Social Media Warrior to the Rescue!!!
Earlier this week, the alarm went off. I showered, ate breakfast and then went to check my e-mail and the happenings on the Facebook page prior to heading off to work. The first thing I see on my Facebook page was this poorly edited meme. I am sure you have seen it before. It implies that no cyclists follow the rules of the road. Sigh! It is an old tired and stupid argument, yet it continues to persist. This time the meme was posted by the staff of the rock station I listen to daily. The overnight guy, Matt Koch posted it. Posts like this from a media source serve to legitimize animosity against cyclists.
The post garnered a lot of attention and many, many comments. Looking at the bike-lash comments, it was clear that the Social Media Warrior had to take action. I had to defend the cyclist’s honor! I had heard all the arguments before. ‘Cyclist should stay off the road.’ ‘Cyclists should carry insurance, and be forced to register their bikes.’ ‘Cyclists don’t pay for the roads.’ Blah, Blah, Blah! These are all topics I have covered on the blog. I had a response for all these idiotic, half-witted comments. And respond I did. The next thing I knew several hours had gone by and I had responded to many, many comments. Over the course of the next couple days the effects of my warrior’s quest became clear. I picked up a couple of trolls. I was accused of being arrogant for explaining my position and the law. I was called horrible names. But I have to admit to using some inappropriate language. On a positive note, I did have a constructive conversation with a couple people. I was able to explain my perspective and we had respectful conversations. Overall my social media warrior’s quest accomplished nothing. The social media hordes are a stupid lot. No amount of arguing, logic or explanation will change their minds. Reason and logic mean nothing to a mindless troll. My time would have been better used riding my bike. However, I did do one thing that did have a small measure of success.
When I first saw the post and the angry hateful comments in the thread that accompanied it from people in my community, I was upset. After making a few comments I took the time to write a comment. I was sure to flag the radio station, KISW and the person posted the meme. My comment was as follows:
Matt Koch This post is very disappointing. It is neither funny or appropriate. I ride with people whose age ranges from 20-80 years old from all walks of life. The actions of a few bad apples do not reflect my actions on the road. As someone who cycles for recreation and transportation, I am subject to harassment and bullying from aggressive drivers whether I follow the rules of the road or not. These sorts of posts only serve to reinforce this sort of negative, aggressive and dangerous behavior.
I would hope you and KISW 99.9 “The Rock” would put some thought into your posts and whom they may harm before spreading this garbage. I know that Taryn Daly has been known to ride a bike from time to time. Are you encouraging people to bully her?
I then shared the post to CYCLEBUTTCRACK’s Facebook page. To my surprise, Matt Koch responded to my post and he did apologize. However, he did not pull the post. Even so, he at least did read my thoughts on the matter and was subject to follow up comments from some of CYCLEBUTTCRACK’s loyal followers. Thank you!
I know that I will run across bike hater comments in the future. I will try to do my part to not let it affect me or eat up my time. However, I still wonder if ignoring such drivel is the best policy. The Social Media Warrior’s path is not the best option. Are alternate or better courses of action? Do we have to just accept bike-lash on social media and in other places?