Opinion: Why can nobody take a joke anymore?

Marianne Gibbs wants to know why everyone is so serious on social media. Picture: Archant

Marianne Gibbs wants to know why everyone is so serious on social media. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A small quibble on a social media platform can soon turn into a huge amount of bickering with a lot of upset if forceful people take over the conversation and disagree with everyone else.

I used to think that this sort of thing only happened on the larger better-known platforms but a year or two ago something called 'Nextdoor' started up in Norfolk.

It was meant to be a place where local residents could ask their neighbours for recommendations if they wanted a plumber or electrician say, or to make a comment about local matters such as road works, but it soon turned into a hive of unbelievable bickering, arguments and criticisms, bordering on harassment and bullying in some cases.

I must confess I found most of it to be mildly amusing to start with. Most misunderstandings arose because people simply had not read what was actually written but what they thought had been put in a post.

That meant that anyone who made a comment about the Postwick hub being difficult to navigate during its construction for example; would have their driving and observational skills called into question. The same thing is happening now with anyone getting confused on the Northern Distributor Road.

Heaven help you if you drive your children to school and park for five minutes while you drop them off. A dozen or so people will immediately leap into virtue signalling mode telling everyone how they WALK their children to school even in the pouring rain; forgetting that their circumstances are different because they are a stay at home mum and the other lady probably needs to get off to work.

Things are said on social media that would never be said to someone's face and yet everybody on this particular site knows that everybody else is from the local area. People's names and addresses need to be registered before joining the site and are easy to find, but somehow they seem to forget that and step over the mark of what is acceptable time and time again to the point where people leave the site even though it is useful.

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Don't get me started on the easily offended. What is it with people nowadays? When I was at school if someone upset me and I complained to a teacher I was told to develop a thicker skin. It was good advice because now, if someone makes a remark designed to upset me, I just laugh, which then upsets him or her instead!

Nobody can take a joke anymore and even though I like to think of myself as a brilliantly witty person, I find myself biting my tongue if I'm with people I don't know well in case some snowflake has a melt down.

No doubt there'll be somebody reading this that gets in a huff over the term snowflake. I don't really care about that because I think the word is a fair reflection of how some people are.

Now I've had a good enjoyable rant let me put forward an idea that might cut down on social media misunderstandings.

1. When reading a post, scroll down to the bottom ensuring you have read it all.

2. Read everything twice. Have you actually understood it correctly?

3. Before pressing the send button remember local people are reading it so...

4. Read your post again, not only to correct the spelling and punctuation, but also to remove any F words, C words and S words. Your clever snide message will fall flat on its face if any of those are present.