Social Media and the Gladys Kravitz Syndrome

Recently, I have fallen victim to a personal belief of mine. It is has always been my belief that when it came to Social Media there was nothing wrong with being yourself and putting it out there. This is true to a certain degree. You must also accept the consequences that stem from conflicts where others may not agree with your thoughts, lifestyle or even simply misunderstand your intentions.


Gladys Kravitz Syndrome: In the sitcom, Bewitched, the Stephens lived across the street from Gladys Kratvitz. Gladys was the quintessential nosey neighbor. Gladys was sure that something was up with the Stephens and more than a few times blew situations way out of proportion. Gladys didn’t understand the Stephens and that lead to many comical exchanges.

Does a lack of understanding excuse the Gladys Kravitz’s of the world for causing trouble because they don’t understand a situation and the separation between work and personal life?

That’s part of the difficulty of generating content. What makes perfect sense to you as you write it may not make sense in the same way to the next person.  After all, they are merely deciphering your words into their understanding of their inherent meaning it stands to reason some things can get lost in translation. You can be a most careful editor and still leave some ambiguity on the table.

A Gladys Kravitz assumes the worst. Ambiguity can be dangerous. If there’s room for interpretation your social media posts can lead someone to believe something entirely untrue. Take for example a recent post I made on Facebook: I love you fortune cookie. “A good position and comfortable salary will be yours. Keep eating.” This is a stretch but this could be misconstrued as I’m not happy with the job I’m currently in or that my salary isn’t adequate.

Social media can be dangerous.  I have just over 200 people friended on Facebook. There comprise my family, friends, former professors, former and present co-workers and members of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis.  Any of these groups could spawn a Gladys Kravitz to cause trouble for me.  It could happen to anyone. If someone decides to talk to my boss about my very public commentary it could impact my relationship with my job, especially if the person is dead wrong. It’s not just jobs but reputations could be harmed if information is handled improperly.

Are you a Gladys Kravitz? If you don’t understand something that has been said or posted and you take it upon yourself to make wild assumptions about the posted items, then you could be a suffering from Gladys Kravitz Syndrome. What’s the cure?

Social media is meant to be a conversation! I’m posting things with the hope of engagement, wider discussion, growth and intelligent discourse. You’re defeating that purpose if you choose not to participate in the conversation with me to increase our collective understanding.  You should participate in the discussion, if you want to know the reasoning behind a post or you disagree please feel free to email and start the discourse. I’m always open to questions. I began writing this post in an effort to say maybe I needed to be more guarded in what I put out there but upon following this train of thought I think we all need to be better about conversation.

Don’t be a Gladys Kravitz! Converse!