So there it was, a question on an artist’s Facebook page asking about some aspect of art, and I had an interesting answer that I had read somewhere. I left the comment, thinking it might be something intriguing for the artist who posed the question to consider. I checked back an hour later and the comment had been deleted and I was defriended.
I went over what I wrote. It didn’t have swear words, it wasn’t confrontational, and it was actually supporting the artist’s point of view (admittedly from an unusual angle). The only thing I could think of that might have been offensive was the mention of a political philosophy.
But there was actually one more thing I hadn’t considered. As I was wondering where my comment was (before I realized it had been deleted,) I couldn’t find a single dissenting voice on any of this artist’s posts. Not even a mild suggestion that what the artist said or did was in any way not absolutely perfect.
How is that possible?
I concluded that the artist must be dealing with others the same way they dealt with me. Whittling down dissenters until all that is left is a group of sycophants.
I was a little upset at first, mainly because communication had been cut off with no way to ask why, but after thinking about it for a while I chose to learn from it.
The first lesson I learned is that if you are even a modestly public figure (such as an artist,) keep all mention of anything political out of your public life. (Unless of course you are a politically themed artist, but then you are only preaching to the choir at that point anyway.)
Lesson two, if someone says something that isn’t exactly in line with your own viewpoint, try to have a civil discussion first. If they meant to be a jerk, then at that point you can inform them what the consequences are.
Lesson three, if you are going to use information you read somewhere, do some research on it first to make sure it is legitimate. (I later found out that the information I passed along was not based on legitimate facts. But I do not think that was the reason for the defriending.)
The last lesson is to stop and think of how the action you are about to take will affect you.
I admit that I should have researched my comment, but how the situation was handled prompted several changes in my behavior in addition to the lessons above. Chances are slim that I will mention this artist’s name again, in polite or impolite company, and are even slimmer that I will support anything they do.
The artist will probably never know, or care even if they did, but to paraphrase something I read, the people you meet on the way up are the same people you meet on the way down.
Are there any lessons you have learned the hard way with social media?