Online Communities

Social Media and Cowardice

If you really believe in what you have to say about a person, then why use social media to communicate a message to him or her, especially if you have the person’s home address, email address, and/or telephone number?  Because many people lack the courage to confront people directly, social media becomes vehicles for articulating their messages.  What’s disconcerting about this increasing phenomenon is more people believe that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and etc. are the proper mediums to solve conflicts.  Why not just pick up a telephone?  One has to wonder, however, if people just enjoy resolving conflicts through public spaces like Facebook and Twitter to attract more attention to themselves.  When you think about it, resolving conflicts at someone’s home, through email, and/or over the telephone is too private for those who desire to find any way possible to get more attention drawn to themselves.

Now, if you have already directly addressed your problems with someone and that person does not try to work with you to solve those problems, then it may be appropriate to express how you feel in general about a problem you have with someone in an indirect manner to keep you from fighting the person.  If you have an established reputation of letting people know in their faces (without any hesitation) how you feel about an issue or problem when one arises, then it may be appropriate to make an indirect comment on Facebook or Twitter about the problem or issue.

Cowardice occurs through social media when a person never has addressed his or her problems with someone directly.

Some people think you’re not smart enough to know when they’re sending subliminal messages to you.  They think they’re getting over on you and affecting you.  However, what they don’t understand is the reason that you’ve not responded to them directly and/or punched them in the mouth is you see them as lightweights, are trying to not destroy their world for their sake and their family’s sake, and/or wish not to cause a major scene.

When people always have to promulgate indirect messages, you can tell they’re struggling with deep insecurities and self-esteem problems.  Why else would they always express themselves through indirect messages?

In the time you invested in composing an indirect message, you could have already communicated a direct message by picking up a telephone?  Why waste time?  Go ahead and be honest—it’s not really about the indirect message you’re attempting to send to someone, but it’s more about you needing to deal with things you’re stowing on the inside of you that need to be eliminated.

You have to be careful about communicating indirect messages to someone through social media because that person could respond with a direct message to you that could surely shake up your world forever.

For every move there is a counter.

Don’t let your weak indirect messages end up causing you a lifetime of misery.  You have to resolve how much you’re willing to lose when you publish tweets, statuses, and posts.

Don’t be a coward—say what you have to say to someone directly to him or her!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Social Media and Composition

Social media is providing people with a fun and interactive way to improve their writing without them necessarily being conscious of it. For many people who I have observed using social media, it has made them more conscious about what they are actually writing. Even when many people are on Facebook using all of this slang, Ebonics, and intentional (and unintentional) incorrect use of language, I have found that they are still heavily focused on the content of what it is they want to communicate. One of the reasons I encourage blogging is it’s a form of social media that is a fun way to give people practice with their writing. To ameliorate your writing, you are going to have to practice writing more. Blogging is a way to make yourself vulnerable to the world through your writing and offers you an opportunity to receive feedback on your writing from a global audience.

Facebook has a “Note” function that allows you to pen your thoughts and share them with all of your Facebook friends or those who you “tag.” I encourage more people who use Facebook to use the “Note” function to share your thoughts with your Facebook friends. It’s a great way to share your thoughts that take more words than you are allowed through your Facebook status.

As a university Composition instructor, I have had great success with integrating social media into the Composition classroom. I have engaged my students with blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. Many classroom assignments that I have given have involved the use of social media. What I have discovered is social media makes more students become excited about Composition. Students who are less vocal in class during classroom discussions become more willing to share their thoughts through Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. Twitter forces Composition students to be much more disciplined writers because they have to say something meaningful with only 140 characters available to them. Now, if you have not used Twitter before you may not think that this is not a serious writing challenge, but being limited to only 140 characters can be quite challenging when you have something truly substantive to articulate. I encourage more college professors to integrate social media into your diverse classrooms. I strongly believe that you will find it to be rewarding.

