Communication woes.

Before I get into this post, I have to point out that it isn’t about anything in my life personally, it is based upon observations I have made lately.

Whenever we post on any of our social media platforms we are saying to our friends lists, and the wider community, this is who I am. A jokey status update on Facebook can be interpreted by another as a threat, or an intention to do harm. A meme that we find hilarious can be misconstrued by another as us taking a potshot at them, in my experience I find at least one person will assume a meme I have posted is aimed at them, when it is actually something that amused me at the time and I wanted to share that humour with my friends list.

So much of what we do and say nowadays is shared on any of the social media platforms, and whilst we think it’s a great idea to share our humour with our friends and family, there will always be at least one person who finds offence in what we post. I’m always baffled when I post a meme that I find amusing that someone will either immediately share a very passive aggressive status, or message me asking if I’m ok. The same can be said when we are having a bad time, or just feel peeved with life; a status update that says you’ll be glad when the day/week/month, or whatever, is over because you are fed up with certain aspects of life, will always have at least one person assuming you’re having a pop at them.

Why??????

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there myself, wondering if a meme or status is aimed at me. Usually I’ll just shrug it off, rarely I’ll do the whole messaging said person to see if I’ve offended them – but that’s the thing, I don’t just ask if they’re ok, I ask if I’ve upset them in any way. I can count on one hand the amount of people who have admitted something I’ve shared or done has upset them, and that’s not me bragging that I’m such an ace person, that’s me pointing out that the person concerned has had the bottle to admit to me they’ve shared a passive aggressive status about me and yes they are upset about something.

Usually though people do that whole bullshit of talking to everyone else about you, even going as far as inventing stuff you’ve done to them, just so they can feel justified in talking utter twaddle about you. I’m a straight shooter, I own my bullshit, my mistakes, my flaws. I still manage to offend people, we are all human beings after all and it’s fairly difficult to breeze through life without stepping on anyone’s toes. I always ask that people come to me if they’re offended by anything I do or say, because sometimes I believe what I’m doing or saying is inoffensive, but someone else is incensed by what I’ve said or done. And that’s ok, because like I said, we are all humans and humans make mistakes. We all see the world through different eyes and what looks and sounds like a joke to one person is highly offensive for another.

If you look at any form of entertainment these days you will find warnings attached for a variety of things, from swearing to nudity, to violence and anything else that might offend someone. Whilst I think that these warnings are fair enough, and probably warranted in a lot of content, sometimes I’m left baffled by why such a warning has been issued. It still baffles me that people get all het up over swearing, it’s just words for goodness sake! But sadly, people find swearing to be so offensive that they complain about it. OK, that’s their prerogative and absolutely their right, but what I’ve found is that a whole swathe of people offended by swearing actually turn a blind eye to things such as poverty, abuse, homophobia, racism, and anything else that actually effects us all. That’s what grinds my gears, the sort of people who complain about swearing but can’t get angry over other offensive things.

But that’s life, we are all different and all view the world from very different perspectives. I just wish people would take this on board when they see something on social media. I just wish they’d ask themselves if the poster meant it as a joke. If in doubt they should just scroll on past, but alas, the offended person will just go right ahead and make a stink up about something that isn’t really a big deal.

Facebook is a prime example of such occurrences. People will report breastfeeding mothers photos, claiming it’s nudity, yet they’ll allow photos of women who are scantily clad – and for the record neither bother me. They’ll remove posts and photos and temporarily ban someone who jokes about throttling their kids – lets face it, as parents we’ve all said similar when exasperated by our offspring! – but Facebook will not remove photos or posts of trolls saying vile things about dead babies. The list of such things is endless and is a prime example of communication woes – misunderstanding what someone has meant by saying they could throttle their child when they’ve worked themselves all day is a fairly dangerous miscommunication. A throwaway comment made by an exasperated parent could land them in trouble with the authorities all because someone reports them without fully understanding that they are not about to hurt their child.

A comment like “shoot me now” used when a person has unwittingly found themselves in an embarrassing situation can have serious repercussions, all because someone has found offence in what the poster has said. To these people I would say, “ask if you truly believe what the person is posting is true”. Of course this won’t happen because the anonymity afforded to these people means that they can wade through life reporting everything and anything they see online. My motto is simple, think about what you’ve seen, does the person in question often make remarks like this? In incidences where they’ve said something about their child, think; are they always posting photos of their child? Does the child look healthy, cared for, loved?

Common sense should always be applied when we see or hear something, sadly it is lacking, especially on social media platforms. Not being able to see how a person is behaving when they say something, not being able to hear the tone in their voice, this has removed some people’s ability to understand what is actually being said and instead they act without proper thought to what the consequences will be.

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