I kinda feel like I shouldn’t have to write this…but here we are watching the aftermath of Roseanne Barr’s tweet. Before I get started, I’d like to make some observations:
- She’s not the only one to ever say something ridiculously crazy or stupid on social media. She won’t be the last.
- ABC was fully within their right to cancel her show. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. You can boycott them all you want, but if you don’t support the NFL players kneeling, you’re a hypocrite. A giant one. You don’t get to pick and choose who should be protected by the First Amendment.
- Roseanne Barr isn’t hurting for money. This doesn’t hurt anything but her pride. She’s not gonna starve to death on the street (which is likely why she felt no shame until the backlash hit and that’s when she decided to blame Ambien and making a “joke.” It’s always a “joke” when mean people get held accountable for what they say or do).
- When you compare a black person to someone from Planet of the Apes (or an ape), you’re making a racist swing. Even average no-name (meaning not famous) doctors have been punished for such nonsense. You don’t get more First Amendment privilege because you’re rich.
So, is this post really about Roseanne Barr? No. I concur with Valerie Jarrett. This is a teachable moment. A big one. Like I said, Roseanne Barr isn’t hurting for money. She’ll be fine. Rather, this is a moment where you should learn how to not commit social media suicide since you’re not filthy rich.
So, I’ve put together this how-to guide (tips are in no particular order).
When in Doubt, Just Shut the Fuck Up
What you say on social media can and will haunt you forever. Even if you delete your tweet / post, people screenshot things. Someone, somewhere who doesn’t like you is watching every account you have and just waiting for you to say something particularly untoward so they can try and ruin your life with it. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner (or hell, even a big business owner), this can be financially devastating.
So, while it’s fine to state your unpopular and probably uneducated opinion (even if many people agree with you), it’s probably a good idea to think twice especially if it involves comparing a person or group of people to fictional characters from a movie centered around Homonoidea of any kind.
Just Because You Can Say It Doesn’t Mean You Should
Freedom of speech means you’re free to say what you want, but you are not free from the consequences of it. Always remember that social media (and the Internet) creates a permanent record of your best and your dumbest moments. You can have any opinion you want about anyone you want, but the moment you voice it, you’re subject to hearing other people about how they feel about your stupidity.
It’s Easy to Be Outed as a Hypocrite
“Them thar overpaid ball players oughta done be kicked out. Them thar overpaid ball players oughta show more respect for the flag and country. They aint got no right! Oh, hell naw, they pickin’ on Roseanne! She gots Freedom of Speech!”
That’s pretty much what you sound like when you are an obvious hypocrite. You can’t have it both ways. Either everyone gets freedom of speech or no one does. It’s cool to me if the NFL wants to fine / suspend players for protesting on the job…just like it’s fine to me that Roseanne was canceled.
Being a hypocrite when you’re a small business owner, especially when it’s noticed on social media, can cost you clients. It can cost you potential clients. It can damage your reputation.
Hire a Professional to Read Your Social Media and Post for You
If you’re prone to saying really stupid stuff that could hurt your business, hire a social media professional. Even if you separate out your business and personal social media accounts, it’s not hard for your business to be tainted by saying something that your grandma would have washed your mouth out for. (Mine would have slapped me for saying something like that…and if your granny wouldn’t, you didn’t have a good one!)
Hire someone to read over your posts and to place them in Buffer, Hootsuite, Crowdfire, or whatever so they go out on your behalf. It’s like a filter you pay to have installed on your house to take the nasty shit out of your water.
My grandmother would have told you one thing about me: I’ve mastered “Oklahoma diplomacy.” That’s the art of telling someone to fuck off in such a way that they look forward to it. You must learn how to disagree and to post your disagreement to social media without being hateful or disagreeable. The whole world is watching you. And there really is such a thing as “bad” publicity.
Just Stay Away from Heated Subjects
See “Learn Diplomacy.” However, it’s often best to just stay away from heated subjects on social media. It’s one thing to retweet or post a link to a legitimate news story and give your opinion in a way that’s mature and honest. It’s ridiculous and immature to name call over a difference in opinion. Seriously, how old are you? 5? “You disagree with me? Well, you’re a big stupid meanie head!”
When you result to name calling, you’ve lost the argument.
Realize That Being Ugly Doesn’t Win Anyone to Your Side
I don’t give a shit how right you may be and if all the statistics and facts in the world back you up on whatever you’re spouting off about. If you act mean or ugly on social media (or in real life) you will win very few true believers to your cause. You may win some people by fear and intimidation, but that just makes you a bully. If you want people to start seeing your side of things, show some fucking compassion for people who are different from you.
Know better. Do better. Be better. Do not commit social media suicide. And then blame everything but yourself for it. If you’re going to say something outrageously stupid, own up.