Before I end this piece, I would just like to encourage you to be more conscious about your writing when using various forms of social media. Bad writing is never a good look. Of course, social media allows us all to have more freedom to be less formal than when we’re writing for academic purposes, but always be aware of the type of person you are presenting to the world when you communicate with others through social media. When blogging, I certainly don’t write like I do when I’m writing my academic papers because I want to be able to reach a much more general and global audience, but I do think it’s vital to maintain some formal standards with your social media writing.

One grammatical error that I would love to see more people using social media address is noun-pronoun disagreement. For example, one might write the following: “Most of the time a lawyer has their own best interests in mind.” In this aforementioned sentence, the pronoun (“their”) that refers the reader back to the noun (“lawyer”) does not agree. Of course, I could get really sophisticated with you about this error but, as I stated earlier, I want to be able to reach a more general and global audience.  I just want you to think about it numerically: “Lawyer” is one person, right? “Their” has to be more than just one person, right? Okay, now, let’s eliminate this grammar problem from our writing. Thank you!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Use of “Lol”

I’ve been thinking heavily about social media lately and have found the various uses of “lol” to be quite interesting. “Lol,” of course, traditionally means laughing out loud. Now, in no way am I trying to present myself as an expert on social media and with using it. After all, I only have 131,000 readers of my blog, only over 500 Facebook friends, and only over 700 Twitter followers. From this audience, however, I have been able to discover some interesting ways in which “lol” is being used. When I’m chatting with many people via instant messaging, text messaging, and other mediums, I’ve found that “lol” is often used when folks don’t have anything to say and the use of “lol” keeps the conversation moving along. “Lol” gives people an opportunity to think about something to say. I just wonder if the frequent use of “lol” gives poor communicators an easy way out of working to ameliorate their communication skills.

I have also found that “lol” can really articulate that one is a person who laughs all the time. I have to admit that I use “lol” often because I’m one who laughs quite often. It’s certainly not because I have difficulty communicating. After all, my undergraduate and graduate training is in English and I teach English at the university level.

“Lol,” unfortunately, has been and is employed many times to say disrespectful, inappropriate, racist, sexist, mean-spirited, and/or threatening things to people. I want you to know that just because you put “lol” somewhere in a sentence where you have communicated something horrible does not make it all better. You are not going to be successful in saying something hateful with an “lol” and not expect people to see right through how deceptive you are being with your use of “lol.”

I want us to begin to think about the ways in which we use “lol” and the ways in which others use it. I certainly want you to start to expose those people who use “lol” to try to mask their inappropriate or hateful comments. Hopefully, this piece will cause you to focus on the use of “lol” in a deeper way than you have previously thought about it. Although I have not really said anything new or profound in this piece, what I hope that it will do is cause us to bring to the surface some interesting revelations about the use of “lol.” I want us to consider how some people are really changing the meaning of “lol” to mean all kinds of things that are not positive.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Facebook is Becoming Fakebook

Are you really who you portray yourself to be on Facebook? Facebook is increasingly becoming a space where people are living out their dreams of being the people who they never can be in reality. On Facebook, one can become the superstar who he or she never could be in life off of Facebook. This social media network allows you to have many moments of fame through the composing of statuses that will get you all of the attention you long for. When you log off of Facebook and return to your broke economic and social realities, the fame you have on Facebook does not fulfill you. If you really want to know whether or not you are living a miserable life, I can tell you that you are living a miserable life if you get satisfaction from the attention your falsehoods get you on Facebook.

On Facebook, you get to see the most fake thugs! You know, the folks who talk about what all they will and are going to do to people and then when you see them in person they reveal themselves to be the true scary and phony people they really are. Stop talking all of this junk on Facebook that you cannot back up in person. Stop trying to deceive people through your statuses on Facebook. Stop trying to use your “relationship status” to fool people. These invisible (fake) relationships that people are in, as indicated by their statuses, really would be funny if these were not grown folk carrying on non-existent relationships.

