A neighbour posted this on my nextdoor community and it sparked a storm of reactions. Here’s the gist of it.
It began …
I joined this group for local information as I was interested and wanted to be part of our community, not the boring moaners and negative nellies that simply have nothing nice to say about their fellow neighbours or the dog barked wrongly at my dog posts !! Come on people times are already challenging so remember We thrive by lifting others 😊Posted in General To AnyoneNEXTDOOR
Within 48 hours the post had hundreds of comments and reactions, most of which were 🧡. But, it wasn’t long before ☹️ 🖕 and 👿 were popping up everywhere like shrapnel on a battlefield. Being curious I checked the comments. There was lots of chatter going on … threads within threads, within threads. Clearly, the issue of Moaners is a matter of some passion and interest here. I read on trying to take the pulse of my neighbourhood.
Early on someone pointed out the irony of a poster moaning about moaners .
“I love the way we are now moaning about the people that moan 😂🤦🏼♀️”and lot’s of people had something to say about that. The first reactions were humorous but then a cold edge crept in.
“Do you have a mirror in your home … I believe you need to take a long hard look! said one neighbour.
In an effort to lighten the mood someone else asked ” Can we moan about people moaning about moaners? This got some comments and 😅😂🤣. I expect someone will eventually come up with a witty answer to the question.
Meanwhile, in other threads, the conversation was starting to degenerate. Some people it seems just have to argue. I confess it has happened to me; those times when I should’ve kept my fingers off the keyboard and carried on lurking. You know those moments when someone says something so ignorant or offensive you just have to say something. You scroll on but then someone else repeats the offensive opinion and before you know it you’re fingers are flying over the keyboard and scathing words spill out onto the screen. I’m sure you’ve been there too and understand exactly what I mean.
Anyway, my neighbourhood became volatile very quickly. To keep the temperature down some neighbours tried laughter and gentle words of reason. But, some fanned the flames. By this point, the threads were tangled. Keeping track of who said what and to who became extremely tedious and after a while impossible especially for those who were bursting to say something.
Irritable people began to comment – willy nilly. When they could not find the original annoying comment they left scathing remarks wherever. This of course led to random people protesting being attacked, for no reason. Many people including me were upset and who could blame us? It felt like being mugged online! It’s not what we came for. Well … not what I came for!
In an effort to calm things down, someone posted a lovely poem that received many many ❤️❤️ and 😀 . Very many neighbours shared and liked it. It’s a bit long but I like the imagery and the message enough to share it here. Perhaps you’ve come across it?
❤️. “They said the world was closed today So I went to have a look, I found it with the shutters down And the phone was off the hook. So I stood there for a little while But no one was around, Then silence came and startled me With the most alarming sound. I asked him where the others were, And why the streets were bare, He whispered ‘Life had run away While death was playing there’ ‘Oh no’ I said ‘It can’t be true For life is not afraid’ ‘But no one ever goes’ he said ‘Where death has ever played.’ I understood and walked away As Hope was standing there With Courage in her afterglow And the sunlight in her hair. She said ‘Go home to those you love This is no place to be, For if we walk these streets today Then no one shall be free’. She threw her light to lead the way And showed me where to go, The very road that life had gone Where the future flowers grow. Then death showed me another way But I didn’t want to look, So I stumbled home in time for tea And I read another book.
This poem moved many people to share a little about their difficult experiences through the lockdown. Others responded with kind words of encouragement and some offered neighbourly support for anyone who might need shopping or a chat or any other acts of kindness. All sweet and nice which is, I believe mostly a good thing under present circumstances. Actually, it’s a good thing at any time – you know a little kindness can go along way. It softens the world a bit. Don’t you think?
But, going back to the original post … the conversation had been trotting along with light-hearted banter until someone responded with sarcasm . Instantly, the threads began to degenerate in familiar ways. In the real world, sarcasm is at the least irritating. It’s guaranteed to rile a person up, at least a little. But online! For some reason, even a hint of sarcasm can illcit rage.
In the moaners and negative nellies post the first sarcastic comment was relatively tame but anyone clearly ‘heard’ the superior tone of this individual who by the way sounded a lot like a character from Bridgerton as he quite casually prepped the neighbourhood for a fight. I’m assuming it was a – he and not a she. Anyway, the person said …
“I’d always presumed this site was created specifically for busybodies who have nowt better to do than to whine about the minutiae of others who are forced to tolerate them”.
I can’t categorically state that it was the tone of his comment. It could have been the use of the word ‘nowt’ but this comment riled many people. He was instantly jumped by people who’d agreed with the original post! So then there was a back and forth about the many obvious reasons to moan about our neighbourhood … everything from noise to dog shit to you name it.
In the middle of all this someone piped up
“I think it is fair to say if you don’t want to listen to moaners then ‘log off”. That actually came across more like a familiar four-letter word which of course got a testy response “thank you for letting me know I can log off. I’m not sure I knew that already!
I could see where the conversation was going. Everyone could!
The descent into acrimony was bruising and swift. Soon we were off-topic, into name-calling, taking sides and muting people who were getting on our nerves. Of course, the offenders had to be publicly muted with a full judgmental explanation of why they deserved to be muted.
The neighbourhood was in an uproar. But, no need to go into all the sordid details here of how people vented without tempering their words – posted without consideration of who might be at the receiving end! As a wordsmith, I’ve often been impressed by how some people can so skillfully tear down another person’s opinion and hurt their feelings with just a few choice words that always boil down to one thing. I’m right, your wrong and by the way – you must be pretty worthless if that’s how you think!
Obviously, it was time for me to move on but I had not got what I came for. After so much time spent reading the comments it seemed only fair I should have my say. So, before heading off to some other platform where I could pass away more lockdown time I said this to my neighbours.
“Moaning is not always a bad thing.
For some, it helps take the pressure off.
In a past life, we would moan at our nearest and dearest about incidents in our everyday life.
We could meet friends for a meal and drink and have a moan.
We could even visit our GP and moan about our aches and pains (for 10 minutes, at least).
It’s natural to unburden ourselves of irritations, worries and anxieties.
But, in these peculiar times and with these strange states of affairs; we just can’t be bitching about everything all the time in our bubbles – that’s too much pressure for everyone in the bubble!” But at least we have social media where we can let off a little steam.
I uploaded a picture of two lovely goats – locking horns.
I got a ❤️ and 1 comment ‘stay safe from one sweet girl to another’. And, that made me smile so off I went to my group on Allotment Hints. It’s usually quite tame there.
Social media is in its infancy and how we use it is a work in progress. Just as it took humanity a while to discover the power of print technology we are still learning how to make the best use of social media. At the present it seems to be a mixed blessing and at times a two-edged sword. In social isolation it’s a lifeline for some. For others its a real threat to their mental health.
Definitely, no one needs the nasty remarks or goats locking horns in our neighbourhood! But give it time we are still learning how to make good use of these new and powerful ways to communicate.
Interesting times these … and tgf scrolling
The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma shows us how we are being unconsciously transformed and manipulated to behave in ways we would never normally dream of behaving. We are becoming more impulsive and we’re losing basic social skills that we need to handle social situations and live peacefully in world social.
At present, the anonymity, the algorithms and the design of social media platforms direct us to see a world where things are either black or white with little or no room for differences of opinion. Our need for 👍👏 and 😀 is becoming so strong we are moving towards a place where we feel that anyone who does not see things our ways is probably not our friend.
I’m no techie and I definitely don’t speak computer languages so I won’t try to explain how social media imperceptibly programs us. But as a grandmother and a woman in love with Freedom, I feel concerned about a general lack of understanding of these platforms and how little control most of us seem to have when it comes to using social media safely, and purposefully.
The Social Media Dilemma documentary explains far better than I ever could and I highly recommend you read it.
As an elder, I’ve been around long enough to see how much humanity and the human condition have changed, in less than 100 years.
Change is fine. It’s also inevitable. Everything must change if it is to have vitality and life and so, I generally welcome it.
Since watching the documentary I now have a better understanding of the ways in which I’m being manipulated and I’ve been trialling various ways to use social media with out falling prey to the algorithms.
More on that another day. What do you think? Do you use social media? How do you use it and how useful do you find it?by