Say NO to snarkiness!

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 | 2 Comments

A person makes an Announcement Communication to a group on a Cam

“(We) are powerful beyond measure”, Marianne Williamson once beautifully said.  But we forget.  We forget to use our power as a force for good.

Last night I hit my limit.  After reading one too many snarky reviews and posts about Sunday’s Academy Awards, I just felt slimed.  I don’t understand why it has become permissible in our society to blast out such cruel things about our fellow human beings.  In fact, it’s not just permitted, it sparks a downright snarkiness-competition.  Love the 5th amendment.  Love that we all have the right to exercise our opinions in whatever way we see fit, but having the right and it being right are two different things.  Where does responsibility come in?


adjective   informal
adjective: snarky; comparative adjective: snarkier; superlative adjective: snarkiest

1. (of a person, words, or a mood) sharply critical; cutting; snide.
 “the kid who makes snarky remarks in class”

– cranky; irritable.
”Bobby’s always a bit snarky before his nap”

Look, none of us are beyond reproach – I too have indulged in my fair share of snarkiness (in fact, it does not escape me that I’m a tad snarky about snarkiness).  But if I’m really committed to working toward being my best self, I have to admit, I can do better.  We forget, words have an impact.  More than we probably even realize.

Sure. The tweets and reviews are about the “stars” – the chosen few who grace the spotlight.  The .5% of our population that should be able to “take it”.  Should have thick skin.  “Heck, that’s just part of the job!  That’s why they make all the money!”

I can’t help but think about Phillip Seymore Hoffman…

Nobody is impervious.

I remember I had a professor in college who was ruthless with his snarkiness.  He’d leave emotionally decimated young actors in his wake at every turn and justify it by saying that he was preparing them for the “real world”.   And if you looked closely, at the bystanders of his destruction, you could watch people shrink back in an effort to stay off his radar, to appease and keep themselves from harm’s way.  Nobody wanted to be “the one” who felt the wrath.  Because it clearly sucked.

And I think that’s the environment we’re creating by breeding snarkiness (or fear…they create the same thing – one’s just got better PR).  An environment that encourages us to stay off the radar or else…

And this isn’t just a Facebook-thing, or an Arts-thing, it’s happening every day in the conference rooms and hallways of our organizations.  The snarky comments that are made about colleagues or direct reports just show people that we’re snarky-comment-makers.  People are smart enough to know that if we’re talking about others to them, we’re likely talking about them to others.  They know.  But they won’t say anything.  They’ll appease and play the game to stay off the radar and then just, ever-so-gradually, stop fully engaging.  Stop trusting.  Stop.

We can do better.  What kind of culture do we want to create?  Are we creating?

Our words have power.  Whether we text them, say them, or tweet them.  Let us all remember that we have a responsibility for what we’re putting out into the world.  Powerful beyond measure, we are.  Let us use it as a force for good.

And with that, she triumphantly leaps off her soapbox with a rousing, “Say NO to snarkiness!”

(Orchestra swells.  Fade to black.  Cut to commercial.)

©OnStage Leadership, 2013;  Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share.  It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.


  1. Laura Jugan
    March 5, 2014

    Hahaha, love the theatrical ending!

    Too often I see people using social media as a ranting platform. Maybe somehow it feels like you are “validated” your right to be mean when someone else “likes” your post. But in reality, as you so eloquently put it, it just breeds more negativity.

    Words definitely do have power and I love how you use yours in your amazing posts. When it comes down to it, most of us would admit that we want to be seen as a loving person, not a hateful one. Starting with using loving words in our everyday lives is a huge step towards living that truth.

  2. Kimberly
    March 5, 2014

    Laura, I absolutely love how you brought up how we hope to be seen – as loving or hateful. Wow. That really calls it out, doesn’t it. Great insight! Thanks so much for reading and all your support!

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