There’s an online trend to complain about people doing things the wrong way. Six Ways You’re Destroying Your Relationship! More than complain, actually: to write a list of modern commandments. Ten Things You Must NEVER Stick In Your Nose! Unfortunately, my newsfeeds are becoming cluttered with them – sometimes even worse than the Omar Kardashun Incident.
(Note: I don’t know Omar or how he’s related to the Kardashuns. If you know, dear reader, then you have my condolences.)
Keep in mind, I’m not writing about life-and-death advice like “don’t move a car accident victim with a broken neck.” Or an article aimed at teenagers warning them about online behaviors that could have dire consequences.
No, I’m talking about complaining online with a complete list of don’ts because some real-life person stuck their foot in it. Think of it as The Woman Who Does Everything More Beautifully Than You meets an old-fashioned enforcer of new-fashioned Blue Laws. A little public shaming is good for the character!
Everyone feels annoyed when someone does the wrong thing at the wrong time. That’s human nature – the mistake and the annoyance There’s also difficulty navigating social situations with people who don’t share the same cultural cues or etiquette. (I could tell some stories on myself! Ha!)
In real life, you talk to the offenders – and maybe you end up getting an apology or you feel better when you find out their good but misconstrued motivations. Or you complain to your friends about a stranger who annoyed you, everyone tells a similar story, and you let it go.
But in the digital world, the offended party turns it into a Teaching Moment for the entire world. Online, this is known as the “clickbait” article. My newsfeed insisted I needed to know 10 Things You Should Never Say To a Nun and The 3-Letter Word That Cuts Women Down Everyday. (Spoiler: The word “too” causes the writer self-inflicted pain. Perhaps she should stick with “also” and “as well as”.)
Most recently I read a piece that was spun as “Things You Shouldn’t Say to Grieving Parents.” However, it’s so specific and so raw that if I knew the writer, I’d avoid him for fear of saying the wrong thing. It’s not the first time that the “advice” is a therapeutic airing of grievances. Obviously the writer doesn’t feel supported in daily life, but maybe readers will validate feelings. Or not.
Unfortunately, there are so many of these sorts of opinion pieces that don’t seem like good advice, but rather the desperate key-strikes of a writer on a deadline.
(Note: I’m not saying I could do better. I’m WRITING that I could do better. Truly, the possibilities are endless! Two Ways to Listen More. Ten Ways You Could Be Procrastinating Instead of Dealing With that Situation. Four Ways to Get Kids Off Your Lawn. I could go on, but I have Things I Should Be Doing Right Now to Have Clean Clothes and Dishes.)