Sorry, But I Remember Your Unethical Behavior

Back in 2008 I joined Twitter. I wasn’t sure what it was all about, but back then I experimented a lot with things so I could write about them here. After about a month I wasn’t sure I was a fan of the platform, but but a couple of months later I started seeing its appeal.

The year 2008 was a very intriguing year for America. That’s the year Barack Obama was running for president against John McCain, and though I really wasn’t overly interested initially (which would have shocked me 10 years earlier), I knew early who I’d be voting for.

The power of Twitter was intriguing because one could see people all around the country talking about politics in ways one had never seen before, live and online… and at a certain point things started getting kind of ugly.

Politics is a subject I really hate talking about. Because of politics I almost left social media and blogging last year. I still try to stay out of it, except for health care (since I’m a health care finance consultant) but it’s not easy to do, and certainly wasn’t during the campaign of 2008.

What I started seeing was a lot of hate being directed at Obama. The problem people had with him wasn’t his politics… it was “him”. That’s when the birther lies started, and people who were against him not only wanted the courts to say he wasn’t a real American (thus, couldn’t run for president), but some of them actually started questioning his race (which none of them were qualified to do).

That was a problem for me, but it got worse than that. Back then I was connected to a lot of people who I’d heard of but didn’t know personally. Many of them were top level internet marketers and supposed social media professionals, people I’d wanted to learn from and a couple I’d actually talked to. Unfortunately, some of those people jumped on the “birther” bandwagon and some of them questioned his calling himself “black”.

If there’s one thing that’s definitely unforgivable to me, it when I feel that someone’s being racist. The birther thing was absolutely racist; there was no other reason for using it against him. If you believe there was, please stop reading and leave now because I’m not even going to entertain a conversation about it… not on MY blog.

What did I do? I immediately stopped following all of those people and removing any other links to them that I had. I went through the blog and deleted any comments that some of them might have left and all my responses to them. I was connected to a couple of them on LinkedIn and I killed those as well. I told myself that I would never, and I meant EVER, interact “nicely” with any of those people again.

Me & my cousin Mike πŸ™‚

Years ago I wrote a post here where I talked about there being times when people exhibit inappropriate behavior and how irritating it is to me. In this particular instance, I couldn’t believe that business people would forget themselves and say some of the most hateful stuff in public on a forum like Twitter. It’s a commonplace thing people do now, even though people are watching us all the time on social media, and when they get called on it they’re shocked that people are reacting negatively to it and want to fall back on their “freedom of speech” rights without realizing that rights and consequences are sometimes a dichotomy.

Where am I going with this? Hold on; the story’s not over! πŸ™‚

In the last few years, some of those people I dropped all those years ago have suddenly started following me on Twitter again. Their memories are either much shorter than mine or they hadn’t realized I’d left them all those years ago. However, it’s not just those people.

There are a few other people that I’ve dropped for “cause”; people who irked me, people who decided to react badly to something I’ve said to them when trying to be nice (a couple I wasn’t nice to I have to admit…), people I tried to help when I thought they needed it and they reacted badly to it… basically, people whose bad behavior I decided I didn’t need to take anymore and was glad to be rid of them. Sometimes it had nothing specific to do with me but touched upon something I care about; sometimes it was someone attempting to bully me in my own web space; ain’t putting up with that.

The best thing about not being religious is that I get to ignore all those people who talk about the act of forgiveness, that it’s more for me than them. Nope, sorry, ain’t happening. I don’t cut people off lightly, so their behavior or action has to be particularly egregious for me to decide they’re not worth my time anymore.

Loss of compassion for others; you’re not worth my time. Targeting women on social media; if I get the chance I’m calling you out (it’s ugly when I do lol). If you have no ethical base on social media, you probably don’t have one in real life and I don’t need to deal with you.

If you’ve wronged me, don’t even think about coming back; I never forget. It might be a bad habit but so be it. Everyone has standards; mine are loyalty, honesty and trustworthiness… in that order. There may be things people don’t like about me, but no one can ever say I violated any of those 3 things if they think about it… even if they ended up not liking something I did anyway.

