You’ll also know that you end up seeing a hell of a lot of crap.
‘Inspirational’ tweets, ‘motivational’ image macros, nonsense.
Part of the reason I’m pretty active on social media is that it’s stimulating, the cut and thrust of witty commentary, the opportunity to make someone smile by adding a joke or a double entendre.
Sometimes that goes horribly wrong…
So what appears to be a Hallmark comment comes across my feed, something that appears to be the kind of trite homespun wisdom you see a hundred times a day. Something like…
‘Whoever said laughter is the best medicine hasn’t heard of cancer’.
To which I replied…
‘That’s just because you’ve got no sense of tumour’.
Which, come on, is a pretty goddamn funny line.
Unless the person you say it to has had their tweet retweeted out of context and is actually talking about their child, who has cancer. That’ll take you from wryly amused to your heart sinking through your boots in a moment.
Before you can type an apology someone’s retweeted it and their followers are on you like Nicholas Witchell’s tongue on a Royal boot, only the opposite of obsequious.
Fortunately, as bad as things could have gotten we sorted it out immediately with me apologising and the various tweets getting deleted, but it strikes me as a good example of how we need to be careful and how we need to develop a new set of social rules for interacting online.
The internet has the immediacy of conversation and the longevity of the written word and, at the moment, we treat it like whichever one of those is the worst.
That’s got to change.
‘No sense of tumour’ is still a good line though.