“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!