Dealing with the consequences

A few months ago, I made the mistake of joining in on an online conversation about Mitt Romney. He had been tossing the word “conservative” around quite a bit around that time, and the media had pointed out how he seemed to be doing so mainly because the other candidates on the Republican side were considered more appealing to conservative voters. When I pointed out that Romney’s use of the word was probably more about being socially conservative than fiscally conservative, I opened a can of worms. Two women commenced to attacking me personally over my sexuality. While I tried to keep my responses as cordial and impersonal as possible, they did the opposite. As other users joined in the discussion and began getting nasty with the women, I bowed out.

Last night, for some unknown reason, one of these women resurrected the thread by posting the following:

Brian… YOU are a pig using such language online and TO a WOMAN… YOU can go straight to hell MAN using the F word w. and about me. Stuff your immorality up where the sun doesn’t shine. ROMNEY 2012… OBAMA SUCKS and NEEDS TO BE OUT In NOV!

Keep in mind that I never used any foul language in my comments. Another user did, but apparently the gay guy had to suffer the consequences. When the other woman jumped back in to congratulate her for her comment, she continued.

Good on YOU ANA… NO reason we have to take the filth Brian and all of his SICK and IMMORAL LIFESTYLE, virtureless (sic) lifestyle.

The second woman accused gays of causing wars, corrupting the entertainment industry, and worshiping false gods. Neither woman seemed to feel the least bit conflicted by being so hateful while claiming to be Christian.

I spent the better part of today trying to figure out how to respond to this outrageous behavior. I posted a response out of anger, but quickly deleted it before either of them responded. I posted a sarcastic response in hopes they wouldn’t think I cared what they said, but deleted it as well. Of course I cared. I finally just gave up and blocked them from being able to see my comments or profile page.

The thing that bothers me so much is that I am 38 years old and still encountering people who can bully me into silence with their pathetic, ignorant words. I “turn the other cheek” because it’s just who I am. I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, even when they are hurting mine.

The lady who was particularly vicious had photos of her family on her profile page. Although part of me wanted to tell her where to go and what to do, I couldn’t help thinking that is someone’s grandmother. How would I feel if someone said something terrible to my mother online? But what if my mother attacked another person like that just because they are gay? Wouldn’t she deserve it?

I know, for the rest of my life, I will continue to come across people who feel it’s their responsibility to show me the error of my ways. I guess that’s just one of the consequences of living my life openly. It hurts, but hiding my true self would hurt so much more.

The Facebook conundrum

I closed my Facebook account many months ago, but there are times when I really miss it. I miss seeing what my friends are up to, since most either won’t migrate to Google Plus or only use it occasionally. Another thing I miss is when I need to ask for recommendations for home repair or other services. It’s always nice to have almost instantaneous feedback from people you know in real life and trust to some degree.

Google+ is a much cleaner, easier-to-use social network, but unless my close friends are using it, it feels a little cold and impersonal to me. Most of the people in my stream are only sharing and re-sharing news articles. I can’t really go there to ask for advice on local businesses, because I have very few local people in my circles¬†and¬†I get very little feedback there anyway.

There are times when I like the fact that G+ isn’t full of people who know me, then there are times when G+ feels like just as shallow and middle-schoolish (is that a word?) as Facebook. After several months here, I can already feel myself developing the same negative feelings about it that I have about Facebook and Twitter.

I know there is a lot of negativity on Google+ and the internet in general about Facebook, and I completely understand it. Just the thought of all those “Happy Birthdays” and juvenile updates showing up on my Wall makes me feel a little nauseous. If I do go back, I definitely plan on trimming my “friend” list down to people I really care about.

I don’t like the idea of using multiple social networks. I thought G+ could replace Facebook, Twitter, etc, but I am beginning to wonder if each one doesn’t serve a completely different purpose. Is it possible to use them all without feeling stretched too thin? Maybe I would be better off using Facebook for staying in contact with friends, Googe+ for keeping up with the news, and Twitter for following celebrities.

I truly believe Google+ is the next BIG social network and Facebook will eventually go the way of MySpace, but in the meantime, most of my friends are on Facebook. Maybe that’s enough of a reason to go back, but I can’t help thinking about that little thing parents like to say. Yes, Mom, if all my friends jumped off a bridge, I guess I would too.