Social media challenges Bills fans to respect one another

Photo/meme from quickmeme.com.

Another day, another poop-fest on social media. The blessing of social media is the ability to connect no matter where you are physically located. The curse – especially with Twitter – is limiting communication to 280 characters.

Fans of the NFL are notoriously opinionated, and fans of the Buffalo Bills may be among the most passionate about defending their point of view. Being blessed with a large number of Bills fans on my timeline, I get to see a decent snapshot of diverse opinions about the team in one form or another.

Most of it is respectful in terms of tone but we still have a long way to go in establishing respectful communication with one another. I liken Twitter to how people used public bathroom walls to anonymously exclaim whatever was on their mind.

The biggest problem I see social media sites usually revolves around tone of communication. Tone? How the heck does one define “tone”?

Here is a great article about TONE and how it is used in business to improve sales. I chose this article as an example because most of us using social media are basically selling our point of view about something.

Communicating tone on social media becomes even more of a challenge when the population of people you’re conversing with are made up of Buffalo sports fans. Every day on Twitter is like Thanksgiving with relatives.

The key to survival is not to trigger Aunt Tillie.

A friend of mine on Twitter recently made the egregious error of reporting a negative opinion from an anonymous source about Sabres’ head coach Ralph Krueger and was publicly stoned, tarred AND feathered for having the audacity to share something controversial.

What was something most of us would chuckle about if it was brought up in a private conversation became a personal assault. Those launching the attacks might claim they didn’t mean to be offensive or hostile, but they fail to respect that communication involves BOTH the sender and receiver.

If the receiver of communication misinterprets the tone of communication, that responsibility also falls on the sender to respect how that information is received. A hostile tone is like gas on a fire on Twitter.

Part of the challenge with Twitter and other social media sites is that there’s little place to put evidence that respectfully considering another person’s point of view is taking place. All we see are words on a screen and have zero ability to assess tone.

The best thing we can do for one another on social media is to use a respectful tone toward one another. If you were hanging out in a bar full of Bills fans, would you walk up to someone who was a perfect stranger and scream about how their opinion stinks?

Don’t become Aunt Tillie on Twitter.

Editor’s babble: It’s so important to develop respectful behavior regarding online communication. We can all do better. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.