There seems to be a rash of irritableness running through the whole internet lately. I’m seeing it everywhere I participate: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on. It seems every day, there are more cranky postings. Is it the weather? Something in the water? Alien overlords messing with our emotional state? I don’t know.
I see it in groups I am part of, whatever the focus is.
“Why are there so many off-topic posts?”
“I hate all these silly pictures people post here!”
“I’m gettting tired of so many ‘can you identify this [animal, vegetable, mineral]’ posts here.”
And my very favorite:
“If we can’t keep this group to [this one specific topic], I will just have to leave!”
‘K, then, try not to let the virtual door hit you in the virtual fanny on the way out.
Here’s the thing: We are all human. We all have multiple interests and aspects to our lives. We are rarely completely and solely focused on one thing and one thing only our entire lives. And, while I can be cranky and irritated with the best of them (and often am), I look on these groups and boards and other internet interactions as communities. Places where people gather to share stuff. Yes, some of them are more focused than others. I am a member of several writing-related groups, chicken groups, chili groups, etc. The main focus of those is whatever the group was formed for. But- these groups are also made up of people. And people tend to wander off topic, sometimes far off and at many points. It doesn’t bother me all that much. I like being in groups where we can have a little fun, tell a joke, post a picture of an emu because Jane Doe will get all excited when she sees it, or meander off on side discussions at times. Do you sit at work all day long and never talk to anyone about anything other than the job? If so, I’m glad I don’t work with you! And it is pretty easy to ignore that stuff if you don’t want to get involved. Just scroll by. Don’t stop. Don’t read. And, please, don’t bitch and moan. If you really can’t deal with some sidetracking, well, it’t not a prison. You weren’t locked in. There are plenty of groups for whatever your interest is, and I am sure there are some out there that will suit you. I like a little fun with my serious questions and discussions. I like a good emu picture or meme or interesting article, even if it isn’t technically related to Whatever-This-Group-Is-About.
I don’t always come to a group for a serious question about the topic. Sometimes, I just want to take a break from work and see what my friends are up to today. The silliness is good right about then. Other times, I do have a question or can help answer someone else’s. Or add to an on-topic discussion. It’s all good.
So, hey, here’s thought. Let’s all just lighten up for a moment, and let a little fun slip by without getting all high-horsey about it. I promise you, not only will everyone enjoy their time online much more, but you will feel better without letting all that stuff stress you. Deep breaths. Scroll on by. Dial down the cranky. “Don’t worry- Be happy!”
(Oh, and here’s an emu for you, Jane! 🙂 )
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