By now I’m sick of the Miss Manners conversation. That being said, I felt the need to say something about everything that’s gone down over the past couple of days.
The first post I read on all of this came from Kerri, so here’s a link there if you have no idea what Miss Manners has to do with diabetes, or why so many of us are disappointed with her.
For a comprehensive list of all the commentary about this situation, thank Kim and check out her post.
As you hopefully read, the reaction to Miss Manners’ idea of manners was a bit of a mixed bag. The vitriol wasn’t as bad as anything I’ve seen from the gaming community, but it wasn’t exactly PG at times.
Sara’s post the day after was the first I read of the reaction to the reaction, highlighting the fact that the recently completed Spare a Rose campaign is a stark contrast to the image the diabetes online community has presented with this latest common cause.
Here’s where my two cents come in.
Yes, Miss Manners was misguided in her advice – the comments in her own post, particularly from people without diabetes, are a great indication that she does not speak for the majority. However, our collective reaction was not the best introduction to the diabetes online community for Miss Manners, or anyone new to the world diabetes. I’m not saying that we have to be on our best behavior all the time, I don’t expect that from myself and it’s unfair for me to expect that of anyone else.
But for a moment like this, engaging a nationally syndicated columnist with the potential for a wider audience than any of us could ever imagine – perhaps a moment of hesitation is best in case you are the first person someone new to the diabetes conversation encounters. Because, you know, the Internet, it’s more than reasonable that a newcomer could extrapolate characteristics and impressions of the entire diabetes community based on a single piece of digital text. When it’s a stage like this, maybe the F-bombs and less-than-pleasant suggestions aren’t the best approach.
I’m not saying turn the other cheek, or pretend the world is sunshine and rainbows – I think there’s a middle ground where our anger and frustrations can be a wonderful catalyst for collective advocacy. But if you’re going to introduce yourself to someone with the hopes of having a genuine conversation, it’s easier to start that conversation with a handshake instead of a clenched fist.
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always…
What was that bit about second chances for first impressions?