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Technology has empowered us with the ability to broadcast ourselves far and wide. We can be like Ashton Kutcher and collect a fanbase on Twitter, we can be like Peter Bratt’s film La Mission that has an active fan page announcing the next screening, or we can be the next Tom Colicchio and judge our local restaurants and name our own Top Chef.

I love the variety of voices and personalities I can discover through social media. Most are very positive, constructive and, well, social. But it really irks me when social media is used to be anti-social.

Case in point – I was sitting in a restaurant last week where a lone waitress was managing our section and doubling as the sole bartender. A rush of people came in and suddenly she was completely overwhelmed, scurrying at full speed to accommodate the thirsty and hungry diners. Consequently, we all had to be a bit patient – but it certainly wasn’t her fault as she was clearly doing her best.

Then, in comes a machismo guy towing along his partner. He plops down in a seat and announces he wants some drinks. The waitress sprints to the bar to fulfill his request and queues up his order after the others that are waiting. Another waiter pops by and offers menus. Dude guy refuses. Then dude guy gets frustrated waiting for 5 minutes and makes a scene. “Forget about my order!,” he barks. The waitress flushes with embarrassment and apologizes sincerely for the delay. He pushes away from the table, grabs the girlfriend, and storms out. With his back to the restaurant, he loudly declares “That’s what Yelp is for.”

Coward.

This really peeved me. Is this guy such a techno-bully that he has to resort to social sites to air his grievances when they could surely have been immediately addressed in person?

I agree there are times when establishments deserve public criticism by the community at large (hello, BP). But I do hope the behavior I witnessed in the restaurant is something that won’t give a voice to those who only know how to yell.

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous