nothing to do with food

I’m a big fan of social media, both personally and professionally. From blogs, to Facebook, to Technorati to digg – among many other vehicles. Social media is growing and impacting many areas of my daily life. It’s no longer just about traditional media. Everyone has a voice and is using social media to share content, opinions, personal experiences/perspectives, etc. It truly makes the world smaller and connects you with ideas, views and people you might not normally interact with or hear about.

Prior to this blog, I participated in many food forums (still do), learning about new recipes, seeking cooking advice or researching places to check out while traveling. One local favorite is the food and wine forum on cleveland.com. This forum, like many others, is filled with local foodies sharing their dining reviews, opinions and food-related news. This forum is also filled with some of the most immature posters. I had a small taste of this in the comments that came in from my Blue Point post, but that’s nothing to what’s louring out there. It amazes me by how rude, nasty and totally disrespectful people can be. And for what reason? Bored at work? Unhappy life? Childhood bully grew into adult bully still seeking out new ways to insult others?

In my everyday life, from work, to home, to friendships, to strangers I stumble upon while running errands or any other person I may cross paths with, I never, or should say rarely, encounter what you can find online. Give a person a keyboard and a little anonymity and watch what comes out of their mouth. You don’t act like this in the real world, so why resort to this online? It kind of reminds me of road rage. When people think no one is watching, beware.

It makes you wonder, is this what people are really like and they are just great actors? Or does various applications within social media provide people an outlet to release pent up anger? I don’t know. I’m certainly far from perfect and have definitely had my moments, but can’t imagine getting some sheer joy out of causing havoc online or off the way so many do. What’s the point? And what does that really say about a person who truly enjoys hiding online and turning up the hostility. Like I said, I saw just a little on this blog. Spend some time on other sites and it’s enough to make your head spin.

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy your blog very much and I appreciate your posts on the food and wine forum.

    I completely agree with you! Sometimes I wonder how people were raised. I might think certain things about people, but I try never to say it out loud and especially not to them. I think it is ok to disagree with opinions and I am not sure why sometimes the posts get so “snarky”.

    If someone doesn’t agree…just let it go. I saw what happened on your Blue Point post. I have never been to Blue Point. I have a very small budget for restaurant eating, so when I go out, I tend to pick something that has outstanding reviews. Your post and the comments by Michael Walsh give me guidance as to where to spend my restaurant dollars.

    Keep up the good work.
    Elissa Hock (elissaria)

  2. michelle v
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot, I’m glad you like the blog!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been taking heat for shutting down anonymous comments, and I’m glad other people out their prefer civil society and polite dinner conversations…

  4. Jill
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Michelle – I came here by way of George’s link to this post. My blog is called Writes Like She Talks partly because I almost never write in a way that I wouldn’t talk to someone. And when I talk in a way that I shouldn’t write it, I don’t :) – write it down that is (George has probably heard some of that).

    Ironically, just today, while driving with my two kids, a big black new Honda Pilot or some big SUV like that, honked his horn behind me for three miles all the way down Lander Road, riding so close to my rear bumper that I was shaking and my kids were nervously trying to figure out what the guy was doing. The traffic was too heavy for him to go around me (plus there were double yellows) and I couldn’t pull over because he was that close to me – he would have hit me had I even slowed down to move over to let him pass (but there was no where to pass).

    It was extremely scary to me and the guy had his middle finger up at me at the two stop signs I had to stop at, shoving them into his front window and mouthing what I imagine is the common phrase that goes with that hand gesture. He was a white guy, probably 30 or younger.

    What on Earth possessed him, I can’t say. But such indiscriminate anger, in a car. There’s just too much of it.

  5. Michael Walsh
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    The cleveland food and wine forum is alomst completly ananymous, which is the problem. The restaurant business is a tough business full of bad relationships, peppered with cut throut disicion making. It seems like this rough and tough attitude permeates what should be a happy, helpfull, healthy food forum.

    Just this week i posted about the opening of Wonder Bar, a good 6 to 8 additional comments added on, then puff, it’s gone. Lord knows i’ve burned some bridges with the fire and brimstone that honesty brings with it. But I have never had anything bad to say about someone/place that wasn’t an honest observation.

    I think when people disagree there is a great probability that something posative will emerge from conversation. Unfortunatly, online there is nothing more than name calling and childish antics. It’s a shame, because for those of us looking to network, and socialize the forums have begun to fail us, and we will have to search to find another way.

    I would like to congratulate Michelle because you do have a very competent following who seem interesting in posting. I have had much less commenting, probably my content. In any case, carry on the good work Michelle, I truly appreciate it.

  6. michelle v
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Michael, appreciate it.

    And to Jill – scary is right. There is too much of it.

  7. hot coffee girl
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Great post, Michelle. I like Jill and George is one of my favorites. I am glad to see that this blog has a classier following than some stupid coffee geek. Ha ha.

    I don’t have answers any more than you do about why people behave a certain way. Sure, it’s not always going to be all flowers and sunshine. People disagree. But you’re right in pointing out that there is much more venom when someone is anonymous than if they are not. I cannot imagine someone saying some of the things that they write in comments to my face. (Although sometimes I wish they would if they were that passionate about it.)

    Since I know you personally, I know that you are far from thin-skinned. (I would actually put my money on you over me in a fight. You work out, don’t you?) But I am glad that you took the time to both respond to negative comments and still treat them with respect.

    Besides your interesting and excellent writing on food, your character and class is what will keep people coming back.

  8. michelle v
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    You’re too nice – thanks! I agree, not always flowers and sunshine, and disagreements are a good thing and part of life – it would be boring if we all thought the same way. It’s all in how it’s handled.

    Save your money – I don’t think I’d win!

  9. AssangeBeill
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to contact administration?
    Thanks
    bye bye ;))

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