A Bad Night On Facebook

I spent a great deal of time as Stef was growing up trying to get her to understand intentions are often more important than results. I hope my former Facebook friend’s family feels that way too.

I had a little time extra tonight so I scanned Facebook looking at my friends’ posts. I suspect most people who friend me because they know me from TV don’t think I look. I do. I read your words and often peruse your photos. I don’t see everything because of the volume that comes from having around 4,000 friends!

From time-to-time someone will post something that strikes me and I’ll reply. It’s a shot in-the-dark. This is usually my first contact with a friend since accepting their initial request.

I did that tonight.

A Facebook friend was upset TV coverage cut away from the football game when there was an injury. I thought that was unusual. Then from her profile I saw that was her training! This was professional curiosity speaking. It made sense for her, but in the abstract it was an odd reason to get upset.

I hit reply and posted something… I don’t remember the exact words, but it ended by saying it was nice to have a Facebook friend who was a sadist (or words to that effect).

Obviously anyone who read her wall (her real friends) would get he joke. She didn’t!

I got an angry message from her mom.

Your assumption and post alluding to the fact that her comment made her a sadist was insulting to both her and to me. Why would you jump to such a conclusion and, better yet, make it in such a public way? Couldn’t you have sent her a private message, as I am doing with you now, instead? After she explained herself in a reply, I was sure you would respond and waited a while before sending this message. I was trying to decide whether you were kidding or whether you were protecting your public image. I now believe you were not kidding and XXXX’s public image is just as important to her and me as yours is to you. She was so insulted about your comment that she deleted it from her page but, as far as I am concerned, the damage was already done…as most assuredly that comment showed up on the News Feed pages of all those who are Facebook friends of the both of you. I would like to see an apology to my daughter in the same public manner as you made the comment and hope that you will actually do so.

Yikes! I was only trying to be friendly by popping in on her wall, but no good deed goes unpunished.

Now instead of “Guess who wrote on my wall?” she’s probably saying, “What an a***ole.”

I replied to her mom. Hopefully my apology is accepted.

I spent a great deal of time as Stef was growing up trying to get her to understand intentions are often more important than results. I hope my former Facebook friend’s family feels that way too.

13 thoughts on “A Bad Night On Facebook”

  1. You would hope that in today’s day in age, with technology and typed words being used as often as they are, that people wouldn’t assume the worst when it comes to reading someone’s posts on the internet. A lot of people have trouble with reading tone through text.

    It looks like this was one of those cases. Don’t worry, Geoff, it happens to the best of us.

  2. Wow, Geoff. I appreciate the post and want to be sure that you and your readers know that the misunderstanding has been resolved and that there are no hard feelings…on our part and I hope on yours as well.

  3. Ah, the joys of the written word. My brother in law once posted some stupid comment about women having no place on submarines and what is this world coming to type comment to which I responded he should watch what he says and perhaps it was best if we just stayed barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. It was friendly banter between he and I but his son obviously didn’t think it was amusing and told me to GFY after calling me some other choice words as well. It turned into a big argument between myself, my husband, and various other members of the family because the bottom line was this “kid” was way over the line on that one. Needless to say I have not invited him into my home since. The joys of FB….

  4. I’m finding that I’ve started to censor myself on Facebook for the same reason you give. I have a fairly sarcastic sense of humor that on the written page may translate as different than my real intent. I’ve had family and friends (who know my humor) question whether I was joking or not. I grant them that unlike face to face it is tougher to see the intent in the written word, but it seems that people are ready to jump to the conclusion of hostile intent these days. Thats sad. I’m glad that it appears the person understands now where you were coming from.

  5. Wow Geoff! I feel so much better about the comment I made about my first exposure to stage makeup. It does hurt ones feelings to think one has hurt feelings. It can really ruin your day. Glad all is resolved here!

  6. 1. We need to develop language that will transmit a “just kidding” or this was meant in a light-hearted vein.

    2. People need to become a whole lot less sensitive in the “type before you think” world of the internet.

    3. How old is the daughter that mom needs to jump in to defend her. My kids are all adults and capable defending themselves online.

  7. I don’t know Geoff! We don’t know each other yet we’ve had some pretty decent disagreements. I don’t hold it against you and I’m pretty certain you don’t hold it against me. 😉 We just don’t agree on some things. Maybe people need to insert emoticons more often and try to interpret them instead of words.

  8. glad it was resolved. We are always learning. Sometimes it can be painful. We make mistakes about motives or fail to communicate. Most losses are recoverable, if people listen to each other.

  9. Dear Geoff,
    People need to get over themselves. Are you not human and entitled to your opinion?
    Even if your tone was cynical so what? It’s just your opinion anyway.

  10. I was watching the same game, and I found it very odd they cut away to commercial every time the trainer trotted out. I seem to recall they would only cut away if the injury was bad, or if it looked like it would take a while. In this game, they cut away for the guy who jammed his shoulder! Is it an opportunity to get more commercials in? Am I just insensitive? Have I not been paying attention? Am I a sadist? 😉

  11. Sometimes you can’t win no matter how hard you try. Right now I’ve been unfriended by members of my family for making light of a comment posted on Facebook by my daughter. I know the comment was made in jest, but they took it wrong, I think they’re being silly and presto! A mouse was clicked and I’m unfriended….or is it “unfamilied? I have a much thicker skin… I think some of the charm of FB is the element of surprise! 😀

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