A Narrower View?

I rather doubt that I am the only  one who sorts the people he knows into two basic categories.   Let’s call them “nice folks”  and  “@ssholes”.    You may use different labels for these two categories,  and I’m sure that some folks have more than just two categories.   I also recognize that people are complex.   Even a major a-hole may sometimes demonstrate real kindness.   And sometimes, I know,  even the nicest of people may act like jerks.   But it most always seems jarring to me when I suddenly find myself having to move someone from one list to the other.

I have to confess, right up front that I have never run a large charitable organization.   Those who know me probably also know that I am not a social media rockstar err expert,  although I do spend a lot of time doing social media and have written a book about Empire Avenue.    Some of my favorite folks that I’ve met on Empire Avenue are doing social media not to promote themselves or their businesses but to support charities that are working to make this world we all share a bit better.   And I like to think that in some small way I have helped some of these friends,  both by doing social media activities to promote their causes and by sharing my opinions on strategies and tactics.   And up until just the other day,  I’ve never had a friend react badly to any constructive criticism, politely offered.

Having posted innumerable times about my belief that it is far better to quietly block people you don’t care to interact with,  I am hardly in any position to criticize anyone for blocking me.  But I do have to say that if your response to someone pointing out something you may be doing wrong is to (as Dan Savage might say) ‘block the mother fucker already”,  you probably really do belong on my a-hole list rather than my nice people list.


34 comments on “A Narrower View?

  1. I do think you put yourself in an interesting position to judge since you do this yourself. I had to go through other people to get you to unblock me and I never knew what I said that caused you to block me. But when faced with being blocked, I usually spend way too much time trying to figure why I was blocked than just pegging the person as an a$$hole.

    • I do see considerable irony in this post, Liz. I honestly don’t remember why I blocked you when I did. But I will say I am glad you made the effort you did to get un-blocked. You’ve become one of my favorite commentators. 🙂

    • I wouldn’t even notice if someone blocked me. You human spend far too much time obsessing over what others think of you.

      My Author’s even more oblivious – I have to toggle Follow/Unfollow on Twitter just to get her to wake up and take the garbage out. It’s appalling, really.

  2. It really depends how you came across when giving them advice. Sometimes on line it is hard to distinguish between a know-it-all egomaniac and someone who is genuinely trying to be helpful. Furthermore, unsolicited advice is sometimes unwelcome anyway: merely because of the potential insecurities of the other person.

    In short, getting mad at someone or taking them off the “nice list” just because they block you, may be unnecessary, or even stoking a conflict between you.

    • Stoking a conflict? If you arrange so that you can’t have contact with someone (that’s what blocking IS, no?) that seems to me the antithesis of stoking conflict. You’re right of course that it is all in the eye of the beholder.

  3. “Most people tend to be Sith and so do I before my morning coffee.” LOL, Candance!

    I focus on the people I can relate to, learn from the people I respect, and don’t dwell on everyone else. Figure I’m probably not on their radar either.

    Works for me.

    • Sarah, when I think about it I do believe that I devote most of my time and effort to people I like, respect and relate to. OTOH, I have a huge ego and always assume I’m on Everyone’s radar. lol. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      • And you spend time and effort on my Author – why? Does it amuse you? It amuses me to watch her squirm with guilt when you drop hints that perhaps she oughtn’t drop by to steal a slice of pie and then forget to bring the dishes back.

        Pssst…the flaw in your logic is assuming everyone’s equipped with radar. Some are still waiting for him to come back on late night M.A.S.H. reruns, you know.

  4. As you said, people are more complex than anyone could imagine. As such, I do classify them accordingly. I simply don’t have time to spend with A category. It’s t ioo negative and time consuming. I just ignore them and go on with my business.

  5. I have groups, but not those two! This may be mean, but I view all my contacts from social media as just that, contacts. If they make to the friend category so be it. If not, that’s cool too! Each has something to share, otherwise I wouldn’t have connected with them.

    Are there a$$holes out there? Of course! And thank god there are because we cherish the good people that much more.

    • I don’t see anything mean about your view that contacts are contacts. Certainly that seems to me a wiser an more informed view than taking literally the verbiage that all of your FB contacts are “friends”. I do find myself wondering a bit if perhaps I am much too quick to add new contacts….and if perhaps there is a better way than the block button to edit them later.

  6. I have 2 groups, friends and really good friends.
    My friends are folks I may interact with somewhere online and then my really good friends are the folks who I interact with but that bond is a little tighter and the interaction is more frequent.
    I have probably blocked 1 person in 4 years of being on twitter and that was for spamming the same DM every 2 minutes.

  7. I have more categories than two, but then I try to get alone with too many people. I do block people who say things that off color and offend others. I find that we need to lose our manners on-line and I don’t understand where that comes from. Good manners should always be included especially in social media. I will unfriend and block people who use bad language on twitter immediately.

    • Michelle, I very much agree with you that good manners are needed as much on social networking as anywhere else that humans interact. I have often said that the first and most important social networking that anyone has to Really grasp is that we are always dealing with other real people on the other sides of our screens. While there is much new in the web sites and technologies we use to form social communities online, I do not believe they are fundamentally different than any other human communities. And certainly any “people skills” you’ve acquired outside of social media will be completely applicable and useful online.

  8. This post bums me out a little because there are only ever 2 sith lords at once – and my schedule is too much of a bear to take on an apprentice right now with Walking Dead back on and Gold Rush Alaska about to end. It makes the midichlorian in me boil. But I hear what you’re saying and have 2 similar categories with subsets in each.

  9. Hi Alan,
    I’m fairly new to EA but have already become acquainted with many of the people who have commented and I find them ll so delightful. This is a great blog and very thought provoking. I tend to agree that there are very nice people and then the @ssholes.

    What I find even more interesting is the people who are nice to your face, but hard core @ssholes when they think they can be completely anonymous. I’ve had an e-store online for 15 years now and am constantly amazed at the way people talk to complete strangers when they are interacting via email.

    Even more interesting is how they instantly morph from raving bitches and asses into polite reasonable people when you reach them by phone to discuss their issues. The same is true when people post anonymous responses to blogs, forums or YouTube videos and show their true evil inner nature.

    Maybe I’ve developed a really thick skin, but I never block anyone unless they’re hard core spamming me. If they block me I figure I’ve dodged another bullet.
    Thanks for a really great blog.

    • A long, long time ago I had a friend who often quoted “Everybody who smiles in your face ‘aint your friend.” I too find it fascinating how rude people can be when they think they can get away with it vs how polite those same people are when they feel it is in their best interests to be polite. (Having handled thousands of customer service calls over the years, my experience suggests that being on the telephone doesn’t necessarily make customers behave politely.) And I think that anyone who does customer service has to have a really thick skin just to get through each day.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • Or maybe they really are nice people and just show their ::mumble, mumble:: raving ::mumble, mumble:: when they think they can get by with it. Maybe they’ve been kicked under the rug or swept up with a Swiffer one too many times, and feel it’s their turn to bite back at the world. But then they get confronted with another nice person and they’re embarrassed to be seen as complete @ssholes, even though they were trying that persona on for size…

      I mean, haven’t you ever tried on some completely inappropriate outfit, only to have your mother (or lover) or something walk in on you and shriek “OH MY GOD!!” and haul you off to burn out your throat with holy water?

      Not that I’d know.

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