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September 7, 2012
Simpson: Facebook etiquette for smack talk
Editor's note: Marty Simpson earned four letters and started 44 games for the Gamecock football team. In this feature, he takes a look at a topic as an analyst, letterman and comedian.
In a message board world of Internet anonymity, it's very easy to say anything you want without consequences. After all, it wasn't Tom Smith who made those ridiculous assertions about Steve Spurrier's playcalling, it was "GamecockForLife82." It wasn't Jason Williams who said, "Dabo Swinney sells his Christian faith to recruits like Amway," it was "OrangeBurnsMyEyes_26."
However, commenting on Facebook is another ballgame all together. Facebook comments are able to be read by just about anyone who matters in your life. Therefore, I feel obligated to suggest some fundamentals about Facebook smack talk.
I have broken it down into three simple rules.
Rule No. 1: Keep the smack talk relevant to the original post's theme.
It is poor etiquette to hijack any Facebook thread on behalf of your hatred for your rival school. For example, this weekend, I posted a status update which said, "To all the Gamecock fans complaining about ESPN knocking on how we played, check out Alabama manhandling the eighth-ranked Michigan Wolverines. This might be what ESPN means by 'looking like a top-10 team.'"
So ask yourself, What is the theme of my post? I think it is pretty clear that my theme was to crack on insane Gamecock fans a little bit, and to give Alabama a ton of credit for how they were playing.
For some unknown reason, a Facebook friend of mine, and likely deranged Clemson fan, must have thought my original theme was to try to engage Clemson fans to talk smack on my Facebook page.
I missed the part where I even mentioned Clemson in my post.
But this raging lunatic Clemson fan felt the need to hijack the conversation and make it about how the Gamecocks, in his opinion, are all a bunch of cheaters. I was shocked he could type those words as he worships Clemson's 1981 national championship that was achieved on a foundation built by endless hours of hard work, great coaching, and a 300-page NCAA report filled with thousands of violations that when held next to Cam Newton's file, actually makes him seem innocent. I was impressed my friend could even see his keyboard to type through the huge plank jammed in his eye.
My post had nothing to do with Clemson. To interject a hateful comment about South Carolina because you are a lunatic Clemson fan is poor etiquette on Facebook. And vice versa if Gamecocks are doing it to Clemson fans! Georgia fans reading this article: Don't even get me started on your chihuahua Facebook mentality.
Here's another example. My post read, "My daughter is excited to start seventh grade. I'm just excited we only have one carpool day this week." One Georgia fan wrote in response, "Yeah, but if she becomes a Gamecock, she'll be just like her daddy and never win between the hedges." Just to keep the record straight I wearily reminded this factually challenged fellow that I was on the '93 team when Brandon Bennett went over the top on the last play and, as Larry Munson famously said, "broke our hearts." I am, in fact, 1-0, "between the hedges."
Again, my point here is that my comment was not intended to inspire bulldog spitefulness.
So remember Rule No. 1. If you are posting something that seems like smack talk and the original post had nothing to do with what you are talking about, that makes you a Facebook jerk, and everyone knows it. And notice I said, Facebook jerk, because in real life some of these people are actually decent folks, but on Facebook they often seem to lose their manners.
Rule No. 2: If the original post talks smack about your team, have at it.
In this scenario, Facebook jerk can now go to town. If the original status update says something like, "Isn't Dabo a cute little coach, especially for a guy who lived with his mom in college." Then, the aforementioned, deranged, raging lunatic Clemson fan is free to say whatever he wants in response to this. Even if his comments are not factually accurate and don't make sense. A reasonable response from Facebook jerk in this case could be something like, "At least our quarterback hasn't keyed any cars."
And original poster's comeback is now fair game as well, since it's all within the confines of the original poster's theme, which was smack talk to begin with! Original poster's comeback might be something like, "With all your quarterback talent on the bench, I would love to see a new rap song YouTube video from Chip Kelly named, 'Holding the Clipboard!'"
It is important to understand the theme of the original post. If that theme is smack talk, then all bets are off.
Rule No. 3: Nothing posted counts towards a person's perceived integrity if posted on Facebook the week before or after the Carolina-Clemson game.
Post anything you want, with whatever mean spirit you want, and it just doesn't count. But that statute of limitation runs out on the eighth day after the game has passed.
For example, when I set a Google Calendar alert on Jan. 20 to email me on July 4 to remind me to come to Facebook and post that West Virginia just scored again, that was outside the statute of limitation for reasonable smack talk on Facebook. This action made ME the Facebook jerk. Therefore, the proportionate response from any lunatic Clemson fan should be allowed by me on my Facebook page at that time (and it was and it was worth it. And oh, by the way, West Virginia just scored again.)
A special note is worth mentioning here concerning your own Facebook account and your children who may be able to read it. If you are a parent who is irresponsible enough to leave your computer logged into Facebook in a public viewing area in your home and your young children can read it, then you can't hold anyone accountable for what shows up in your news feed if they posted it the week of or week after the Carolina-Clemson game.
And hypothetically speaking of course, if the young children of my friends got their feelings hurt when they read on their mom's Facebook news feed that "Mr. Marty" said that all Clemson graduates have one tooth and would eventually work on a farm, then they need a better understanding of Rule No. 3.
They also need to understand this was their mommy's fault for having her computer logged into Facebook and leaving it unattended where they could view her news feed.
You see, kids, Mr. Marty didn't post that as a comment on your mommy's page. It was a comment back to a deranged fan which showed up in your mommy's news feed (see Rule No. 2 above). I don't actually believe all Clemson graduates have one tooth and will work on a farm, I am just willing to say that I believe they are the week of the game. And since I posted it to Facebook as a response to a relevant post during the week of the Clemson game, I followed all of the rules! In short, I apologize for nothing.
So there you have them. The three simple rules to Facebook etiquette when it comes to rivalry smack talk. So when you are confronted by "Facebook jerk" hijacking your Facebook posts with over-the-top smack talk about your team on your page, post a link to this article, and then pray he reads it!
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