I put this question out to the masses; do you forgive people for their bad behavior, whether it’s toward you or not? If you do, can you ever trust those people again? Do you think people are one thing on social media and another in person, and if you believe that do you think it’s appropriate? Finally, would you work with, buy from, or be friends “again” with someone who exhibits this type of behavior towards you?

Not me… sorry, not sorry.

27 thoughts on “Sorry, But I Remember Your Unethical Behavior”

  1. Hey Mitch, I don’t believe I’ve ever ditched somebody for bad behaviour, but then I’m not as active on social media as you are.

    Having said that, if I was wronged, the only way I would forgive them is if they could prove to me they have changed.

    1. Pete, I do the same in real life, but here I was only writing about social media. You know, most of the time we don’t get to know people all that well online, so when we think we know something about them and they suddenly exhibit bad behavior I don’t want to take the time I might use in person to deal with it. So much easier to just move on with life.

  2. I have a twitter account but it is mostly inactive. I have unfriended quite a few from my facebook account. I don’t think that I am on your blacklist! I can assure you that you are not on mine.

    1. Rummuser, you’ve never done anything that would put you on my blacklist, and we’ve had nearly 10 years of conversation and blogging so I know what you’re about. It’s those people we think are one thing and they turn out to be another that I’m sure both of us have had to deal with from time to time.

  3. Hey Mitch. I would say I also never forget, but I don’t believe I am as unforgiving. I appreciate all of the references to earlier articles. I’ll be reading those as well.

    1. Patrick, I just don’t have the time to deal with folks online who are being mean or treating others or myself badly. I can’t think of a single thing that would encourage me to give them another chance; best to move on.

  4. You’re right Mitch, there’s no real reason to work that out. It’s clear that someone who’s intention is to hurt someone else online also has problems as a member of society.

  5. I absolutely do not believe that social media makes monsters out of otherwise decent human beings. I do believe it gives the monsters an illusion of anonymity (most of them are too stupid to realize they CAN be traced); it also gives them an easy way to find one another (though I enjoy thinking of them thinking 1000 random eastern European bots are their “friends”).

    Do I forgive? Yes. Maybe. Depends on what they did. Of course, some crimes aren’t really forgivable. But religious or not, letting go of anger and other negative emotions lets me let go of the person altogether – you know what they say, “Resentment is like letting your enemy live rent free in your head.”

    Do I forget? It depends on whether that person is likely to have an opportunity to take advantage of me or hurt me again.

    Trust has to be earned; it takes ten times longer to earn it BACK, and it takes a lot more effort than earning and keeping it in the first place.

    Would I work with such people or do business with them? Again, it depends; I’m fairly good at compartmentalizing and can think of a few examples where I have done exactly that. I wouldn’t go out of my way for their benefit, no. But how I behave towards others is about ME; how they behave is about them. I’m not going to reflect their bad behavior just because they dearly deserve it.

    One final note: If someone is harassing you online, or engaging in cyberbullying, CONTACT THE POLICE. Do not engage, do not play, do not threaten or think about it. Just do it. It’s not a game.

    If someone’s just being an ordinary jerk, though, feel free to cut them out of your life; that’s your prerogative.

    1. Great stuff Holly. The only one where we’d part is the comment about possibly working with someone again. In this case I’m a “cut off your nose to spite your face” kind of guy. In a way, it’s like the way I block javascript on my computer makes me miss a number of posts and websites; I can always find what I need elsewhere so I don’t worry about it. If I couldn’t then I figure I didn’t really need it.

  6. Hi Mitch,

    I don’t get into political or religious discussions on social media. I stay away from that. I have seen stuff playout between two friends because of politics and it’s sad.

    I’ve never unfriended anyone because of their preferences but then I’ve never had a heated discussion with anyone to get that far. πŸ™‚

    Great post Mitch! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    1. Hi Cori. I don’t get into a lot of those discussions, but on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn you can’t “unsee” a lot of things (although there are words and phrases we can block). This means that even though I’m not participating, I see things in my stream occasionally, and it inadvertently lets me learn more about people I might be connected to. If it’s stuff I don’t like they have to go; sometimes it’s all about keeping one’s peace of mind. πŸ™‚

  7. Sir,

    To my mind we have only two kind of people in entire world… good people…. bad people.

