While we’ve been trained to believe that snark rules online and that all of social media is populated by 4channers and redditors — and Presidents! Well, today is the 4th of July, America’s Independence Day! Even the most rubeboi and rudegrrl are more than one thing. Even the most unstable alt-right extremist and the most losing-their-shit progressive liberal RESIST activist can also be sentimental, soft, earnest, sensitive, respectful, appreciative, and even open-minded.
We Are All Many Things
So, unless you are, in fact, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, then don’t exclusively engage your online community through Megaphones, Air Horns & Whistles! Just don’t do it. Bombast is perfectly fine when you really want to stoke a crowd but your tone, your angle of attack, your word-, photo-, image-, and graphics-choices really need to reflect that mood of not only the crowd you’re engaging and messaging but also the temperature of the room and the mood of the event.
Solemn Days and Celebratory Days
Memorial Day, Veterans Day, President’s Day and the 4th of July, Independence Day, are all Patriotic Days but the tone of each of them are different. Very different. Does one say “Happy Memorial Day?” “Happy Veterans Day?” I don’t know. We do say it but there’s a level of solemnity associated with these days. They’re sober days dedicated to men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our way of life and Freedoms we often take for granted.
Unbecoming of the Office
This has been amplified in light of recent Presidential tweets. Like all of tweets from the President over the last six months, there has been so much bombast and every single tweet has polarized America and Americans. One thing everyone is asking, it seems, is whether personal ad hominem attacks by the president is Presidential, whether the remarks were unbecoming of the office. Whatever you believe and whichever side of the aisle you’re on, our President communicated almost exclusively with Megaphones, Air Horns & Whistles.
The title quote, “it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear,” is from Frank Luntz, from his book Words that Work. Frank is the world’s most important political consultant, his specialty is “testing language and finding words that will help his clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate.” You might know Frank as the guy who reframed “global warming” as “climate change,” a change in the angle attack that survives through to today, when even “the other side” refers to the heating up of the Earth by humankind as the more natural “climate change.”
Where Are You; How Are You Dressed?
Even if you’re not fancy and the only tux or gown you’ve ever owned you wore at a wedding or a funeral, that’s enough. It’s all you need to know: are you living or dying? Are you in celebration or in mourning? Does the situation demand your being hard and tough or soft and nurturing. You can be both. In fact, it’s essential that you are otherwise people will be considering your mental health, whether you’re maybe a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath.
Show all of your beautiful colors, Little Rainbow! Even the biggest bro tears up when he’s compelled to give his best bro a Best Man speech; even the steeliest ruffian is oft reduced to tears when delivering his dad’s Eulogy.
So, make sure you’re heard and please: by all means learn from the bombastic social media stylings of Leader of the Free World — yes! — but please don’t pattern your entire act on him! He’s a one trick pony!
Come on Little Rainbow Pony, go and celebrate Independence Day with all the Megaphones, Air Hornsand Whistles you can muster — and feel free to add fireworks, roman candles, and even the odd M-80 — but beware your fingers, your eyes, your friends, and all the little ones!
And, remember, it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.