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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Soap Fans Online: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The other day at work, I had sent one of my colleagues an email asking her a simple question regarding a project we were both working on.  I consider this colleague to also be a friend so you can imagine my surprise when the email response I received from her was rather blunt and stern.  This annoyed me greatly as I saw no reason for this kind of reaction to a simple question.  I was definitely not in the mood for this behavior after what had already seemed like a long day at the office. I typed up my response advising her that I didn’t know what I had done to offend her and didn’t appreciate her email.  Before sending it, I re-read the email she had sent me...and I’m glad I did.  She wasn't being cranky with me as I originally thought.  She just used bad grammar which caused what would have been a perfectly pleasant email to sound harsh.

The point of my story is that what we email, tweet, and post online can easily be misread and misinterpreted.  While social media has opened the possibility to greater communication opportunities, it doesn’t have the benefit of being able to observe the tone and expressions of those who use it.  Had I been having a face to face conversation with my colleague, it is very unlikely any misunderstanding would have occurred.

It is my opinion that these type of situations can happened quite a bit online.  I have posted what I thought were seeming innocent comments on soap message boards only to have upset my fellow fans.  I have also been that upset fan who has responded to another fans comments with great irritation only to end up feeling kind of silly about my actions later.  Who hasn’t had these experiences before?  Yet these kind of misunderstandings and bad reactions can make soap fans look quite honestly a little nuts.

While there are some trolls out there who’s intentions are clearly to provoke online disagreements, I believe that this is not the intent of a majority of soap fans.  It can be easy sometimes for a difference of opinion to feel like an attack especially if there aren’t always enough characters to fully express one’s thoughts.  So how does one avoid an unnecessary online grapple?  That’s a tough question to answer but here are my thoughts:

  • Leave the drama for the soaps.  If someone posts something that you strongly disagree with sometimes its just best to ignore it and move on.  You’re not going to change that person’s mind so it isn’t worth the time or hurt feelings.
  • Remember everyone is entitled to their opinion regardless if their opinion makes sense to you or not.  Be respectful when disagreeing with someone and don’t push them if they seem like they don’t want to debate with you.
  • Think before you react to something.  Is it possible that something may not have come across the way that it was intended?  Is it possible someone is just trying to provoke a reaction?  Is it really that important?
  • Don’t let others get to you.  Ignore someone if you don’t like were the conversation is heading and if someone continually agitates you there is always the block button.
  • Find like minded people to have conversations with.  If you want to talk about your favorite actor or super couple, find someone else who enjoys them as much as you do and have a fun discussion.  It will be a lot more worth while that any argument or fan war.
  • If someone says something you don’t like or disagree with, don’t take it personally.  They are just sharing an opinion and, unless they specifically directed something towards you, it is safe to assume it wasn’t directed at you.
  • Be aware of what you post online and how it may seem to others.  They can't hear your sarcastic tone and giggles and they can't see your winks and smiles.  Is your post really reflecting what you want it to say?
  • If you unintentionally upset someone, say you’re sorry.  You don’t need to dwell on it but sometimes a simple apology is necessary in order to move on to a better discussion.
  • Add a little positive with the negative.  If you don’t like something and want to express your thoughts, by all means do so but also feel free to discuss what you like as well.  If all your tweets are negative, you can end up appearing as someone who is just unhappy and never will be no matter what.  Your criticisms regardless of how constructive they may be most likely will not be taken seriously.
  • Watch the language.  Constant curse words and crude language can obviously be offensive.  Plus it can make you seem unintelligent and like you don’t know what you are talking about.
  • Don’t lash out at others who don’t share the same likes and dislikes that you do.  Especially don’t attack the soap actors or writers.  The impression this leaves is that you are mean.


  1. I love this post, I completely agree. I am relatively new to the world of message boards and what-not, and it can be so confusing based upon the things that peoply only type. I have read exchanges between people that quickly dissolved into a hot mess of name calling and badly hurt feelings. So I think this list is fantastic. I think as soap fans we can all be so passionate about our soaps, and some people can get so threatened by things. I know I get upset when I read other people basking the OLTL characters on GH. I just don't understand why that is such a bad thing, but I have to remember that we all have our opinions. Either way, really good post! I love this blog.

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