What the Hell is Wrong With People?

Imagine you are a software developer, a writer, or an artist. You have something to sell. You walk into a boardroom, a party, or a social gathering where people are interested in what you’ve got to say about your product. Chit-chat is encouraged, people are making small talk. You talk about yourself and talk up your product a bit. You want these people to take an interest in you and your product.

You wouldn’t, if you have any sense at all, start mouthing off about the scumbag Democrats who are forcing their socialist agendas on “us” hard-working Americans. You wouldn’t go on about how Obama is stealing our money, is going to throw people in jail for not buying government health care, and wants to control every aspect of our lives. You wouldn’t go on about how the only people exercising a government health care option would be lazy freeloaders, just like those on welfare and imply that we should be burning flags as a form of protest. You wouldn’t, if you had a brain in your head, jeopardize the success of your product and your business over your inability to keep your mouth shut about politics in a room full of people who are not there to discuss politics.

So why the hell would you do it on Twitter?

I followed someone, until this morning, because I wanted to hear about his software development. I liked reading what he wrote about his life and times. What I don’t like reading is hatred and venom (and it was pure hatred, thick and rich) directed toward people like me, people who believe that while government may not be perfect, helping those less fortunate is a virtue. Say what you like about health care reform, but there is a time and a place for everything, and while you may think that everyone who follows you wants to hear your rants, you’re wrong.

Look, believe whatever you want. Say whatever you want. I’m not suggesting that people should censor themselves if they want to use Twitter as a soapbox. Just make sure you understand the consequences. You’ll lose followers, and maybe because I’m not getting updates about your software anymore I’ll end up using a competitor’s product. When the vast majority of your followers are only doing so because of the software you’ve written, understand that when you piss them off, they’re going to leave.

Worse than that though? I’m an affiliate for this particular product. Piss me off, and maybe I’ll start promoting your competitors (and there are a lot to choose from). You still want to bitch about health care on Twitter? Even if it costs you sales? Are you sure mixing business and personal is the best route to take?

Spread it around!

Comments

  1. Scott Jangro says:

    oooh ohhh, I know who you're talking about!

    If this is who I think this is, I don't think he cares.

    The luxury of being super-successful in spite of your behavior. I actually think his personality has a lot to do with his success, so it sort of goes both ways.

  2. You probably do know, Scott… and I'm sure you're right and he doesn't care. But that's a point of view that I don't get, either – it's one thing to be controversial or confrontational if that's your gig (I'm thinking of the political pundits on TV/radio here), but if you're just a software developer and you care about selling your goods, I don't see how personality fits that squarely into it. Seems odd to me. Could be I'm just looking at it from a different perspective, I guess.

  3. JPS says:

    Daniel, I agree with you, business and politics don't mix very well and it is really stupid to alienate your customers by talking publicly about controversial topics. Perhaps you haven't noticed it, but people on your side of the fence are just as guilty of spreading hate and venom as the anti-Obama crowd.

    I'm a conservative who does not support Obama or the new health care bill, but that does not mean that I don't believe “helping those less fortunate is a virtue”. I don't believe for a second that this bloated bill will end up helping the less fortunate. That's my opinion and I could be wrong, but it doesn't necessarily make me an evil person.

    I've been indirectly called racist, insensitive, anti-woman and even a poor parent on Twitter by people that I do business with and by people that I consider to be my friends. I've frequently had to listen to the hatred and venom aimed at a President that I supported and helped elect.

    I get along fine with people who have different opinions then me, that's what makes life interesting. But, like you, I have stopped following people who spew hatred and venom.

  4. danielmclark says:

    And during the Bush years, I was called un-American, unpatriotic, and I've spent my entire adult life being called a godless, communist, socialist, brainless liberal by people on your side of the fence – directly in person, not indirectly on Twitter. I could also point out that during the Bush years, you guys screamed that we had to support our president because we were at war – yet we are still at war, and you guys aren't so keen to support the current president. We have Republican members of Congress stating that they will not support any bill that seeks to reform the health care system in America *regardless of what is in the bill* simply because it's what the Democrats want. How that is worthy of admiration, I'll never know.

