Looking for a Better Medium Experience…?
A few tips to safeguard your mental health in the midst of a social media quagmire.
There’s a saying floating around out there in the ether — “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and half the time they smell like shit.”
Just because you are a part of this community, it doesn’t mean you have to play this community’s games. When you exist in a writer’s forum such as this, it can be really hard to absorb everything that’s thrown at you. The algorithms are trying to tell you what they think is good for you to read. Your readers are trying to tell you what they think is important…or what they think you should think is important. Charlatans are constantly trying to sell you on their personal brand…it’s enough to drive a sane person to another place, frankly…and it has…
Some people can be really stupid when giving feedback; I’m sure it’s not escaped notice. It’s one thing if you’re providing competent critique to any given work; for example, you’ve read a piece on a social issue and you’ve noticed a slight error in the research…maybe a source the writer cited wasn’t getting the facts straight. It’s perfectly acceptable to point these kinds of things out, because if there is any apple that can spoil this bunch, it’s bad information. And since ignorance is NOT a free speech issue, if anyone gets huffy for your having attempted such a correction, that’s on them. Stupidity requires push-back, lest it flourish beyond reason and send discourse off of the deep end.
On the other hand, if you’re just commenting on everything merely to hear yourself talk, like trolls tend to do, then your opinion is not worth considering. Sometimes an author nails it and there isn’t anything left to say. In these cases, a simple bit of applause is enough. Some authors, of course, like the challenge of a good discussion, but the discussion has to be a reasonable one before it’s worth anyone’s time. This is one reason I only respond to competent comments and critiques made directly on the works I write. For one, I’m not in favor of rummaging through comment threads in order to inject myself into other people’s dialogues. For two, I have a limited amount of energy and I’m not going to waste it trying to fight back against inherently unreasonable people.