Negativity Is Not Always A Bad Thing
Without agonizing any further about the increasing dearth of IndyCar blogs, I’ve been a little perplexed over some of the hand-wringing that has gone on in the comment sections, not so much on this site, but on others. But where it seems to be most prevalent is in social media – more specifically, Twitter and Facebook.
It seems it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be objective when it comes to making comments regarding the Verizon IndyCar Series. One camp claims that if you dare say anything critical of Mark Miles and the decisions he has or has not made; you are being negative and your presence is no longer wanted. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those that are spewing venom out of every pore at anything related to IndyCar, simply because…they can.
I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle, but oddly enough – I have been accused of being at both extremes. There are those that have said I’m a charter member of the sunshine brigade, meaning I’m essentially a shill for IndyCar. Others claim that I should simply clam up instead of voicing my concern over something that concerns me regarding the direction the series is taking. In other words, I’ve joined the Legions of the Miserable.
It’s not just me. There are others out there blogging or simply voicing what I consider a reasonable opinion on social media that are getting trounced by the gutter-snipes of the internet. It used to be that I would just simply laugh it off if someone left a comment or sent me an e-mail accusing me of either extreme, but after seeing what others have endured lately – it’s no wonder that many have decided to give up their blogs. Sometimes you wonder if it’s all worth it.
Our good friend Pressdog, who I believe coined the phrase “Never engage the crazies”, had a post on Facebook last weekend. In the dialogue of the comment section, he made an excellent point on this very subject by asking; “Would it be better to have 25 blogs actively commenting on IndyCar, even if they were often "negative" or 5 predominantly positive blogs commenting on IndyCar? I’d vote for the 25. Indifference is the enemy, not "negativity." MANY others would vote for the 5, and they’re getting their wish." Bingo! Talk about hitting the nail on the head!
The wonderful thing about the internet is that it gives a voice to many that previously would not have had a voice. The terrible thing about the internet is that it gives a voice to many that previously would not have had a voice.
One thing that makes this country of ours so great is that we are allowed to voice our opinion. Right or wrong, we all have an opinion. Mine probably differs from a lot of yours, but the commenters on this sight tend to be more civil and reasonable for whatever reason. Dissenting opinions are fine and actually encouraged at this site. There have been a few times (very few) that I have said things here and been shown a different way of thinking that demonstrated that I was wrong. A perfect example was my strong stance that the IndyCar season should end by Labor Day. After listening to arguments on the other side, I’ve come to change that stance.
But it seems that civility is becoming the exception and not the norm. Hostility seems to be running rampant on both sides. Quite honestly, I’m not sure who is driving more fans away – those that are extremely negative, or the self-righteous, ultra-positive bunch that wants to censor any criticism of the series, whatsoever. After reading some of the blind optimism of some of the Do-Good Nation; I almost lean towards siding with those that are accused of being overly negative. At least their complaints generally have some merit.
I’ve always been amused by those that brag about being so open-minded and tolerant. They are the ones that generally turn out to be only tolerant of those that agree with their point of view. It seems that those with the overly rosy perspective don’t want to hear anyone complain of anything that Mark Miles, Derrick Walker or anyone in a position with power at IndyCar may have done or said. In a Gestapo-like fashion, any dissenters are quickly attacked on social media and written off as a malcontent and ordered to go away if they can say nothing nice.
Someone much wiser than I am once pointed out to me that “Unfortunately, many (IndyCar fans) have responded to the “Love or Leave It” ultimatum by choosing to leave it”. That is unfortunate. As much as “we” love this sport, there are very few of “us” around anymore. We are a dwindling lot. Why on earth would anyone who claims to care so much about this sport, even give the impression that they wanted a fan to leave? It’s asinine.
Most know that I am a Tennessee Vols fan. The Vols have been terrible lately. I sometimes post cynical and critical comments on Twitter during games when they are in the midst of a lopsided loss. A college friend of mine never fails to chastise me for being negative and tells me that I’m no fan and that I should go be a fan of another team if I can’t say something nice about the Vols. Seriously? The big problem would be if I said nothing at all.
That’s where our friend Pressdog hit the nail on the head when he said that indifference is the enemy, not negativity. My wife, Susan, is a much deeper thinker than I am. She always said that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference (she was not talking about me, by the way). I thought that was an odd statement the first time I heard it, but the more I thought about it – the more sense it made.
It’s the same in following a team or a sport. If fans are griping about the way things are going, it’s a sign that they care. It’s when they stop complaining when you really need to worry. The Tennessee Titans are facing that right now. Five years ago when they started losing, fans were up in arms calling talk shows and lighting up internet message boards. Nowadays, it seems the fan base here has moved on and become so apathetic about the Titans that they have been almost pushed to the back burner. They cannot give tickets away right now. I know, because we are going to the game this weekend against the Texans, for some strange reason.
Silencing what fan base is left is not what the Verizon IndyCar Series needs. All that does is tick off most of the few remaining fans out there. All that will remain are those that silenced the people that cared enough to speak out and those that were apathetic to begin with.
When I see the flamethrowers on Track Forum, Facebook and Twitter that are extremists on both sides, it makes me grateful for the followers at Oilpressure.com. This site is not the most elaborate, nor does it even come close to having the most followers out there. But what it does have is a loyal and reasonable group of readers that are level-headed and have the ability to discuss things in a civilized manner. We don’t always agree here, but there are no grudges. We know how to agree to disagree one day, because we know we are likely to find ourselves on the same side of another issue a week later.
But as Pressdog warned us last week, when fans become indifferent and apathetic – that’s when it’s really time to worry.