I saw a post over the weekend that really had me thinking I was living in a Monty Python film. Here’s the jist of what it was about.
Someone made a tweet.
Another person saw the tweet and called the first person out because they felt something was wrong with the tweet.
So then, according to this post, a third person called out the second person, saying they really shouldn’t have called out the first person.
The post itself was kind of calling out all 3 people.
Really? Are we all on a playground and really interested in pushing, shoving, and then telling on each other? Um, like, totally yuck.
So, that’s it. I’m calling you out.
Why “calling out” is detrimental
Apart from the fact that I generally hate the phrase “calling out” (I don’t know why, this hatred is irrational), there are some really good reasons not to engage in this “calling out” behavior online. Here are just a few.
• If you “call out” people a lot, your profile is going to look like just a bunch of snipey, snarky comments. Now, if you’re going for that, I don’t want to stand in your way. But first impressions and all that…
• If you keep calling out the same person, people are going to assume that you are feeling a little green. Not nauseous (although maybe), but envious. Even if you have the greatest points in the world, if you keep picking at the same person in a public venue, you will start looking pouty to other people.
• People will start becoming afraid of talking to you because they don’t want to say something that will cause you to call them out. People are unaware of your call-out boundaries, you see.
And now, ways to discuss rather than call out
This is not meant to be a muzzle. I’m not placing a mask over your face reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. I don’t even have such a mask, if you want the truth. I fully believe that most things can be debated. Is the sky blue? Eh, I don’t know. I see it as aqua. See? But there are ways to debate in a civil fashion and then there is the kind of icky, immature, slightly irritating “calling out” methodology.
So, how can you debate a point with someone so that other people can learn what you are trying to teach without you throwing pie in someone’s face? Well, here are some ideas.
• “I just saw your tweet and am wondering why you approached it that way. Care to share? You can DM me if you want.”
• “I had heard that tweeting the way you just did is not considered a best practice. What is your objective in tweeting that way?”
• “Hey, I just noticed your tweet and I think you may have forgotten to….”
See? Isn’t that just as good as listening to a CD of the ocean or practicing some Yoga and meditation? The calmness of it all just will wash over your Twitter stream, and everyone will not only lower their respective blood pressures but they will also learn (or ask you to expand upon) your point.
What a great deal!
And that’s not all
You may think I’m offering you quite a deal here. A calm Twitter stream, helping your followers learn things, and looking all grown up all in one fell swoop? What could possibly be added to this great deal?
Well, if you approach someone you disagree with from a standpoint of wanting to learn and teach, you might actually end up developing a relationship of respect or even (wait for it) appreciation. That’s right, building a conversation and then a continuing interaction around an initial disagreement can actually be the foundation for an extremely strong friendship.
Holy cow. What a deal!
I understand that calling out has a lot of perks. To be completely transparent, here are some downsides of refraining from the “call-out” methodology.
• You may not get to present yourself as the top authority on everything ever
• Your traffic may not spike as much as it does when you call someone out
• You don’t get to take your angst out on a person who lives in your computer -a punching bag may be in your future.
• You may not get as much attention in general if you refrain from “calling out” people who have big Social Media followings. A puppy may be in your future.
And there are probably other downsides that I’m just not thinking of. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons, I guess, and decide in which direction you wish to travel.
So what do you think?
Can we maybe move away from the “I’m calling you out” end of the spectrum and maybe move a bit more towards grown-up conversation? I’m not asking you to use phrases like “My respected colleague” on Twitter. I mean, I’m not that much of an idealist. But maybe kind of inching towards that way, it could be nice, right? Maybe?
Weigh in on this issue, woncha please? I promise, I won’t call you out.