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I’ve taken to calling those flow-interrupting comments that bomb out a conversation thread SocialFracking. There’s both good and bad SocialFrack. The good might turn a terrible tank before it crushes the shared garage. The bad kind feels like losing your mantra; you might not notice instantly, but when you do notice, you’ll have to start all over again.

I unfriend chronic SocialFrackers (colloquially referred to as simply “frackers”) because they distract me from the business at hand. They engage like under-recognized precocious children; smart-mouthed, dumb-assed, understandably unappreciated. They seem to wear their grudge on their shoulder, proudly, as if a spangly epallette. They suck all the civility out of discourse. My life’s way too short to let them hang around for long.

I have been known to frack. My mother taught me well, for she remains a master fracker. Yes, I have a motherfracker for a mom. She can instantly change any subject, inject irrelevance into any intimacy, and deflect even the most heart-felt emotion. So I come by my abilities innocently, but that’s no excuse. I’m learning to catch myself stumbling myself. You might need to remind me when I’m stumbling you.

The comment section following articles published in major newspapers serve as a rich growing medium for SocialFracking. The insinuations, the “hey, look over here at me!” distractions; there seem few simple appreciations or well-intended extensions of the base article. Noise.

My friend David Thompson says that attention is the currency of the social media universe. Going viral trumps everything because it divvies-up the limited attention available to one point, just like a jackpot empties a slot machine. Social Media competition depends upon developing the ability to distract attention toward your post and away from others’. SocialFracking is one method of swiping more than your share of the net attention available. Just jump into a thread and inject an irrelevance. Not only will this disrupt the smooth flow of the conversation, it might (I said, might!) get all the focus previously attending to that subject to notice little old you.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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