Or at the very least, a little courtesy.
I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to write this post because it’s a bit of a rant. My frustration lies in the way I see people treating each other online. I’ll use myself as an example, but I’ve witnessed this behavior on blogs, on Facebook, and everywhere else people interact.
I’m not talking about anonymous trolls who bait people for sport. I’m talking about those who call themselves my friends, yet do nothing to earn that title. Their comments are snarky, rude, inconsiderate, and border on plain old mean, yet they seem oblivious to the fact that I’m a person with feelings just like everyone else and their thoughtless words often have a negative effect. (Which is especially ironic since many of these people are writers.) I’ve tried ignoring them, I’ve responded seriously — I’ve even deleted comments — yet nothing seems to get my point across.
Many of my friends would appear to fall into this category (based on Facebook posts alone), but I have a tight group of friends with whom I email, text, chat, talk, etc, on a daily or weekly basis, so while on the surface it may seem like we do nothing but tease each other, in reality we’re very involved in each others lives. The trouble starts when people I don’t know as well see that banter and assume it’s a free-for-all.
Here’s where I’m hoping the people will stop and ask themselves which group they fall into. Do you make the effort to get to know someone before casually flinging insults at them, or do you figure it’s the internet so what difference does it make? Over the past few years I’ve made a real effort to eliminate negativity from my life — including ending friendships — and I’m almost at the point where that needs to happen again.
Before anyone calls me a hypocrite, I’d like to point out that for every silly or smart@ss comment I make, I try to say something genuine and supportive as well. I’ve stopped myself from posting countless times because I know my offhand remark could easily be taken the wrong way, especially if the person is having a rough day. All I’m asking for is the same in return.