The Danger Of Being Honest On Social Media

Be YourselfAlmost two years ago while searching for a place to live I was surprised when I found Cleveland in Texas.

I was looking for temporary housing in Fort Worth and while I wasn’t surprised to see building or complexes with the names of exotic island hideaways or cowboy sounding names I didn’t expect to find a place in the Southwest that was named after a city in the Midwest.

Ask me how that relates to the dangers of being honest on social media and I’ll tell you we live in a time in which people preach tolerance but are intolerant of views that are not in line with their own.

If I talk about Ferguson or Eric Garner I risk being flamed for saying something offensive.

It doesn’t matter what side I take because things are so crazy now you know that whatever you say is going to be wrong for someone and in a world in which anything you say online can be filed, categorized and or manipulated it is sometimes prudent not to say anything or to be very cautious about what you do say.

That is not just common sense for brands and businesses but for individuals too.

If you say the wrong thing and inspire attention from the crowd you might learn that your employer has been contacted and told that you are a bad employee and be told to be careful what you say online in your personal world because it impacts public perception of the company you work for.

Is That Fear Or Reality Speaking?

If you ask me is that is fear or reality speaking I’ll tell you it is probably a little of both. If you are not promoting hate you should be able to speak your mind but then again perception is a funny thing.

You don’t always know how people will interpret what you say and how they will react. Nor will you always be given a chance to respond to how they respond to what you are putting out or posting.

If you are looking for work and prospective employers are reading your online musings you might not receive the same benefit of the doubt you would get from someone who knows you.

I have had enough talk about what may or may not happen so let’s move on and talk about community and blogs. Part of what got me thinking about all of this stems from some discussions I had with people about our blog traffic and how to build it.


In July of last year I talked about why Community Is The Key To Social Media Success and touched upon the value of generating more content and responding to comments faster than I was.

There has been a significant increase in traffic since then in large part predicated upon widening the focus here so that it wasn’t all business.

Several switches in commenting platforms helped too. We went through G+, CommentLuv and Livefyre before settling on DISQUS.

Many months into the switch I am happy with the change because it dramatically reduces spam, drives additional traffic and provides notifications so people come back to see responses to their comments.

I played around with writing about Ferguson/Michael Brown/Eric Garner/Race/Free Speech because they are timely and I knew I could generate a boatload of traffic that way.

Figured if I brought in 1 million readers and retained 1 percent that might prove useful. But I chose not to do it because I wasn’t sure the upside was worth the potential craziness that might come with it.

And now let’s move to a special intermission.

Five Songs + Five More

  • Remember– Jimi Hendrix
  • Heart Full Of Soul– The Yardbirds
  • Darkness On The Edge of Town– Bruce Springsteen
  • Uncle John’s Band– The Grateful Dead
  • Happy– Bruce Springsteen
  • Reflections of My Life -Marmalade
  • Come Live with Me-Ray Charles
  • The Long and Winding Road-Ray Charles
  • May This Be Love– Jimi Hendrix
  • Under Pressure– Queen and David Bowie

 The Funny Thing

The funny thing about all this is I am not someone who is afraid to tell you what I think or feel. Family and friends tell me they can almost always see my thoughts on my face and in my eyes which is why I wear dark sunglasses when playing cards.

Or maybe that is so I can take a nap, who can remember.

What I can tell you is I love the quote in the picture above and I pride myself on not being someone who does everything the crowd does just to be a part of it.

Never cared or needed to be the coolest guy around and even if I tried I probably wouldn’t be.

But I will say I am disappointed by the intolerance to opposing views. I am disappointed that so many people become so unwilling to challenge their thoughts and beliefs.

There is some merit to the marketplace of ideas.

Sometimes the way to move people is by providing them with a chance to speak their mind. Sometimes when they hear their thoughts said out loud they realize they really aren’t the kind of thing they want to believe in.

What do you think?

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  1. Joie Gahum October 5, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Tools like hashatory would be very handy.

  2. Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd December 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Some of my favorite discussion on this topic came while I was going through the Eben Pagan Advanced Learning and Teaching Technologies seminar.

    Here are some of the notes I pulled from it that forever changed my view on “truth”…

    The Two Enemies Of Learning

    As an individual these are the biggest obstacles in your way.

    1st Bastard Of An Obstacle In The Way Of Learning: “I Knew That”

    Why is this a disaster waiting to happen on your journey for enlightenment?

    Peter Ouspensky wrote a book called, “The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution”.

    Right out of the gate in this book, Peter says, “The big challenge that I face trying to teach you something is that you won’t believe that what you’re hearing is new.”

    You’re going to filter what you’re going to hear through the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff you already have jammed in your head. You interpret it based on the old and think it’s the old shit you’ve already heard before.

    The most complex part of this problem is that you need to learn skills that you don’t know . . . but that you think you know.

    And when you think you already know something your brain shuts down and rejects new information.

