Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Take It Offline...PLEASE!

Once upon a time, before the advent of social media, people were no doubt exposed to the dubious pleasure of witnessing couple-friends arguing at parties, dances, double-dates, what have you. Sometimes, alcohol factored in. Many times, it didn't. And you just sort of stand there, feeling awkward and out of place, fervently wishing that some friendly rock would allow you to crawl under it until the shelling stops.

Can't unsee this! Stop! Eye-bleach time!
But now, thanks to the Internet, we can witness couples' angry spats unfurl in all of their horrific, "I can't unsee this" glory on our Facebook pages, in the privacy of our homes. And if you're one of those lucky people that remembers things better when you read them as opposed to hearing them, then Shazam! That's the one big impression of those folks that's going to stick with you for quite some time.

How come so many people forget that when they're sitting at their computer, sniping at their significant other, yelling at their kid, screaming at a supposed friend, or vehemently and rudely disagreeing with someone's politics, that they are inevitably going to have to face these people in person at some point, since it's likely that many peoples' friend lists include people that they see or hang out with on a regular basis? Is it sheer obliviousness, just not caring one way or the other, or is it just the heat of the moment?
You know where this is going. I don't even have to say it.

We all say things we regret. That's a given. We're all human. Every couple argues, every parent-child relationship has its rocky patches. But when you post private matters on social media, holy Lord, the badness is taken to a whole new level of suckitude. The real killer ones are the breakup dramas that play over the Internet, only to have the couple reunite weeks or months later (and no, I don't mean teenagers; this happens with ostensibly mature adults).  Even though they're back together, you can't forget the bridge-burning vitriol they dropped on each other in the not too distant past. You get tempted to congratulate them by using the names they called each other during their online spats, as in "So glad to see you two have reconciled! Congratulations and best of luck, Pathetic Man-Child With Performance Problems, and Gold-Digging, Fifty-Cent Hooker With More Issues Than Readers Digest!"

And things can be just as cringeworthy at the other extreme. How about those people who share online just a tad bit too much about their intimate lives? Great calamity kittens, you can never unread stuff like that!! Congratulations; it's now been added to your memory banks forever; enjoy your time in Hell.

So please. PLEASE. Remember that when you post something on Facebook or wherehaveyou, it's tantamount to jumping onto the roof of your car and bellowing out your words through a nuclear-powered megaphone with boosters set up all over the world. If you already keep this in mind, then fantastic! You are a rock star! You're awesome! The rest of you, watch what you say.

Although the duck insists it was consensual
Don't yell at your kid (and kids, don't yell at your parents) online. Couples, keep those arguments behind closed doors. And as for the two you, and you know who are, we don't want to read any more stories about you, the champagne-filled waterbed,  the inflatable mongoose doll, the bottle of bleach, the Slinky, and the duck. Really.