I’ve burnt a lot of bridges in my seven years of blogging. Some of them went up spectacularly for everyone to see. Others flared in the night, when no one was watching. Some smoldered quietly until the foundation finally gave way and some I set fire to without even realizing–it was only when I went back to cross them one day that I realized they were gone.
The number of bloggers who will have nothing to do with me is in the double digits. It’s a significant number of people. I’m sure I’ve pissed off that many people, if not more, in real life, but what’s weird about these people is that not only can I not avoid them, but I can stumble upon not just them, but upon their thoughts and conversations, in their entirety, for me to read.
It’s such an odd phenomena, one that doesn’t really happen in real life. In real life if you see someone you’ve fallen out with you avoid them. You may lock eyes for a moment, or even give an awkward hello, but that is usually as far as it goes. You don’t hang around and read their journal or skim their email or listen in on a conversation they’re having with someone else. Most of the time, once the damage has been done, you never see or hear from them again.
And yet with blogs and comment sections and FB and Instagram, you can never really escape from the shadows of your past. Even if you try to avoid them, your paths will cross eventually. And there are few things weirder than reading a conversation you know no one wants you to participate in.
It’s just a disconcerting thing, one that people never had to navigate before the age of social media.
You may think I failed in my attempt not to write something I will later regret, but I don’t post this to start shit (and I don’t think it’s fodder for shit starting). I harbor no resentment toward anyone, and I’ve assumed responsibility for the parts I played in the various pyrotechnics. It’s just something I’ve noticed (over and over again–there are A LOT people who would rather I didn’t respond to a post, comment or status update) and something I think about. Social media can be awkward terrain, and without proper guideposts, we’re not always sure which way to go. Personally I choose to walk away, and I try hard to do it without my tail between my legs.
Have you burned any bridges in social media? How do you navigate them?