Sunday, May 5, 2024

Nightcap 5/5/24 Should we engage with people on social media?

Better off alone?

After some fireworks last weekend on social media I’m left pondering at what point we should engage with people on social media.

The short version of reason is that that after someone said they loved a particularly nasty film where bad things happen graphically because of said graphic effects, A friend said he hoped that people considered films their favorites for reasons beyond just the effects.  This sparked anger in some one else who took a general statement as an attack on their favorite film. It wasn’t an attack just a passing comment.  And despite efforts from several people, myself included, to calm things down, it blew up.

The exchange left everyone a bit singed.

I was left to ponder at what point we need to engage with people on social media. In theory it’s supposed to be a free exchange of ideas but more often it becomes an echo chamber as people look for re-enforcement of how they feel. If you are not on their “side” it’s often open warfare. Why? Because this is what we are being taught, and because since we don’t know people on line they aren’t real and they can be attacked with impunity. The attack mentality results in a bitterness and anger and hurt feelings because people can’t understand why the nameless person or famous person they have built up in their minds is "attacking" them by not agreeing with them.

Tempers flare.

It happens all the time on Twitter and if you aren’t use to it seems rather brutal. Actually even if you are used to it it’s brutal.

I tend to stand clear of fights or heated discussions because getting into a shouting match with people I don’t know or follow isn’t worth it. It feels to much like forcing myself into conversations I’m no part of just to say something no one is ever going to actually hear.

I prefer to pick my fights hence what I say tends to be measured on social media…and even here. I weigh what any engagement is worth.

My hesitation is in part due to the fact that in the early days of Unseen Films I was getting flooded with rude comments. A couple of people actively liked to say rude things in the comments so I was constantly removing them. I also had two well-known filmmakers send their fans after me after I panned one of their films. It was so bad I now screen all comments before they are posted.

What I discovered by screening is that by cutting off the fire results in fewer attacks. If people know I won’t play their game, they won’t try to engage me.

I take that  stance when engaging with anyone on social media. With rare exception I don’t seek to provoke. I try to calmly state my feelings and move on.

Of course it doesn’t always work, but it reduces the aggravation.

I will say some bad things about films on twitter, but generally not provocative, and only in connection with a review where you can see my feelings beyond 230 characters. I tend to say rude things as blind posts because it reduces hurt feelings.

The problem is everyone wants to be liked and have their world view approved of. Everyone just wants shiny happy funny farts thrown their way and get upset when that doesn’t happen. 


A random note- if you are discussing your favorite film and you are discussing that what you like about the film is parts where women are brutalized in graphic detail – you need to be ready for people to look at you funny and hide their children. It’s not that you like the film- it’s that you point out the misogyny and dehumanization of people as the best part that causes people to step away.


For the few of you curious as to how Unseen is going to go for the next few weeks....

Some new releases this week, folding into Cabane à Sang and Cannes. followed by more new releases until Tribeca  hits

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