Facebook allows people who are homosexual or lesbian and who want to hide it to do so. All you have to do on Facebook to fool people that you are not gay or lesbian is to talk about the opposite sex all the time, and what you will do to the opposite sex all the time. Make sure you have “in a relationship” in the designated location on your profile and make sure that you have the opposite sex listed on your profile in the “interested in” location on your profile.

Okay, if you want to be successful on Facebook in acting like you are a true Christian, all you have to do is talk about God all the time through your statuses, post scriptures periodically, and make sure you use Sundays as days when you really get all holy through your statuses.

People also post pictures on Facebook to try to manufacture a false image about themselves. If you want to be viewed as heterosexual and you’re not, just post pictures of yourself surrounded by members of the opposite sex. If you want to trick people into thinking that you are a thug, post pictures that show you smoking weed, drunk, and throwing up gang signs on tricked out cars.

Another way that you can falsely present yourself as a thug on Facebook is to intentionally write like you don’t have any understanding of proper grammar, spelling, and usage. Here’s an example: “Fam, I ben gon let yall no dat we gon b at da crib 2nite so holla atcha boyz wen u get a minute. Aiite we n der!” Now, if you compose all of your statuses like that, you will be considered “hard” (a thug) and straight. So if you need to hide the fact that you are a scary punk and gay, then just write what you have to say in your statuses in the manner of the aforementioned example and you will be instantly a thug and straight.

I strongly encourage people to always be themselves, even when you are on Facebook. It really is okay to be yourself. You should not feel like you have to present a certain false image just to obtain the approval of others. The best you is the real you. In the Black Church, people love to say, “Don’t let the Devil use you.” I say, “Don’t let Facebook use you.” Let’s keep Facebook as the social networking site that it is. Let’s not turn it into a space that promulgates and proliferates falsehoods daily. We get to see many of you living those falsehoods off of Facebook—don’t let us have to be constantly reminded of your falsehoods while we are enjoying our experiences on this site too.

Do you really think that you are fooling people with these false images that you work so hard to communicate on Facebook? You may fool some people but you will not fool most people, especially clear thinking people.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

People Will Use Facebook to Misrepresent You

Although I have never been to jail, don’t have a criminal record, and never have been recommended for psychological evaluation, people have tried to suggest that I might do something violent to people, even murder people, because of my Facebook statuses. Most of these people who have done this are individuals who I was nice enough to accept their friend requests on Facebook, but are people who don’t know me particularly well. They are messy people who just want to be able to be meddlesome on my Facebook page to go back and tell others who don’t like me what I have said on Facebook, and attempt to discredit me as some radical who has the potential to do something violent. I accept everyone’s request for friendship on Facebook because I use it as a platform to promote and promulgate my positions and messages. Instead of asking me for clarification about why I posted what I did or what I meant by what I said on Facebook, people will just go with their own interpretations about what I have said. People have been too big of cowards to tell me what they have had to say about me in my face, and they are too big of cowards to ask what I was saying on certain statuses when they have questions. They would rather go ask someone else or just go talk about me with other people to try to turn them against me.

What I would like to tell my readers about my experience with Facebook thus far is you all have to be careful about how people may try to use what you have said on Facebook against you. I know that many of you are not as willing as I am to vigorously challenge misrepresentations involving you. I would, therefore, just like for you to be careful about who you befriend on Facebook. Make sure that you can trust the people who you are friends with on Facebook. Additionally, I recommend that you adjust your privacy settings to not allow everyone to see your photos and statuses. Facebook’s privacy settings even allow you to pick and choose the people who you want to allow to see your Wall, photos, and statuses.

