April 8, 2016 by Stephen Bentley
Start Social Media Manners NOW!
I know I’m older today than I was yesterday so I guess I should be a little wiser than I was yesterday. The world is so different than 40-50 years ago. In turn, the youth of that generation were not understood by the generation before them. It is a constant cycle. I feel it is incumbent upon me to pass some comments on social media manners.
Yet, I think that good manners is a mark of a civilized people even in this era. Unfortunately, bad manners abound everywhere. The manifestation of bad manners is to be seen and read in many places on the internet. That is particularly the case in the comments sections of many posts and articles on the web. They abound with bad examples of social media manners.
The use of foul language seems to be an accepted part of modern society for many people. It certainly seems part of everyday parlance among young people. Any journey on public transport in say, London or New York, is usually recalled because of a group of young people effing and blinding like fishwives, dockers (stevedores) or manual laborers. Even the music they like (music?) is full of lyrics containing the F-word.
I realize it is because young people like to shock. I remember that. Thankfully, most of them grow out of it. But, there is another group of younger people who think it’s okay to write whatever they wish on the internet. I don’t have a problem with that if it is in a private forum. I do believe in freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. But with rights come responsibilities. It is a balancing act. I don’t have the freedom to use speech in an inflammatory or racist way. Not that i would wish to. So a right such as freedom of speech is not a blank check to say whatever you want.
I am not likening the use of foul language in a public arena to using racist language. Although there is probably a corollary. The connection is ignorance and a lack of education. By education, I don’t necessarily mean in the formal sense. A person can be educated through traveling the world for example.
The causes of boorish public behavior are manifold. There has been a drop in educational standards in both the UK and USA. There is certainly less respect now for both elders and authority in the UK.
Social Media Manners and Comments
All these factors have a bearing on the use of foul language in social media manners and comments.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe there is a place for expletives. They can be funny used in the right place and can be as good as the best of bon mots. I use them for effect but sparingly.
I certainly do not use the word c***. To use that word in the world that I come from – Liverpool – is ‘fighting talk’. “You c***” is often the prelude to a violent disagreement.
My sensitivity to being sworn at has been dulled by my nigh 30 years experience both in law enforcement then as a criminal defense counsel.
Yet, I do object to someone calling me a c*** even now. Especially if the maker of that statement doesn’t even know me. Let me explain –
Some of you may know I am getting closer to the publication of my book Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story. As part of my pre-publication promotion I was interviewed by a magazine. The article recently appeared on Vice.com and in Italian in the Corriere magazine with the headline “Il Serpico Inglese”!
The Vice UK article permits comments by readers using a Facebook plugin. Here is a selection of the comments –
“I was a cunt. better headline in my opinion”
.”you duped another human being into believing he had formed a real friendship with a fictional character which you had created to infiltrate a community and live amongst them with the express intention of ruining their lives, you crazy fuck”.
That wasn’t too bad but worse was to follow. This comment was left on my Author website –
you are a heartless evil cunt and everything you did for that undercover operation has caused nothing but destruction and negativity. i hope guilt and regret haunts you for eternity.
That wasn’t good enough for the author, he also made up a fake email address in order to post the comment – firstname.lastname@example.org
I replied –
I find that a strange comment. It obviously comes from an educated intelligent person who must know me!
Pray tell me why what I did “caused nothing but destruction and negativity.” And please have the courage to come out from behind an anonymous comment and a bogus email specially made up to leave this comment.
I doubt I will hear back from you. I take it you will not be buying my book
Enjoy your bong somewhere in Oxford!
I am aware that exposure of my book to the public and my personal exposure as an author leaves me open to all the weird people that inhabit this planet but I wish they would get a (real) life!
“Manners maketh man” – William of Wykeham, Motto of Winchester College and New College, Oxford.
“Good manners cost nothing” – my grandmother.
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