Musing: We Focus on Negativity Too Much…

We, as a culture, focus on negativity too much. Something that I wanted to talk about today because it is something that has been bothering me, but just now could put to words.

I focus on it too much, my friends focus on it too much, my co-workers focus on it too much and companies focus on it too much. We all focus on these negative statements and think “Oh no, this has failed”. Whether this be a person, a product, a company, a group or an idea, if it doesn’t have 100% positive feedback, that has failed. I’m being very general here so I’ll bring up a few examples later on, but from now on I’ll refer to the person/company/product as “The Thing”, just to make it simpler. But really, we as a culture seem to be wiring ourselves to focus on negative statements made against The Thing. Whatever that thing is about, we can’t seem to be happy unless everyone else, both known and unknown, is happy with it as well. And I am guilty of this as well, something I’ve had to punch myself many times for forgetting that not everyone is going to be happy with what your happy with.

For example, I am happy with iTunes, with Appigo’s apps such as Todo and Corkulous, Coldplay, my iPhone & iPad, Steam, Rick Moyer’s music, A Valley Without Wind and >insert other product placements here ;)<. These things add value to my life and I am happy with them. There are many who aren’t so happy with those products. AVWW itself got some pretty bad reviews from “prominent” reviewing sources. Due to that, there was this idea on the game’s forum that AVWW got a lot of really bad reviews and was a general failure. That is simply not true as the game sold very well for Arcen Games and got many positive reviews from many sources, including me. But it was thanks to a few negative reviews from “popular” review sources that some believed the game had no future left. Another example, Coldplay itself is a very successful band, (obviously, otherwise they wouldn’t still be making music) but yet, if you listen to the negative people, you’ll think they were the worst thing to walk the earth and a general disgrace to the music community. They really aren’t, if anything I could point to a few artists that are but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

Another example of us as a culture focusing on negativity too much, earlier today, in the Anomaly Podcast Facebook Group, someone (not naming names as I haven’t asked his/her permission to do so) linked an article. It was about a guy who was too drunk or too stupid to realize the consequences of his actions when he tweeted, well, very stupid things about a certain celebrity named Felicia Day. You probably have heard of her, she only made the popular web series “The Guild”, is currently acting in a few popular shows and is generally considered a very creative and nice person. We brought attention to this person’s tweetings and people are already blasting him and saying what a jackass he is. I did not have not a clue who he is, where’s he from or what his current job is before this current tweet drunk fest happened. And at this point its more than likely this story has gone viral. Crazy and stupidly viral because he had the audacity to insult an “idol” of the geek culture. His audacity is even worse considering he’s a gaming journalist, which makes him “one of us”. You want to know what the worse thing about this is? It is entirely possible that this guy planned this out. I am not saying that he did, but it is entirely possible that he planned all these “drunk tweets” out and then posted them and then sat back and let it flood on in, and now that he has his audience, he apologizes and thus profits from his venture. Quite frankly, I wish we had just ignored him. Hence why I’m here, talking about it. Actually, this story is part of the problem I have with Fanboys/Fangirls, but that’s a topic for another day.

For a second, let’s imagine I turned into a real ass and on Twitter, I tweet messages at, idk, Jennifer Hale, the voice of the Female version of Commander Sheppard from the Mass Effect games. In these tweets, I attack her for being a no-good talent-less hack who doesn’t deserve her popularity. Then, the story of my tweets goes viral, I become the center of attention for a bit, I profusely apologize and claim it was me having a bad day, or I was drunk, or whatever you want to come up with. I patch things over, we’re all a happy family and I suddenly have thousands of followers who watch my every move now. This is quite entirely possible, though granted, a little bit more difficult for me because I’m not nearly that popular or important in the grand scheme of things and plus, not an ass ;). But the thing is, those people will have done this to defend Jennifer Hale as if she needed it. Which, she doesn’t. She’s a tough lady who can handle herself and not let a few negative statements on Twitter bother her. Just like Felicia Day, who wouldn’t have let those tweets bother her as well. But yet we all seem to have this real need to defend and protect “The Thing” against such people when we really don’t. I kind of wonder if Felicia even noticed those tweets when they happened. I have a feeling she didn’t, until everyone pointed it out. And because of this, the guy may profit from this “PR mistake” and we continue to fuel these kinds of behaviors because it seems like if you say something really negative about someone who doesn’t deserve it and you have the slightest amount of people watching you, you’ll get really popular, really quickly. I can’t say I really like that.

Its ok to take constructive criticism of The Thing under consideration. However, it is not ok to take in blatant negative statements and let it ruin your enjoyment of The Thing. I guess I write all this to say that we need to focus on blatant negativity less in our lives and more on positivity. (I don’t care if that’s not a word.) I myself am guilty of this. More than once, I’ve caught myself focusing on a handful of negative reviews left in the iTunes and Amazon and letting it affect my purchasing decisions despite the 1,000s of positive comments made. More than once, I let a negative tweet or facebook status hurt my enjoyment of The Thing despite the 10 positive ones. I’m not saying that we need to wrap ourselves up into a big old “Everything is happy and fine” bubble, as that leads you into issues like being completely blind to the problems with The Thing. But I think we need to focus less on negativity and simply enjoy what we have. There will always be naysayers and people spouting stupid stuff. However, that doesn’t mean we need to let it affect us to such a great degree that we start disliking everything we used to enjoy. Remember to enjoy the things that bring value to your life.

Idk, I had this on my mind and am not really sure what the answer is, whether we should ignore such negativity or bring it to light for whatever reason. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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