Whenever the beautiful, firm-buttocked young Matt Wilson has to put out an idiot fire on The Greystones Open Forum, he always finishes with one simple message…
Don’t be a dick.
It’s a line he lifted from Mahatma Gandhi, and it’s a simple but golden rule to live by. And one that, hopefully, encourages the dick in question to look Left and look Right before they cross this popular Facebook melting pot again.
In many ways, Greystones is a unique town in that there’s old money here and new blood, there’s incredible wealth and those who are struggling to make ends meet, there are families going back hundreds of years and those who are just fresh off the boat, keen to start a new life in a town with a pretty glowing reputation for the good life.
It’s also a town where, like much of Ireland and the rest of the Western world these days, people are in their pyjamas and sipping wine long before the watershed. Which can lead to all sorts of cloak and stagger posts, as the anonymity, the night and the booze brew up a mental storm or two.
For the most part on social media, everyone is happy to shoot the breeze, and share the fun, the love and any local news that they feel is important enough for their fellow Greystonians to know. Mixed in, unfortunately, with the spam. And the trolls.
That the internet gives just as much space to a heartbreaking story about Syria as it does a thigh-slapping post about a homeless dildo means that the line between what’s actually important and what’s just drunken craic has now been well and truly blurred.
For most people, Facebook and its internet cousins are all about the fun though, even if scrolling through social media these days is akin reading a joke book from beginning to end in the hope of finding that one good laugh.
So, spare a thought for the likes of Matt Wilson, whose daily slog involves trying to put some manners on this brave new Fraggle Rock world. A world where quantity, not quality, rules, and where a casual insult can go a long, long way down. To hell.
And when he calls someone out for their nasty posts, hey, he ends up getting some nasty posts from the nasty poster about being reprimanded for their nasty posts.
So, if you’re a passionate poster, take a breath, and think about what you’re really saying. And how you’re going to feel about that post in the morning.