South Florida Film Maker Dan Perez, who is known on Twitter as @DanPerezFilms has a reputation. He loves to jump into a stream or a chat and stir the pot. Some may say that he is provocative, others may say he is a jerk.
When I first met him, or shall I say first tweeted him I thought the latter. He continuously popped into various chats such as Leadership Chat or Ungeeked and would just pounce on chatters like a pitbull on a trespasser. If it was okay to curse I would have just called him an @$$. (hopefully everyone can read that)
While I wasn’t fond of his behavior, it didn’t really bother me much. At least not until he did it to me.
I had only observed his behavior from afar until one Tuesday evening in leadership chat I became the honorary recipient. On that particular night we were discussing managing and leading personnel and I was chiming in with my wisdom. While I and several others were engaging he decided to question one of my comments. (I wish I could remember the exact one, but let’s just say it was one that I was quite proud of)
I literally stopped in my tracks and thought…
Who in the world is this Dan Perez and what gives him the right to question my thinking. So I responded, we debated, and afterward, it was strange but we connected. In fact we have built an ongoing relationship filled with meaningful spats that help me more clearly consider a wide number of things I do/say/share. Perhaps I reciprocate for him, but who knows….
This spark that Dan brings to the stream is a form of “Social Realism,” and it made me realize 2 things. First, I should embrace his “True Authenticity” and second there is an awful lot of proverbial “Sucking Up” on Twitter (And on other Social Platforms for that matter).
The epiphany from all of this? I now realize that I have had just about enough of all of the Social Pandering.
(Quickly Defined: Social Pandering is the lack of courage to provide real meaningful feedback to low quality content/ideas.)
Look, I am all about being polite, diplomatic, engaging, and for the most part kind (Ask around it is true). But at some point enough is enough. Sooner or later we have to risk our Social Perception and put our “True” thoughts out on the table.
Don’t we all stand to benefit from real feedback even if it doesn’t always feel good?
It isn’t possible that we are all this nice all of the time. And it is likely that some of, if not much of the content we share really is good. However, when it isn’t, SOMETHING must be said right?
I know for certain that it doesn’t really help us if we are given constant positive reinforcement for the sharing of thoughtless or poor quality content. It is this one way street that leads to the perpetual output of low quality content and the regurgitation of quotes and ideas that weren’t good in the first place.
In fact this sort of validation of mediocrity or worse may in fact be a big problem with society today. (This warrants another blog in itself – Takers?)
Not long ago I wrote a post for 12 Most about the similarities between Twitter and High School. I discussed some of the norms of high school that are often visible on Twitter. While farce to some extent, it was inspired by truth and observation of peoples behavior on Twitter. Based on the several thousand views and shares it received, I am confident that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.
Only thing is, in High School there was a better chance that you would be put in your place if you said something stupid. In the Social world hidden behind our screens many of us are afraid to say what we really think.
Just to be perfectly clear. I by no means think that great content shouldn’t be shared. Nor do I suggest being rude or insensitive just to prove a point. Rather I’m just trying to provoke the thought process around needless promotion and reckless encouragement. Moreover, just saying we need to be “Real.”
To conclude I offer some thoughts on this.
- Perhaps everyone really does feel so strongly that the quality of all of this content is just fantastic and that everyone is on the ball. In that case carry on.
- Perhaps we are too lazy to pay attention to what we share and we just give the reinforcement because it is easier than doing the work
- Perhaps we are too afraid of the fall out of being real so we choose to take the path of least resistance. Rather just fit in as opposed to stand out.
Or, Perhaps we could all stand to learn from my friend Dan Perez. While it may or may not be true that Dan is a provocateur, a trouble maker, or a jerk, there is no debate that he is real. And sometimes, if even for a moment, being real may be more important than social coddling.