This time last year I had a Facebook account and a private blog. The blog was email invite only and I didn’t post much on Facebook. I hated social media and all the image crafting and attention seeking that went with it.
Fast forward a year and I’m on Facebook pages, Twitter, Facebook groups, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and write a public blog, contribute to another blog and have been published in several places online. The reason for the change was… Blogging! I am not actually on any of those social media platforms, Momma Boss is. The only place you can find Jo is Facebook and I don’t post much on there. I’m also on these platforms for my day job too.
I don’t find social media as annoying as I used to, probably because I don’t use it as me. However, one thing that drives me nuts is this phenomenon that I call, ‘Insult by Default.’ I see it all over the place, people getting offended and insulted by something that hasn’t actually been said.
What I mean is, somebody makes a statement or discusses their opinion and readers assume that by default, they are criticising the opposite. For example if I said, “I don’t believe in Attachment Parenting.” (I do, I have purposely chosen that otherwise somebody will get insulted by default.) If I say I don’t believe in something, I am saying my life has led me to this decision. I am not saying because I don’t believe in attachment parenting, all attachment parents are idiots. Yet that is what so many people assume. Streams of arguing with strangers on a post and then you scroll up and think, hold on, nobody has insulted attachment parents!
Why are people so sensitive?
Do people just love a drama and it’s easier to be brave behind your keyboard than to go out and have confrontations in person? Or are people genuinely insulted by a perceived comment?
If you’re a blogger you will have probably experienced this. Sometimes it’s nasty and sometimes people try to put a nice spin on it but you can tell they’re insulted by default. A good example is feeding whatever you view or preference on feeding, somebody will assume that by default, you’re critiquing the opposite. I promised I wouldn’t mention the B word again so I won’t.
I think the reason people take offence so easily is because it makes them question if they’ve done something wrong. If I wrote, “I don’t like baby led weaning, I think a mother instinctively knows when it’s the right time to move onto solids.” Nowhere in that sentence does it say, “Baby led weaning parents are rubbish.” The insult by default comes from questioning your own technique and the actual thought process of the insult-ee is, “Crap I didn’t have a clue when he was ready for food.” So they take offence from a perceived comment based on feeling insecure about that topic. If they trust their instincts and support their own choice, they will think nothing of my opinion.
Even if somebody makes a direct statement, you still don’t need to take offence unless it triggers an insecurity. If somebody wrote a post saying, “All female managers are crap, leave it to the men love.” I would not get worked up because although I consider myself in the category of female manager, I do not align myself with the “crap” variety, so I’m able to breeze past that opinion.
So just remember, if somebody writes about their views and they oppose yours. It does not mean they are automatically insulting your life. Insult by default is only a thing if you allow yourself to interpret a post in a particular way. Most of the time, your reaction to a post says more about you that it does about the writer.
*Popcorning – reading strangers rants on social media and finding it entertaining (but also really annoying.)