| Angie Counios
I'm pretty careful about what I put on social media.
I have a Twitter, an Instagram, a Tumblr and a Facebook page as well as this blog.
Facebook is for those who know me. Tumblr and Instagram are fairly anonymous. Twitter is something in-between. A while back, my 15 year old goddaughter wanted to follow me on Tumblr. I freaked out. I wanted her to see me as I am on Facebook. On Tumblr, the images, the desires, and the reposts are more intimate (easier with anonymity). I wasn't sure if I wanted a teen I am connected to seeing that side of me. We had a chat. I told her I wasn't comfortable with sharing Tumblr with her just yet and that we should just stick to Facebook for now. She happily understood.
What came of it was a really nice conversation with a friend about that whole scenario. He offered another perspective and said that my Tumblr page was very positive, uplifting and something a young girl could benefit from following.
Although I felt vulnerable I was happy to hear that my Tumblr had an external offering.
I've also exercised good manners in the Facebook world. I don't post a lot of strong opinions or even a lot of kitschy, inspirational stuff. I have fun on it, keep it light and let my friends and family know what I am up to. If I find something challenging in a post of someone close to me, I send a private message always to ask questions or get clarification, because there are always several sides to every story and no one needs to be chastised publicly.
I try to adhere to the idea that what I post appeals to most and offends the least. And mostly I think I do a pretty good job—until the other day when I made a post for Mother’s Day.
To all my lady friends who sacrificed their bodies and their lives to do a difficult and sometimes thankless job (that in the end has rewards), Happy Mother's Day.
I hit enter and walked away feeling pretty good about the supportive post to all my friends who had children. I watched as ‘like’ was hit over and over. I was happy that my good deed was sprinkled like pixie dust onto my mommy friends—until a Facebook friend thought I was being overly dramatic with the word sacrifice.
I tried explaining my post and defined the word along with my intention behind it. Things escalated quickly and publicly. Seems I couldn't make my comment right with him, even with humor. I offered an equally interesting status for Father’s Day. He gave me his very strong opinion on parenting and suggested I am unable to be a mother because of my opinions. At that point I moved the fight to the inbox. He apologized.
I've never been on the receiving end of that kind of ‘internet fight’ and I didn't like it. A moment of cyber-bullying ended with me unfriending this individual and that’s completely fine.
How does this relate to writing? It made me consider how people may react to what I write and the words I choose, the scenarios I create, the stories I tell. It made me think about the very base message in this whole experience that something I wrote offended the hell out of someone and was I okay with that?
In art school, I was concerned with the kind of art I made and if it was received well by my audience. I was young. It mattered. Art, in whatever form (visual, music, art, theatre, literature) must be put out there for people to see and once it is, opinions happen. Siskel and Ebert have made a living doing that very thing.
I believe my writing appeals to the majority, and hopefully, offends the tiniest minority. Yet, I have to decide if the negative opinions of others matters. I have to be strongly convicted to what I create. I also have to be prepared for opinions which I may not agree with or even like.
So, I'd like to thank Mr. Classless Guy who decided to be rude and condescending publicly on my Facebook, for letting me stretch my "indifferent" muscle, for showing me that I can dig my heels in, and that I don't care what one person thinks when I know full well what my intention is and that when I use words I do so with integrity and certainty.