I was talking to someone last week and she said that some of my quippy-ness would translate fantastically to Twitter (a very supportive human, she is). And I just laughed.
This is not the first time someone has said this to me.
I mean, I’m actually on Twitter, but I’m not a big Twitter-er.
Anyway, I have magically – some would say ‘technically’ – attached the blog to Twitter (so anyone who follows @Dingleville can see it). At least I think they can. I don’t really check. I have actually tweeted – or maybe I was retweeting – a handful of times (again, I’m not sure).
Aw, Hell. I don’t even know if I understand what I just typed.
But after the encouragement from my fellow human, all I could think of was that – if it is extremely hard for me to edit my thoughts down to, say, a thousand words for a blog – how on earth would I put my thinkings – routinely – into 140 characters (including all the hashtags I would want to get all creative about)?
But then I thought, okay, I’m gonna try this. I mean, if everyone from the Kardashians to President Obama to the MarnieTheDog can do it (I think Marnie gets all of his followers because his tongue hangs out the side of his head (and I could totally do that too))…
I thought, ‘I am going to consciously boil down something I’m thinking to a tweet, and I’m gonna put it out there. And I am going to do that regularly’.
Then I edited my thought to ‘somewhat regularly’ so as not to put too much pressure on me.
Later, I found myself reading something on the upcoming presidential election, and scrolled down to the comments and holy smackanoli.
Vitriol. Purposeful nasty comments, personal attacks all over the place.
Out-and-out fabrications, total mischaracterization of what one person just said (followed by attacks on the mischaracterization).
It was awful.
And I thought… “Ugh. Stop the mud slinging!”
And then my brain interrupted itself and thought, ‘It’s actually dung flinging’.
Then I thought… ‘Ha! Past tense would be ‘flung dung’!’
Which cracked me up, taking me a second to recover.
But then I tweeted something about that, and you know what?
Almost immediately, I knew that 140 characters was not enough to explain what I mean. I’m tired of people using Facebook and Twitter – and all those other on-line things I don’t know about or can’t use yet – to fight or hurt.
I had to look up ‘trolling’ to make sure I got it right:
Trolling: Creating a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting or comment with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.
Right. Trolling means being deliberately sucky.
And I think you can be an out-in-the-open troll, or a passive aggressive troll, or a covertly aggressive troll… just like you can be an out-in-the-open dick, or a passive aggressive dick, or a covertly aggressive dick.
I’m just sayin.
The bottom line?
There is too much flung dung out there, people.
People fling away, and it’s not just on political topics either. They fling dung at celebrities, at rival sports teams’ fans, at people who own the ‘wrong’ type of dogs, at neighbors who have put up the wrong type of fence (and painted it Barney-purple)…
It’s not necessary.
It’s not … well, it’s not nice.
And I don’t care if people put their name or handle or other identifier on it or stay all sorts of anonymous.
Nasty is nasty.
And nasty being met with more nasty?
What’s the goal of that? The violent prying open of hearts and minds?
Call me kooky, but I do not think that works.
The goal of trolling is hurt (and possibly the multiplying of anger molecules, but I’m not a scientist).
So I got to talking to my friends about flung dung and my very funny friend Kathy messaged me with, “Hey, if dung is flung in the woods and no one is around to hear it…”
And I was all, “Heck, ya!”
Because I morphed it around in my head and I arrived at, “If dung is flung on a blog, or a comment thread, or or or… and no one acknowledges it – no one replies, no one shares – does it matter?”
Think about it.
No matched outrage or justification or a share or retweet or coverage by CNN.
Dung which remains unacknowledged, uncelebrated, unclaimed, unapplauded, unhealed, unheralded.
Unsung. Flung. Dung.
What if a whole bunch of people started using #unsungflungdung hashtag every time we see overtly nasty stuff on-line (the posting of one-sided Facebook or blog-based arguments with squirrels will be exempt). What if that was the only response their flung dung got? And if they then ask, ‘what the heck does #unsungflungdung mean?’ Leave it (and leave!) No explanation necessary there. No need to get into a protracted discussion with someone feeling troll-y. No winning in that scenario.
Plus, they can google #unsungflungdung (and if they have to search for a really long time, that’s not a bad thing. That’s more minutes they are not spending being poopy on-line).
Unacknowledged, uncelebrated, unclaimed, unapplauded, unhealed, unheralded… or commented on or shared or anything to the nastiness.
Imagine if this movement got some legs.
No response to people who use the internet to hurt, who use their keyboards to start fights with the world.
Think of what a little less vitriol online might feel like?
Maybe it’ll make its way into the real world!
Visions of someone holding a poster with #unsungflungdung at a Westboro Baptist Church gathering
Thanks for readin’.
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