Last night, countless people around the country watched "The Sound of Music Live," which featured country music star Carrie Underwood as the beloved character Maria. One of the best and worst parts about watching this remake was the social media interaction it generated.
I have the fondest childhood memories of watching "The Sound of Music" with my family, and I tuned in to this live rendition of the play to relive some of that magic.
I'm also a Twitter fanatic, so—of course—like any good social media junkie, I was tweeting my thoughts and reading what others had to say.
One of the most valuable capabilities of Twitter is the immediate interaction and reaction. I was alone in my apartment but watched the production with friends and acquaintances from across the country. I bonded with relative strangers through the process. I loved it.
But one of the risks with social media is that anyone can write whatever thought comes into their head at any time about anything.
As I watched the performance and monitored Twitter, I saw an endless stream of criticisms about the live show.
So how do I say this politely—not everyone wants to hear every thought you have. But, more importantly, not everyone wants to hear every negative thought you have.
Everyone and their baby sister is apparently a theater expert and credible acting critic, judging by last night's Twitter reaction.
And I understand and support everyone's right to say whatever they want. Free speech is very important to me. So feel free to ignore everything I write.
But just because we now have this forum and just because you're thinking to yourself, "Man, Carrie Underwood's acting sucks" doesn't mean you should tweet it. It definitely doesn't mean you should tweet some version of that thought continually throughout the performance.
It's one thing to tweet one or two comments about how the performance is really on your nerves. But, please. Show some restraint. Tweeting some variation every five minutes of how the acting reminds you of a high school play isn't anything but annoying.
Part of what I love about Twitter is the thoughtful, creative, insightful, witty commentary.
But I am constantly bewildered by how people seem to take time and effort to write comments that seem to serve no real purpose. It isn't constructive. Apparently, it's just a person thinking their criticism is important enough to publish to the world.
This is going to sound totally "Pollyanna," but sometimes, if you don't have something nice to say, it really is best to just be quiet.
I'm not totally immune. Sure—I love to whine "out loud" via social media here and there. And I do notice that I get the urge to do it more than I actually give into.
It is really easy to fall into the social media trap of not thinking—not thinking about whether something you retweet is actually true, not thinking about how you come off when you constantly complain or berate others via social media, not thinking about the fact that what you are doing is spreading your grouchiness all over the place.
And I get the feeling most people think they are being charmingly snarky with their comments. But that's where the problem comes in. There's a fine line between funny or amusingly sardonic and just complaining or asserting an unfounded and rude opinion just because you can.
Complaining about and publicizing how much you think "The Sound of Music Live" was the worst thing you've seen all year on television isn't original or unique. And it isn't funny. Simply stating a negative feeling isn't pleasantly snarky. It's bothersome and crabby.
I just couldn't understand why so many people would be watching something they really hated and why they would take the time to write about how much they hated it.
I feel the same way many times about comments on news articles. Many people comment about how a reporter's article is the worst reporting they've seen. But most aren't journalists. And most comments don't actually add anything to the topic of conversation. Most don't have any real credibility in their opinion. It's just their opinion. And not all opinions need to be shared with the world.
And perhaps the consensus is that—yes—Underwood's acting was stiff.
But I don't understand why people just have to zero in on that.
Why not think about how much work must have gone into that live production? Why not ask yourself if you could do something like that or think about how you would feel if you spent a lot of time and energy working on something, only to have thousands of random people with no real insight into the process dismiss it and publicly criticize it, seemingly with no thought or empathy?
It's just so easy to get bogged down in what may be human nature—expressing pessimism. Sometimes, we even bond over a mutual hatred. But everyone could be a little more conscientious in their delivery and aware of the tone and vibe that are being conveyed.
It's the holiday season, which is supposed to be a time for love, family and friends.
It seems like an appropriate time to refocus on being clever, thoughtful, optimistic and kind—even via social media.
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.
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