    This means you’ve got to surrender the idea that you already know and then you’ve got to be truly open to learning the things you think you know, but that you don’t.

    The practice of staying open as much as possible is what is oh-so necessary.

    2nd Obstacle That Gets In The Way Of You Learning: “I Disagree”

    Why is this such a nasty problem when it comes to you mastering new skills?

    Disagreeing has led to some major innovations in society but there’s a level above this that allows for a richer reality.

    Entrepreneurs and founders of businesses who solve problems in society are often known as “High Difference People”. This means they see how things are different as opposed to how they’re similar.

    In the “personality types” world they’re labeled as mis-matchers. An example of mis-matching behavior is saying to someone, “That’s a nice blue shirt,” and them responding, “It’s not really blue. It’s more like a turquoise.”

    Einstein came along and helped us mis-matchers by bringing to the forefront of consciousness The Theory of Relativity. Relativity says that all we have is our perspective and all perspectives are partial. We can never see the whole equation. We can never know everything about what’s going on.

    This is why 80+% of disagreements are nothing but you closing your mind instead of opening it to learn something new.

    Knowledge and professional development comes about when someone comes up with an idea, a hypotheses and this leads to them making a case for what they’ve come to believe is true.

    Then someone else comes along and counters this hypotheses and comes up with the argument for the antithesis and this leads to both parties duking it out with each other trying to prove the other wrong.

    These fights, Science vs. Religion for example, are often ugly and looong.

    What it usually takes to end this fighting is for someone in a future generation coming along and figuring out how both parties were right and they synthesize the opposing arguments which gives birth to a higher order perspective.

    And this starts the whole cycle over again when someone challenges this perspective.

    A Mantra To Adopt For Yourself . . .

    Seek synthesis. Seek synthesis. Seek synthesis.

    Instead of reverting to the default part of yourself that automatically disagrees with people and sets out to make the other person wrong, which is nothing but our childish desire to seek significance, stop and ask yourself, “What part of what they’re saying is new, intriguing, different, a new paradigm shift for me and how can I fuse this with what I’m already attached to, synthesize it and bring value to both of us? How can I elevate both of us?”

    “I knew that.” and “I disagree.” are the two prison cells that both your ability to learn and your ability to teach trapped in a juvenile existence.

    How Attached To Your Ideas Are You?

    Tony Robbins was having a conversation with one of the co-creators of NLP, John Grinder and John told him, “Tony, never believe anything too much because they’ll always be a situation where it’s not true.”

    Never believe anything too much because they’ll always be a situation where it’s not true. Never believe anything too much.

    Eben’s personal rule of thumb is that he never really wants to believe anything more than 50%.

    50% buy in is the max he wants to push himself to because he hasn’t found anything, any concept, idea, or principle that someone else hasn’t come along and shown him how to transcend it and go the next level with a distinction that helped him understand it even better.

    There’s always another level. There’s always another side, no matter how thin you slice it. Never believe anything too much.

    Sometimes I forget this wisdom in the heat of some dumb small issue, but since hearing it, I’ve always kept it close to heart when considering large issues like Ferguson. Hopefully someday soon synthesis rather than opposition will become the norm.

    • Josh December 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      @MyNoteTakingNerd:disqus Synthesis, I like that. It makes sense. I talk to my children about the benefit in challenging our thinking and trying to adopt the other side for no other purpose than expanding our minds.

      You might decide that side is still wrong but you never know what you’ll come up with in the process.

  3. Pingback: What's Up Wednesdays: Wanna Play a Game? - Beyond the Rhetoric

  4. Stan Faryna December 10, 2014 at 8:05 am

    I have certain advantage of having lived, studied and thought out some of the things that matter most: love, evil, politics, money, justice, virtue, business, sin, etc. That doesn’t mean I don’t get it wrong. Getting it wrong happens to us all. Even Abraham, Aquinas, Auden, Maya Angelou, Einstein, King David, Moses, the President of the United States of America or Benjamin Netayahu cannot escape making the occasional error.

    But getting it right, every now and then, means bringing light to the world. Bringing light makes the risks and trials of error, persecution or tribulation worthwhile. It validates us. As much light as shines in us is as true and real as we can be.

    I agree with you that Human Resources people can not understand this. Because if they were the kind of people that did understand this, they would be millionaires and/or CEOs. They are like bugs living under a rock’s belly and when the rock is moved by truth, they scurry for places where the light cannot travail.

    • Josh December 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      @faryna:disqus Sometimes I wonder about people who have never internalized just how special this privilege to speak is. Free speech is never without limits and never truly free but sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by providing limitations on speech that might actually open our eyes.

      That is part of how we bring light to the world, by exposing ourselves to thought that might different from our own. Not hate speech, but thought.

  5. Larry December 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I think Derek Jeter got this message. If you ever listen to his interviews, he hardly said anything. It was all bland but everyone loved him. Maybe, the message is let you work talk for you.

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