    So even your intentions are good and you suggest improvements, bad people will always react negatively. But there are set of good people who will appreciate too. So we should always be prepared for appreciation and criticism both, for whatever we do. Criticism should not demotivate us from doing good things. We just need to ignore it.

    1. It’s hard to divide people by just good or bad because there are so many degrees in the middle. For instance, a vegan might see me as a bad person because I eat meat, but generally they don’t view my goodness or badness based on the type of food others eat. I think overall we have to be who we are and act accordingly, while realizing that the possibility of consequences is always hanging around the edges. If you’re intention is to be mean, that’s going to fare worse than if your intentions are good. In my opinion that’s a pretty good mantra to carry around.

  8. I’m not a big fan of twitter and I started in 2009. And, I absolutely hate when people discuss politics or religion on any social media platform. It’s inappropriate and all it does is make people mad. Yes, you will lose followers…but worse, you can lose real friends.

    1. It’s more than politics Rich. In one of the links I shared I talked about a local story where a young girl was killed and how half of the comments were mean and hateful… against her & her family, even though she was the victim. Overall I think politics and religion are topics I’d rather not get into, but when those are the topics people want to discuss at least they could try to be civil about it instead of hateful, racist, misogynist… etc. I’ll drop all those people like a fruit (I don’t like most fruit lol) and not look back.

  9. I believe many people who first disliked Obama and what he represented back then would have changed their perspective about him today. Forgiving others can be very difficult but sometimes there is need to forgive others in order to move on and welcome new changes. This is something I have had to do recently. It was so liberating to forgive and just forget about others who don’t even give a damn about you anyway.

    1. I used Obama and 2008 as a lead in to the general topic. I don’t think conservatives ever gave him a break; even last year there were idiots still talking about the birther issue, let alone calling him a Muslim (as if that’s an insult). The subject matter is never the problem; it’s about how people act in these situations.

      As for the forgiveness thing, I tend to believe that it’s more of a religious concept than anything else because the only folks who ever talk about it use it in context of their religion. Me not having a religion or believing in anything, the concept is pretty much anathema to me, probably because it takes extremely bad behavior (or breaking one of my 3 main morality points) for me to even have to get to the point where the concept even thinks about coming into play. I know it works for some people and I’m happy for those folks… including you. πŸ™‚

  10. I wonder what Rich Witt would feel are “appropriate” topics for SOCIAL media?

    Personally, I’d like to see less advertising and commercial speech, less hate speech, and less admonishment to others to avoid topics that don’t interest the speaker. (Or really, the writer, in most cases.) We spend too much time judging others on trivialities, and not ENOUGH time on critical thinking. We are called to WASTE time disputing misinformation and outright lies. We are subjected to others proselytizing and praising this version of God or that. There are tools called “mute” and “block” and “report.” Use THOSE appropriately, and it’s a start.

    1. That’s the direction I went in, blocking people and topics instead of condemning people for talking about certain topics. I’d be naive to believe I could stop people from talking about anything if I had the ability to try, but I also believe that there are lots of topics people don’t want to talk about (diversity for instance) where, without a conversation, there’s never going to be a chance to fix things.

  11. “As for the forgiveness thing, I tend to believe that it’s more of a religious concept than anything else because the only folks who ever talk about it use it in context of their religion. Me not having a religion or believing in anything, the concept is pretty much anathema to me…”

    Er, Mitch? Look up the origins of the word “anathema.” You confuse me, sometimes.

  12. Yeah. I said “look up the origins of the word.”

    I’m just applying your logic, re: “forgive.”

    (Your reading timer’s twitchy. I don’t have to read the post EVERY time I comment! πŸ˜› How long should it take me to type this up? Shall I write you a novel, just to be a thorn in your side?)

    1. Course we both know I’m not going to look up the origins of the word; I used it properly based on its meaning now.

      As for the timer, Andy didn’t build anything to differentiate between initial and subsequent visits so I’m stuck fighting the good fight against spammers instead (especially since the overwhelming number of people who visit never come back with a follow up response to my comment on their comment lol).

      1. Less time, more keyups?

        Just follow the link I gave you. Sheesh. I even did it right. Least you can do is look.

      2. Sigh… okay, I went to read the thing. What it basically told me is that the bible once again stole something from another culture and tried to make it their own… and a bad thing at that. Yeah, I know… incorrigible…

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