    As for the bloated health care bill, I have two words for you: Patriot Act. A bloated bill that stripped Americans of basic civil liberties that you guys rammed through in the dead of night with virtually nobody reading it or even understanding it. While it's no excuse for a lack of understanding of the current health care bill, it does mean that you guys don't get to complain about it being rushed through Congress.

    I don't think you're a racist. I don't think you're insensitive, anti-woman or a poor parent. We agree on at least one thing, which you stated at the outset of your comment, and I'm sure if we compared notes, we probably agree on a lot more, too (this current bill for example, isn't my idea of perfection). I used to play poker and throw darts with a good friend across the street from where we lived. His father was a military general, and his family was about as conservative as they come. But we were good friends who just never argued politics because we knew it was pointless. What was I going to do, turn this 38 year old life-long conservative into a leftie? Ha! And he wasn't going to change my leanings, either. Doesn't mean we couldn't be good friends.

    And that's Twitter – and Facebook – for me, now. I don't want to talk politics, and I'll unfollow anyone that goes overboard with the rhetoric (another thing we agree on ;))

  5. JPS says:

    Daniel, I agree with you, business and politics don't mix very well and it is really stupid to alienate your customers by talking publicly about controversial topics. Perhaps you haven't noticed it, but people on your side of the fence are just as guilty of spreading hate and venom as the anti-Obama crowd.

    I'm a conservative who does not support Obama or the new health care bill, but that does not mean that I don't believe “helping those less fortunate is a virtue”. I don't believe for a second that this bloated bill will end up helping the less fortunate. That's my opinion and I could be wrong, but it doesn't necessarily make me an evil person.

    I've been indirectly called racist, insensitive, anti-woman and even a poor parent on Twitter by people that I do business with and by people that I consider to be my friends. I've frequently had to listen to the hatred and venom aimed at a President that I supported and helped elect.

    I get along fine with people who have different opinions then me, that's what makes life interesting. But, like you, I have stopped following people who spew hatred and venom.

  6. danielmclark says:

    And during the Bush years, I was called un-American, unpatriotic, and I've spent my entire adult life being called a godless, communist, socialist, brainless liberal by people on your side of the fence – directly in person, not indirectly on Twitter. I could also point out that during the Bush years, you guys screamed that we had to support our president because we were at war – yet we are still at war, and you guys aren't so keen to support the current president. We have Republican members of Congress stating that they will not support any bill that seeks to reform the health care system in America *regardless of what is in the bill* simply because it's what the Democrats want. How that is worthy of admiration, I'll never know.

    As for the bloated health care bill, I have two words for you: Patriot Act. A bloated bill that stripped Americans of basic civil liberties that you guys rammed through in the dead of night with virtually nobody reading it or even understanding it. While it's no excuse for a lack of understanding of the current health care bill, it does mean that you guys don't get to complain about it being rushed through Congress. I know you didn't bring that up directly, but it was on my mind.

    I don't think you're a racist. I don't think you're insensitive, anti-woman or a poor parent. We agree on at least one thing, which you stated at the outset of your comment, and I'm sure if we compared notes, we probably agree on a lot more, too (this current bill for example, isn't my idea of perfection). I used to play poker and throw darts with a good friend across the street from where we lived. His father was a military general, and his family was about as conservative as they come. But we were good friends who just never argued politics because we knew it was pointless. What was I going to do, turn this 38 year old life-long conservative into a leftie? Ha! And he wasn't going to change my leanings, either. Doesn't mean we couldn't be good friends.

    And that's Twitter – and Facebook – for me, now. I don't want to talk politics, and I'll unfollow anyone that goes overboard with the rhetoric (another thing we agree on ;))

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