I have professors, employers, students, colleagues, fellow church members, and etc. as Facebook friends, because I’m the same everywhere I go—you will always get the same Antonio Maurice Daniels. While most people are on Facebook for valid purposes, I want you to be careful about those who would try to do you harm. Some people will copy and paste stuff and try to use it against you—be watchful of this. Some people will try to use your photos to misrepresent you and defame your character. For security purposes, make sure that you always take a moment and change your Facebook password often, so that you can better ensure that no unauthorized persons are using your account.

When people are already looking to make you out to be something that you are not, or if they are striving to make you appear to be a radical or monster, they can use the simplest thing you have posted on Facebook to do so. They will not worry about taking your postings out of context—they will use the postings without any hesitation to promote their personal agendas. I know you a probably thinking that people are really not this immature, but I hope that you are not that naïve to continue to maintain that viewpoint.

I love Facebook and appreciate the wonderful people I have been able to communicate with and reconnect with through this great medium. I just thought it was important for me to make you are aware that there are people who will use Facebook as a way to misrepresent who you truly are and what you are truly saying and doing on it. It is my hope that you will think about what I have said and consider some of the things that I have said next time you are on Facebook.

To those of you who are my Facebook friends and have tried to misrepresent me through things I have posted, I want you to know that I already know what you have attempted to do, so you have not gotten anything past me. I know about why you have befriended me on Facebook in the first place. I would encourage you to devote your time to doing something else because misrepresentations have never had any true success against me, if you don’t already know by now.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Tell Me What to Say and Do on Facebook and Twitter

Freedom

(Photo credit: Chris Yarzab)

 

People have really gotten on my nerves with telling me and others about what they should and should not say and do on Facebook and Twitter. If you do not like what I say and do on Facebook and Twitter, then please simply remove yourself from being associated with me on Facebook and Twitter. I have even noticed that people who I have talked with in the past quite regularly no longer speak to me anymore because of the things I have said on Facebook and Twitter. For those of you who this refers to, I have a message for you: goodbye and take a hike! It is just really amazing how people do and say all kinds of wild things off of Facebook and Twitter, but they want to act like they are priests and evangelists when it comes to critiquing what other people say and do on Facebook and Twitter.

 

What I am really beginning to learn about why people have a problem with what other people tweet and post is they do not want what is said and done to reflect negatively on them. I am not saying that there are not people who authentically would not want you to be viewed in a negative way by what your status or tweet says.  What I would like for you to do, however, is to contemplate why an individual would want to try to prevent you from tweeting certain things and posting certain statuses.

 

In the empty Facebook status box, it asks, “What’s on your mind?” People should have the freedom to give an update to their Facebook friends about what’s on their minds. Twitter asks, “What’s happening?” People should, of course, have the liberty to give an update about “what’s happening?” Although I am sometimes unsettled by some of the shocking statements, lies, falsehoods, strange comments, and etc. promulgated on Facebook and Twitter, I never attempt to tell people that they need to stop posting things like that and/or need to take down their comments.

 

I long for a day when people will be more willing to allow others to be themselves. Additionally, I long for a day when people will be more willing to be themselves. It has to be a tremendously miserably life to live like others want you to live. To be honest, what’s valuable about a person who lives to be like what others want him or her to be? Nothing! What unique does that person have to offer? Nothing! Is this person really taking up space? Yes!

 

When you refuse to listen to what people who want to restrict your freedom have to say to you, then they will claim that you are simply stubborn and too prideful. They are right! I am unwilling to listen to any non-sense that makes an effort to tell me that I need to be like them or that would attempt to take away my personal liberties. To be frank, when you are worrying so much about what others post on Twitter and Facebook, then you really don’t have a life, are neglecting your own responsibilities, and have some deep self-esteem problems.

 

I encourage all those people who want to limit the freedoms of Facebook and Twitter users to remove themselves from Twitter and Facebook, or at least discontinue associating with people who are causing you such problems with what they say and do on Facebook and Twitter. If anything in this article offends you, then all I have to say is great! Please excuse me while I dust my shoulders off.

 

Antonio Maurice Daniels

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison