“What happened to just being nice?”
This is something I have found myself asking more and more lately, and it makes me so sad.
Recently, I’ve become more and more aware of nastiness online. It could be that I’m noticing it more or it’s possible that there really is an increase in people’s sense of entitlement to be rude.
Take this week, for example. In a group I’m part of, somebody had asked for some help on a particular topic. They were polite and thankful for any responses they might receive – nothing that was offensive in my eyes. Rather than being offered the help, the original poster was completely vilified because she called something by its incorrect name. Rather than kindly correcting the person, she received a barrage of scoffing comments, mocking and just plain rudeness. Not wanting to be audience to such an attack, I commented and found myself receiving a similar response.
It made me wonder how many of those posters sat back and really thought about how that other person felt? What mental state they were in? What was going on in their lives? It was mob mentality. Pure and simple. Those posters thrived off one another wanting to be part of the “cool” crowd and fit in, with no regard for others. And that’s really disappointing.
I’m not saying that we should all be rainbows and unicorns, and agree with each other. That would make life dull. Disagreeing is good. Debating is good. But arguing with a sole purpose of hurting another’s feelings…what are they achieving?
This reminds me of another incident I witnessed a couple of weeks ago where a well-known blogger gave her opinion on a very controversial topic about genetics. She was completely torn apart by others, accusing her of wanting to rid the world of disabled people. What’s sad is the article she wrote said nothing of the sort. I believe that the article was written with the best intentions but she admitted herself that she had not seen the bigger picture. Rather than initiating a healthy debate, things got very personal and far beyond the discussion of the article…again, what were they achieving?
Then there was another time that a blogger wrote an article about how she felt about breastfeeding. Again, I think the wording of the article ticked some people off and I do understand why people took to responding to the post. But rather than putting their point across, the blogger was met with mocking and at times, very personal comments. I do appreciate that bloggers put themselves out there and should accept that not everyone will agree, especially with such controversial topics. But that’s just it…go ahead and disagree, spark a debate, but why turn to malice? We learn more from discussing the issue than lowering the tone with insults…again, I ask, what were they achieving?
It’s not a secret that my hubby completely hates Social Media. He refuses to sign up to Facebook, he infrequently pops up on Instagram with his 8 followers and he ventures onto Twitter in times of boredom. One day we were discussing the barrage of abuse somebody was receiving online when he replied with: “Social Media is a breeding ground for self righteous [insert naughty word] who can’t see beyond their own opinion. They have no tolerance for those who don’t agree with them and the art of debate has been lost.” (I’ve paraphrased this, it was more like a rant with lots of naughty words!)
And he’s right. Social Media appears to have turned into an arena for trolling with many wearing the blinkers, unable to have a discussion without resorting to name calling or a sarcastic gif if you’re ‘down’ with the technology (I do love a good gif though!).
I cannot fathom why there is ever a need to turn a healthy debate into a venomous spat. It doesn’t strengthen the argument nor does it do anything to build respect. And what irks me the most is when people say, “I tell it how it is” as a reason to excuse their blatant bad attitude. Telling somebody ‘how it is’ is putting your point across respectfully and being prepared to agree to disagree. It is not mocking and bringing others down.
Unfortunately, the sad reality is I’m preaching to the choir. My words aren’t going to suddenly cause an epiphany and will fall on deaf ears (blind eyes?). But if I’ve managed to make even one person question their actions then this post has served its purpose
We don’t all have to get along. We are all entitled to our opinions. But let’s not spread any more poison than is already in the world right now!
I totally agree with this, I think social media has given these kinds of people so many ways to be really quite awful to other people, which in real life they probably wouldn’t have the courage for. I see a lot on social media, and in blogs, that I disagree with, but most of the time I just keep on scrolling. If I feel the need to comment I do so in a way that I see as productive, and respectful, but I guess not everyone feels the same way.
I completely agree that many would lack courage in real life. Sometimes I think they forget that it’s a real person behind the screen.
Totally agree with you on this lovely . Social media can be an awful place xx
Sadly, your hubby seems to have a point at times. I’ve seen a lot of nastiness over the years and it is that pack mentality, one person is nasty and loads jump in the bandwagon. It really is a case of ‘if you can’t say anything nice then say nothing at all’. Mich x
Completely agree. It’s just a shame some can’t just say nothing.
II agree. My wise wise mum always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Sadly that seems to no longer be the case. I also think that the world of online doesn’t help, as people can hide behind the screen. Plus I think we are exposed to it more x
Exactly. It’s just a shame people can’t live by that mantra!
I agree its sad that people feel the need to upset others what happened to the if you can’t say something nice say nothing at all.I definitely see too much nastiness online and stay out of it as I’m not that kind of person to troll others.
Exactly! I just can’t get my head around how people can think this is okay.
Yes yes yes yes. Totally agree with everything you have said! Social media can be a *insert naughty word here* fest giving trolls a lovely little screen to hide behind to bully others, because that’s what it is. It’s bullying. One particular person online has recently taken it upon themselves to try and make mine and my family’s life hell for the past 8ish months and it got so bad recently that we actually had to go to the police who looked and agreed that it’s obvious to them that the person is targeting us but they can’t do anything as such yet because they haven’t publicly said our names (despite being so awful it has affected our mental health and actually caused me to feel suicidal at one point). This kind of thing is why so many people do it, there is little to no comeuppance for being a complete *insert another naughty word* online. Opinions are cool, everyone has them and everyone is entitled to them but there is a fine line between disagreeing and being a complete and utter d**k who’s only aim is to hurt people. Genuinely do not understand people like that at all!!
I’m really surprised and annoyed for you that the police couldn’t do anything. I thought they were cracking down on trolls! Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a perfect example of the impact this sort of behaviour can have.
I completely agree with this. I see so much nastiness on social media, especially on Twitter. I don’t see why people think it’s ok to hide behind a screen and be horrible to other people.
Couldn’t agree with you more beautiful. Social media has become such an awful place. I received lots of awful tweets from an infertility post that I posted a while a go. A random bloke told me that I shouldn’t have children because I don’t work. Clearly set out to be a troll!
This is what I mean! What type of person thinks it’s okay to make these types of comments?! You’ve really got to be a certain type of person to purposely troll somebody.
I definitely find people find it easier to be mean via a keyboard, but I suspect in real life these people are bitching loudly to their friends so there subject of their comments can overhear. Obviously tone can be hard to read and some comments sound harsh when they aren’t meant that way, but that still leaves a lot of people being horrible. Fortunately there are also a huge number of supportive people online. As a blogger I’m too small to get trolling and I surround myself on social media with nice people (mostly) so I don’t see too much of the dark side.
Couldn’t agree more, it’s the one reason why I withheld from joining Facebook for so long, having already been blogging and tweeting for 4 years before.
People seem to enjoy saying things they never would to people’s faces via a comment. I’m in a special needs US group and at times it can get very nasty, when it should be supportive.
Its a shame that people have to be like that in online groups. It’s very similar in a BLW group I’m in; you wonder why they bother being part of the group!
I I do agree and not only are people not nice but I also sadly find people are getting more and more selfish all the time – both online and in real life. That said as a blogger I do think you have to take responsibility for what you say. There are very good reasons why qualified journalists have a code of ethics they must stick to, as do qualified and accredited PRs so therefore bloggers also need to be mindful of what they say sometimes – that said nothing warrants the abuse some people get x
Absolutely. Especially when some bloggers have a very big influence online.
I really agree with you on this and I think it’s very sad.
Some people justvfo it to get a reaction
I’m all for a HEALTHY debate – they need to draw the line and get a life!!
I agree about social media, I don’t have a Facebook account either and didnt intend to but now our school has said it will have an account on there grrrrr. I dread my kids being older and on it. I hope that by the time they are old enough social media will be seen as a ‘naff’ thing to be doing. I can hope.
This is sadly such a truthful post. Social media can be a platform for love and uplifting others or a mask to hide behind. The bad always outshines the good. Let’s foxus on positivity and lead by example and learn from others’ negativity but not give it merit. Thanks for this needed post!
I agree. The internet is such a powerful tool that we should be using it for positivity and lifting others up 🙂