BJ Kimbrough: Keyboard Cowboys and Facebook


I’m always amazed. Launching a new magazine in these rough and tumble economic times is tough, and doing it with the expressed intention of sharing information to readers – free of charge – almost seems self-defeating. I’ve watched several of our online magazines go through the same growing pains, and I’m watching our latest, EngineLabs, go through the same cycle as our previous magazine launches. You’d think that I’d be used to it, but I’m still amazed.

Why all the amazement? Well… first things first, it’s always mind-blowing to watch a magazine come together and launch its inaugural copy. The magazine’s editor and publisher pull off a Herculean effort to hit deadlines and pull together quality content for the initial product. From the initial idea concept through the great conceptual ideas and refinements to the push of the publish button, it’s an amazing process to watch. Major kudos to the team that pulled off the launch of EngineLabs.

Being positive is the only way to get and give respect. Being positive will grow your social media group like no other fertilizer.

Where the astonishing disappointment comes in to play is when social media is involved.

We are all familiar with what happens on forums and blogs. Many of the initial posts come from sarcastic, self-appointed experts on any topic of discussion, better known as “Keyboard Cowboys.” You’ve seen them. If you are reading this editorial, I would be willing to bet that you’ve encountered one or more of these abrasive individuals on your travels down the information super-highway. You know the type, those omnipotent Messiahs whose only reason to join a Facebook fan page or internet discussion board is to argue and throw around insults. That can be the only reason anyone can see for their comments because clearly, they seem to know everything and every facet of any subject.

Thankfully, these Keyboard Cowboys represent less than the typical 10% of any group. Unfortunately for the rest of us, this small percentage of the self-declared “experts” are the loudest and most irritating splinter group on any social media site.

I'd much rather spend my time writing and talking about engines than word fighting on social media sites.


Why This Phenomenon is Astonishing  

Let me say that I am mostly astonished and disappointed that the keyboard cowboys still get under my skin. I’ve seen their postings so many times that an immunity should be built up by now. The mental image of a slovenly loner living in his parent’s basement, whose life consists of making comments on social media posts between rounds of surfing for internet porn, come to mind whenever these comments appear on the EngineLabs Facebook fan page. 

Also astonishing is the sad truth that I am using valuable editorial space (and a keyboard) to point out why self-appointed experts are destructive to social media.

I’ve also been astonished when I see copycat keyboard cowboys. It would seem that misery and bitterness does, in fact, love company. One abrasive comment leads to retaliation and before long you have several others jumping into the fray, all with no real purpose or intent. 


Keyboard Warrior (Urban Dictionary)

A keyboard warrior is generally someone that is spending more time behind the keyboard (on the internet) than anywhere else. He/she is a person who, being unable to express his anger through physical violence (owing to their physical weakness, lack of bravery and/or conviction in real life), instead manifests said emotions through the text-based medium of the internet, usually in the form of aggressive writing that the Keyboard Warrior would not (for reasons previously mentioned) be able to give form to in real life.

What Can Be Done

The ninety-five percent that really enjoy online magazines, and the information that is presented, can make a difference. When you are on the social media sites, make positive comments if there was an article, photo or tech information that you liked. 

Realize that no one person can know everything – not even the keyboard cowboys. You will find errors and mistakes. This goes for print magazines, blogs, Facebook posts and yes… even our online magazines. It happens. When it does happen, and it’s on our Facebook page or the EngineLabs magazine, we would like to hear about it. You will be doing us a favor and will see faster positive results if you send us a PM or let us know in the comment section. A little tact goes a long way in these messages.

Don’t tolerate the keyboard cowboys when they want to flex their Facebook muscles by posting crude and abrasive comments. The best method to counteract those taunting comments is to not respond to them at all. Take away their significance by not giving those comments any recognition. Let it go and soon enough the keyboard warrior will eventually get bored and go back to surfing the web for porn or anything page to fan some flames. Before they leave the social media group that ignored their abrasive posts, you will usually see these “experts” make a final post about leaving the group or “unliking” a Facebook page. That is when your satisfaction of knowing that a cancer to your group has been removed.

Going Forward

We are all responsible for the health and welfare of our favorite media sites, forums or message boards. Being positive is the only way to get and give respect. Being positive will grow your social media group like no other fertilizer. Fostering an information sharing atmosphere is what we are striving for.

As for my part, this was my one and only “bitch-session” editorial. Much like the 95% of our EngineLabs community, I would much rather talk constructively about engines and engine theory in a positive light. Let’s go forward from here.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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