Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm a fan of #SMmanners (most of the time)

OK, the post is a little misleading. In all honesty, I LOVE #SMmanners totally and completely. However, there comes a time when the rules need to be thrown out. About two years ago, I had such an example of when I put my reputation on the line in support of another human being who was under pressure from another user on twitter.

There was a mom blogger who was also a military spouse. As a parent, our biggest fear has always, and will always be losing one of our children. This mom blogger had been out tweeting during the day with her kids and taking pictures of the forest, ducks, and everything in between. However, there was a silence for a couple hours and then an update that stopped me in my tracks. "Just found 2 yr old in the pool, on our way to ER, please pray". My heart sank for someone I had never met in real life but had interacted with numerous times online.

And so the support for her poured in. God was inundated with prayers from people all around the world. AND THEN, the most horrible and unimaginable thing happened. Someone went on the offensive and said "we need to verify that this isn't a scam. Don't send money until it's verified". This was just the beginning unfortunately. Further tweets and blog posts said "if she hadn't been tweeting, this child would still be alive". Up until that remark, I had kept my mouth shut and minded my manners. This was the straw that broke the camels back.

The business man in me said "keep your mouth shut and mind your own business". The man, father, husband, Navy Vet, and proud American in me shouted "KICK HER ASS SEABASS". Needless to say, the business man was locked in the basement. I started a twitter war of words with this woman. I threw all caution to the wind and did what was right. I stood up for a woman who was grieving, and was now being attacked by the one tooth wonder. (By the way, I'm doing my best to keep this as PG as possible, but even after almost two years, my blood still boils thinking about it)

Yes, I cursed, spoke like a sailor, probably offended a large portion of my following with my language and vulgarity. But the most important thing about the whole situation is I did was was right. I've always loved the saying "What may be popular may not be right, and what may be right may not be popular". In this instance, I've been told I was simply saying what everyone else didn't have the courage to say. Which is fine by me. Hell, I've been known to hop into battles and ruin my own reputation to defend others. Why did my reputation get damaged? EH who knows. Maybe it was my means to an end (read talking and acting like a sailor). Which in northern california is often frowned upon. That's another post.

In the end, I received many thanks from other mom bloggers (while also seeing my follower count dwindle). However, a few lessons were learned during this whole ordeal. I can be a best friend, or a worst enemy. I don't relish battle one bit, but I know it's a reality. It was my reality for 4 years in the Navy from 2000-2004.

Did I break every Social Media Manner in the rule book? I'm pretty sure I did. Did I meet some wonderful people in the process? You bet. Did I lose over half the people that followed me? Yes. Was it worth it? OH YEAH. I asked myself the question before I engaged in twitter war "Is this juice worth the squeeze? Will it damage my online presence in the process? The answer to both questions was Yes. But ultimately, That juice was worth the squeeze.

And lastly, the one thing that has come up in conversation over the past couple months is just how many people saw what I did, and subsequently followed me. Those same people have become friends, allies, business partners, and confidantes. I'm the one willing to take the heat when the situation calls for it. I'm the friend who answers the phone at 3 in the morning to pick you up if you had too much to drink. I'm the one who drops what I'm doing to help out those in need. This in the end, was worth more to most people than what others deemed as having poor social media manners.

Has there ever been a time where you had to throw manners aside to stop a thorn in your side or someone else's? If you saw the battle that happened then, what were your thoughts? Was I right or should I have kept my mouth shut? Looking forward to your responses!


  1. I LOVE this story Justin...and the most important reason because it lead me to YOU!

    I recall the day this unimaginable event occurred. I sat watching as the bully attacked the grieving mother and I too, had much to say. Yet, unlike you...I kept it rated G, although my thoughts were far from it. I then saw you do what I was unable to. You said things to her that I was thinking, yet did not say out of fear of breaking the very Social Media Manners code I speak to.

    Something happened in that moment. I respected you. I admired you. I then connected with you and now have the privilege of calling you one of my close friends.

    Being true to who you are is so important. To risk the fear of what others may say takes courage. To do it as a rescue mission for a grieving mother was beyond unselfish. Although you had broken every "rule" of Social Media Manners, I became your biggest fan.

    As a a person with a soul, my heart broke for the pain for a mother who was facing the pain of losing a child. I understood the mother's need to share with her social media friends. I get it. You get it. Most do not. The women who attacked the grieving mom was simply put, a bully. Your loyalty to someone you call an online friend was a gift to the grieving mother and I thank you for giving it to her.

    We are talking in real life, only on line and many of us have connected on the phone and in person as well. Global friendships are fabulous and have afforded me the opportunity to meet many men and women of brilliance who I call business partners, clients and fiends... Like you.

    So I now say it out loud with no restraint and no fear of what others may say. I applaud you for your lack of Social Media Manners in that moment. You gave us all a reminder that the treatment of another person is far more important then risking the loss of a a few followers or clients.

    YOU are AMAZING!



  2. Thank you Dabney! I forgot to mention in my post that one of my favorite movies is Rudy. My favorite song is "Underdog" by Audio Adrenaline. I've always felt like the underdog, and I've been bullied in my life. There is a large part of my heart reserved for those who need an advocate (or bruiser) in their corner when they cannot stand up for themselves. In this instance, Military_mom needed both an advocate and a bruiser. I wouldn't have done it any other way, and I simple don't regret standing up for someone that desperately needed it.

    And yes, you are one of the great people that I met because of this event. It's been a fun ride getting to know you, sharing knowledge, and becoming friends. I'm a lucky guy to know you. and Vic is a lucky SOB to be in a relationship with you!

    Keep being awesome. And know I'll always be in your corner and have your back :)

  3. I'm not afraid to speak up in defense of others. I just try to be clear in my mind whether I'm doing it for the other person or whether it's my own stuff that has gotten me riled up.

    It's easy in the hit and run world of social media for people to thoughtlessly post a rude comment that hits a nerve. You might be warranted to respond in either case but I like to be aware whether I'm really acting on behalf of a friend (or anyone being attacked) or whether I simply think this person is a jerk and I'm pissed off.