I've been using the internet for a very long time, since about 1998. I've been a part of chat rooms, bulletin boards, blogs, websites--you name it. One thing I resisted against though were social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. I had friends on both sites and after hearing some of their stories about what went on, I decided it wasn't for me.
A couple of years ago I decided I would give Twitter a try. Seriously, how much trouble could you get into with a limit of 140 characters. I started out slowly, following a couple of celebs I admired as well as a couple of friends. All was well and good. I even made a couple of friends through it and that was good enough for me. I wasn't on there to see how many followers I could get. For me it was just some good clean fun, keep up to date with what was going on in the world and to periodically tweet about my frustration with various things.
Earlier this year I discovered a radio station out of another country via Twitter. I've become friends with one of the DJ's there and I'm a regular listener for a particular show. I also discovered that being on Twitter while the show was on was almost as entertaining as the show was itself! It was fun to see the different comments people made and interacting with them. It became my weekly ritual.
As time progressed, I made some friends through the show. We had a lot of fun and it got even more interesting when another group that had listened to another show crossed over and started to listen as well. It was like one big happy family. Some of these people had even met in person. All was fun and games, at least on the surface.
Then things turned ugly. There were some actions and behavior from two of these people that were not only ridiculous, but incredibly hurtful. I unfortunately found myself caught in some of the crossfire from all of this. To say my feelings weren't hurt would be an outright lie. And when I found out the whole scope of what they had been saying and doing, and the huge number of people affected by their actions, I was furious. They had broken the trust of so many people. Fortunately, their embarrassment caused them to leave Twitter and our group. But there are still quite a few of the group who are very hurt and shocked by what they did, and I'm sure it will be a while before they get over it.
I bring this subject up, not because I want anyone to feel bad for me. I'm fine and over time, it will be just another blip on my timeline. I am mentioning it because I want to warn everyone about this type of person and why they seem to think that this is acceptable. It's because sometimes they are people who suffer from sociopathic tendencies. They are narcissistic and they have no regard for the feelings of others because they just aren't wired that way.
How do I know about this personality? Because I've encountered it several times in my life, both online and in real life. I never knew a whole lot about the psychology related to it until several years ago and a bad experience that left me very emotionally scarred. A friend who also was involved in that experience later recommended a book to me that had been recommended to her by a therapist. I truly think that this particular book was a game changer for me in how I regarded these types of encounters with these people, and helped me look back on several different experiences in a completely new light.
The book is called "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout. I liked it because it was easy to read, giving just the right amount of scientific information, mixed with several different case studies. One of these case studies hit home for me too, just confirming that my experience was just as my friend evaluated. In fact it was almost scary. But it also gave me the ability to separate my emotions from what had happened and move on. Plus I learned a lot of valuable information that has helped me deal with situations like I had on Twitter. I know that it's not me, it's them, and there isn't a darned thing I can do to change it. They are just wired that way. Move on.
If you'd like to check out this book, it is sold on Amazon. I don't know how many different countries it's available in, but I highly recommend it for anyone who has either had a bad experience or simply wants to understand a bit more about how certain people operate and why.