Sharing Backstory: An expansion on my BitchBuzz post

August 20, 2008 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (2)


I wrote a post on BitchBuzz this week talking about what happens when people who are normally rather adept in social situations run into momentary lapses of reason – due to technology.
The background on the story was left out of the post on BB, mostly because it’s personal and so not appropriate to share there.
But I feel as though the story merits a closer look.
So here it goes…
A month or so back I was out with some friends. I was in a particularly cantankerous mood (which for anyone who knows me can mean anything from me being somewhat sassy to downright snarky. This particular night fell somewhere towards the middle of that continuum). One of the friends in the posse was in particularly bad state (recent break up and things of that nature). Suffice to say that this was an oil and water sort of situation that for some reason I felt compelled to Twitter.
Bad choice.

Not only because this particular friend follows me, but because the Tweet I sent wasn’t particularly clear about what was really going on in my noggin.
The truth of the matter is that it had nothing to do with her. I wasn’t up for going out that night but had committed to going, so I went – in spite of feeling crappy. Thus when my friend’s behavior got on the 1/8 of a nerve I had, she became a logical target. Well, logical in my not-too-logically-thinking state, at least.
As it read, the Tweet was a direct attack on her. Someone even responded to my Tweet saying: “Wow. Bet you’re pretty sure this person doesn’t follow you on Twitter.” My response was that she did and if she asked me about it, I’d talk with her directly.
This is where my trespass began.
When she emailed me the following Monday – no subject line and a single line in the body of the note saying: “Nice Twitter comment this weekend” – I responded that the Tweet had nothing to do with her.
Which was true, but she didn’t believe me. And based on how the Tweet read she was right in believing that – especially since in my response to her I failed to explain what was actually on my mind that night. Not that this would have excused my Tweet, but it would have at least set the record straight.
To make a long story short this friend’s feelings were hurt – and rightfully so. And to make matters worse as a result of this communications kerfuffle she pretty much stopped talking to me for a while.
Now there are parts of this story I’m truncating and to be honest I do feel that while her feelings are valid, her reaction to it was slightly north of exaggerated. But that’s not the point for this tale.
The point here is that in an attempt to be transparent about what was going on with me, I hurt someone’s feelings. And then when she approached me about it rather than stepping up, I stepped away.
Long story short, this friend and I met up for drinks recently, and after an hour or so (and a few beverages to grease the skids of difficult discussion) we got into “the conversation.”
That’s when she said something surprising. She told me that while I may think that I’m transparent, I’m not.
I mean just looking at the almost ridiculous volume of social media tools that I use on a daily basis one would certainly think that I share a lot … perhaps even over share on occasion.
But sharing shouldn’t be mistaken for transparency and in fact, sometimes just because you’re talking doesn’t mean you’re actually saying anything.
My point?
Simple, really.
For starters, and I said this in my BitchBuzz post today, Etiquette matters. On that I’ll point to a recent post by Chris Brogan that I think outlines some rather solid basic etiquette rules that apply to various social media platforms.
But more to the point, I’ve realized that transparency is relative. What one person sees as appropriate or acceptable to share may be utterly out of the question for another.
In today’s always-on-digitally-linked world, paying closer attention to the above mentioned social etiquette becomes even more important. And as we wend our way through being open, sharing our thoughts and telling stories, be mindful that just because you’re okay with laying out your dirty laundry for everyone to see, doesn’t mean others who might be involved in the story are.
Before you spout off under the umbrella of being authentic and raising your voice, make sure you’re not raining crap on someone else.


2 responses to “Sharing Backstory: An expansion on my BitchBuzz post”

  1. First, I really love your blog’s name. I’m presuming we’re talking about appreciation of plays.
    Second, I really like what you wrote up, and how you examined it. Very nice to see this kind of thinking and consideration.

  2. Cate says:

    “Before you spout off under the umbrella of being authentic and raising your voice, make sure you’re not raining crap on someone else.”
    Absolutely. And that’s the hardest part. I think most of the time when we say things that could come off as offensive, we’re in such a weird spot that we don’t really care who reads it. We’re bothered, we’re annoyed, and with so many different outlets to express our annoyance, it’s hard to deny ourselves that freedom sometimes.
    On the opposite side of that, though, you have some people who are overly sensitive and think that every negative Tweet or annoyed Facebook Status is about them – when it most certainly isn’t.
    Fantastic post!