I’ve broached this subject before, but it always fascinates—and depresses—me. In short: Internet anger.
Earlier tonight I was checking Twitter when I came across this beauty …
I know … I know. “You’re better than that … you’re giving this guy attention … the thing he wants is a reaction … he’s not worth your time …” I’ve heard them all before, and they all have their merit. Really, they do. I’m just continually blown away by the anger and venom that comes along with so many Twitter accounts. I don’t know Adam Staples; Adam Staples doesn’t know me. Truth be told, I have no reason to think he’s not a nice guy (in person); a hard-working, decent guy with dreams of doing so and so. Just like he has no real reason (beyond some words that clearly agitated him on Twitter, or in some of my books, or … something) to call me, well, lots of stuff.
So why do people write like this? Honestly, I’m not sure. Perhaps to have a voice; to let off steam; to get a reaction. For all I know Adam Staples is the kind of guy who would say this to my face—but, somehow, I doubt that very much. A Twitter account tends to be the computer equivalent of a couple of shots of Mad Dog 20/20. It gives one courage he/she never had before; the courage to be mean, because you know the other person isn’t in front of you.
The thing is, people like Adam Staples don’t realize the error of their ways. Reputations matter, especially when you’re young and coming up through the ranks. When one applies for a job in 2012, potential employers will, factually, Google you. They’ll find you on Facebook and Twitter and see who you are; how you write and think and react. At age 40, I don’t worry about this stuff any longer. I am who I am—for good and for bad, my journalistic rep is my journalistic rep.
Were I in my 20s, however, I’d be much more careful.