Play nice…unless we don’t know who you are…

Bookmark and Share

In such un-Cog-like fashion, this will be brief. Well, because there’s only so much we all know about The Cog.

I made a comment on Cog’s Gear Grindings a while back regarding the “sheep mentality” in social media, particularly on blogs and Twitter. A little bit of, you can’t possibly love everyone’s blog you comment on, and a little bit of, are we just being nice to each other because life’s tough? Okay, it wasn’t that sour.

ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 14 22.44

And then the whole Matt Whittier thing happened. . . .

And my brain started churning. . . .

Let’s think about what statistically happens in our Social Media world here: someone acts like a jerk, attacks, is downright rude and disrespectful = he gets thrown to the wolves, eviscerated by the witty repartee of the pack.

Let’s now observe Cog. He’s snarky, but lovable (for an old man with warts). And snarks on mostly those none of us know: his boss; co-workers; the twit new hire; and clients.

So allow me to rein all of this in. Do we:

A) Praise Cog’s sometimes scathing commentary because he says what we are all thinking? Our thoughts (and really, our identity as well) are protected here because he’s already said it for us. No work to be done on our part, and there’s no suffering on his end because there are virtually (currently) no repercussions.

OR

B) Join forces and stone him to death were he to have a face, name, identity, place of employment…because socially speaking, that’s the “right thing to do?” We usually shake our finger at the Debbie-Downers and Negative-Nelly’s.

Cog is NO Matt Whittier; I’m making no comparison here (Cog is like a butterfly—according to @rachelakay—compared to Mr. Whittier). But, he is inCOGnito for a reason. He knows his COGmentary would warrant punishment professionally and socially.

When I first dumped these thoughts onto my keyboard, it all sounded a bit convoluted (heck, it made no sense). I’m hoping after 20 some drafts this can get my point across. I really just wanted to open the discussion up originally between me, myself, and I to the blogosphere. This is more of a sociological question of behavior in social media (forgive me, I minored in sociology). So please, please tell me your logical and analytical thoughts on the questions I pose. No rock throwing. Is it A, B, or is there a C, D, or even a Z?

[Editor’s Note: (Cog Writing) I had no hand in the brainstorming or writing of this post.  It was submitted as-is by Kate, one of the PRBreakfastClub.com writers, (Ok, TJ may have done some copy editing).  Since we’re all about hearing different opinions, we’ve decided to allow it to run, even though it is about one of us (ok, me)]

[reus id=”3″]

Share on Tumblr

Bookmark and Share
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Play nice…unless we don’t know who you are… :PRBreakfastClub -- Topsy.com()

  • Alexis

    As a fellow sociology geek (I minored in it as well), I think this is a very interesting question: The potential for double-standards in social media.

    As far as I'm concerned, you hit it right on the head. Cog (and others like @PRdude) says things we can't (which is so gratifying), about people that we don't know (so really, I don't feel as bad laughing at them).

    It's a fine line (and maybe it is a double standard), but I thought Matt Whittier was thrown to the wolves for going beyond snark and making a few personal attacks on TJ (seriously, when so many people are out of a job in this economy, who says “do YOU have a job?” so tasteless) … after he'd already teed people off by spamming them (which, in fairness, he did apologize for). I guess I just see the situations as different animals.

    Or maybe I just like Cog because he likes the Foo Fighters. :)

    Thanks for the blog post. I'm interested to see how others weigh the two situations!
    @Lex_D

  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    Confession time x2: I was also a sociology minor, and I once posed as an anonymous twitterer when I first came onto the Twitter scene. I gave it up, obviously, but I think Alexis is right: as long as your anonymity extends to your victims (and honestly, who doesn't let off steam about “that guy” in the office or “some person” on the street?) no one seems bothered. Baseless snark has become a great spectator sport because of SM, but when the people being torn down are real people, we start to get nervous and feel guilty.

  • Alexis

    As a fellow sociology geek (I minored in it as well), I think this is a very interesting question: The potential for double-standards in social media.

    As far as I'm concerned, you hit it right on the head. Cog (and others like @PRdude) says things we can't (which is so gratifying), about people that we don't know (so really, I don't feel as bad laughing at them).

    It's a fine line (and maybe it is a double standard), but I thought Matt Whittier was thrown to the wolves for going beyond snark and making a few personal attacks on TJ (seriously, when so many people are out of a job in this economy, who says “do YOU have a job?” so tasteless) … after he'd already teed people off by spamming them (which, in fairness, he did apologize for). I guess I just see the situations as different animals.

    Or maybe I just like Cog because he likes the Foo Fighters. :)

    Thanks for the blog post. I'm interested to see how others weigh the two situations!
    @Lex_D

  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    Confession time x2: I was also a sociology minor, and I once posed as an anonymous twitterer when I first came onto the Twitter scene. I gave it up, obviously, but I think Alexis is right: as long as your anonymity extends to your victims (and honestly, who doesn't let off steam about “that guy” in the office or “some person” on the street?) no one seems bothered. Baseless snark has become a great spectator sport because of SM, but when the people being torn down are real people, we start to get nervous and feel guilty.