One of my favorite Elvis Costello choruses goes like this:
“What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?”
I have always liked that song, but I never really thought I would live in a time where that question would resonate. I always thought, “Well, that was written when peace and love seemed hokey, perhaps, or maybe impossible. It was more than a rhetorical question when Elvis first sang it.”
And yet, as I sit here in the year 2011, I have to ask the same question. What is so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding? It sure seems like all three concepts are running into a PR crisis in the online world.
“You’re nice. That’s so boring.”
I have gotten picked on a bit over my year in the world of social media. Why? Because I’m nice. I’m lovey dovey. People have told me that it’s really boring listening to someone like me because I never ruffle any feathers.
To put it kindly, I think that’s a totally ridiculous sentiment.
Sure, you get a powerful response if you call someone out, bash someone, hurl insults, or say that someone is really stupid. There’s no question that ruffling feathers tends to be great for attention-grabbing and traffic spikes. So what?
If you want to entice people to read your blog posts, what about the concept of writing really good content? Really thought-provoking content? What about writing about something people aren’t writing a lot about? Like, I don’t know … like being nice, maybe? Why does excitement in the online world, or interest, have to be synonymous with cruelty or malicious intent? I’d rather be boring and nice than enjoy a modicum of success at the expense of others.
“If you don’t have haters, you’re doing something wrong.”
This is another phrase I’ve seen a lot in the online world over my year navigating the wild Internet waters, and I also think it’s utter nonsense. Why are we measuring success by how many people hate us? There is no other realm that I can think of in the human world where we measure success that way.
“Congratulations, Daisy. Everyone in your department hates you so we’re going to promote you now!” That just doesn’t happen. So why do we need to pull out haters instead of a yardstick when we talk about measuring online success? What is this need to have people attack us all about?
How do I measure my online success? I look at how many people say they enjoy my posts. I look at the solid relationships I have built. It’s not exactly a revolutionary concept, folks.
“Women can’t be successful because they can’t be narcissistic morons.”
My friend Sean McGinnis ran into a post that made this claim: that women may not find as much success in the world because women just can’t be egotistical or selfish enough.
First of all, let me tell you about some of the women I’ve encountered in my life. If you want to know about knife stabbing, in-it-for-herself, ruthless, downright cruel women, I could spin ya a yarn, sonny jim. That’s not an issue.
Second of all, what?!? Are we really saying that success rests on how much you make people want to throw up when they see you? I mean, that doesn’t sound like success to me. That sounds kind of like, I don’t know … crazy-sauce?
The glorification of “Ick!”
Next to the glorification of failure, I find the glorification of crassness or cruelty to be the most nauseating thing I’ve encountered on the Web. You should not be applauded for breaking your Censor button. You should not gain accolades because every other post has an f-bomb in it. Surely there is more to online success than being someone who invites comparisons to male and female genitalia? I mean, really. Can we aim a little higher?
Then again, maybe I’m just a boring nice person.
You tell me what this is all about.
Margie Clayman represents the third generation at her family’s marketing firm. She is the resident librarian at the Blog Library and is the resident blogger at www.margieclayman.com.