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Friday, October 10, 2008

You Have The Right To Remain Silent, But Why Should You?

Tis the season – to debate, that is. You cannot miss it; all of the signs are in the air, and on the lawns. It is here again, an election year. Airwaves filled with promises of “I will do” and accusations of “he didn’t do.” Hence, because of all of the televised haggling and finger pointing, I find myself spending more of my time during this season online – well, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Recently, I signed onto a new – at least to me – social networking site appropriately called Twitter. This site allows you to send and read the updates of others, or send “tweets” out to your “circle of friends”, to which you can add people to follow and others can follow you.

On this particular evening, the Twitter halls were reverberating with “tweets” about the Presidential Debate. Noticing more than a few tweets with whom I am familiar, I jumped headlong into the fast and furious debate. It is a free country, right? Everyone is free to agree or disagree…

As the televised debate progressed, although not as quickly as the debate on Twitter, I noticed out the corner of my eye, the number of my “followers” decreasing by one.

What? I was puzzled, maybe I had misread the number of followers I had previously. On the debate continued. Then I noticed it again. Again, one of my followers had fallen off. I was down by two!

What was going on? What did I say? Had I unknowingly offended one of my followers? Had I tweeted something untoward? Had I made some joke or offhand comment that could have been taken the wrong way? What happened?

No, little tweet; don’t go away! I’m sorry, I did not mean what I said, whatever it was that I said.

Wait a minute! I had to get a hold of myself. What was I doing? Apologizing for voicing my concerns, my thoughts, and my views? In the land of the free and the home of the brave, was I allowing myself to be penalized for speaking my piece? Was I willing to muzzle my voice for the sake of … who? Who were these people who had abandoned me the minute I dared to speak my mind?

You do have the right to remain silent, but why should you? Had this happened 10 or 20years ago, I would have handled the slight differently. This online rejection would have caused the younger diva in me to stew for weeks about the online snub. Now, at this stage, this stuff just rolls off my back. My sense of obligation to go along to get along has run its course.

This is a great big world as we forge new relationships online and have more exposure to others and their values. You will make some friends, you may make some enemies. This is the time in your life where you are unafraid to speak your mind. Fearless enough to say what it is that you want and confidant enough to say what you will no longer put up with or tolerate. No more going along to get along.

I am realizing that there will be times in this journey when my point of view, my way of thinking, doing or being may not be popular and may not line up with the status quo – how things used to be or how others thought they knew me to be.

And, yes, I may lose some “followers”. But the ones that remain – my true “tweets” will be the genuine, authentic items as will yours as you progress through Mid Life Divadom.

People who are true to you, accepting of you and your foibles, whether they agree or not. That is what it is all about at this stage - genuine, authentic relationships, not fair weather friends or followers who will stick with you as long as you behave, think, or act “as you should”. You will lose followers going your own way. So be it.

An interesting note though, on the same evening that I lost two followers, I gained fifteen. What does that say?


Diane said...


I, too, am on Twitter (we still are following each other, right? :) and I've said so many wacky and free-spirited things in the course of my days there that I too have seen followers fall off due to various things I've "tweeted." However, new followers who either agree or just like your attitude will come along. It shouldn't be a popularity contest, anyway!

flashfree said...

Love this post! As you say, some folks will agree and others won't. So long as you are kind in your assessment and treat others' opinions with respect, I don't see what the problem is. And I will always follow you, regardless! ;-) Thanks for the great thoughts, as always.

yasmin said...

An interesting note though, on the same evening that I lost two followers, I gained fifteen. What does that say?

That some of us don't have a problem with what you have to say...speak your mind!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I love this post. And I love it when friends have a different opinion that mine. It's a learning experience. Be true to you and tweet on.