoughts and feelings anywhere, any time opens the door to infinite opportunities for meaningful connection. However, it has magnified the ugliness of humans to a level that is hard (for me) to see. The pitchforks and knives wielded by the Internet mob slay people who make mistakes or have the audacity to have a differing point of view.
When we forget how to challenge viewpoints and instead attack individuals, it leaves me wondering if basic human decency is slowly being replaced by desensitized interactions that tear down instead of lifting up.
The thought of that happening is incredibly sad.