This was bound to happen. When you remove the space between us, you remove something personal and real. You remove the connection. Now conversations are being had between a person and a computer – not a person and a person. This allows for so much more freedom to do or say hateful and hurtful things.
You KNOW what I’m talking about. You’ve been victim to it. I don’t even have to ask you. Whether it’s through social media, your personal blogs or on another channel, someone has attacked you without worry of consequence.
It’s just so easy.
The problem is – as a reminder – we are all human. So, these words stick like glue. What are some recent zingers I’ve heard as of late?
- You look so tired lately. Maybe you shouldn’t work so much.
- I don’t know how you leave your kids as often as you do. I could never do that. I love my children too much to be gone as much as you are.
- I heard that a “well known” blogger wrote this article and it was you. I had no idea who you were. I mean… I had to look you up.
- I don’t have to worry about taking every gig that comes my way. My husband has a great job. I’m lucky to be able to choose things that make sense for my site.
- I love when you put a video up because your house is always a mess. It makes me feel good to see that your kitchen looks like that! Makes me feel better about my life.
- You’re always dressed up. Why do you try so hard? I just wake up and leave my house. I have no one to impress!
I could go on and on and on and… ON.
And it’s endless. Do I respond to these things? No. Because these people need Jesus. I still know who I am. I still remember how we are supposed to function as a society and if I had to get into a fight with people who insulted me on a regular basis, I would actually NEVER STOP FIGHTING. So, I choose my battles and these are simply not worth my time or energy. Thank GOD I entered this space late in my life because if I was in my late teens and early twenties, I probably would be medicated at this point. It’s a lot to take in on a weekly basis. It’s a test – that’s for sure. But I just ignore the comments and move on with my life. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are still present and happening.
On Facebook, I see one fight after the other unroll and unravel. It’s because everyone internalizes every statement that’s made. If I say that I love my mother and I am so blessed to have her on Mother’s Day….someone might comment that I’m being insensitive to people who don’t have mothers in their lives and argue that I’ve being inconsiderate on the holiday.
What? It’s Mother’s Day.
My father hasn’t been in my life for Y-E-A-R-S and I am always so happy to see my feed filled with love on Father’s Day for all the good dads out there. I don’t go online on Father’s Day and tell people – MY DAD LEFT ME! I DON’T KNOW IF HE IS ALIVE OR DEAD! IF YOU COMMENT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU LOVE YOUR DAD – THEN YOU ARE BEING INSENSITIVE TO MY SITUATION!!!
Why don’t I do that? Because their situation isn’t about me. Their situation is … their situation. It doesn’t always have to start a fight. People don’t always have to get insulted. In fact, on Father’s Day, I don’t even mention my father. I just talk about how wonderful my husband is and leave it at that. I don’t start my post with, “My father is nowhere to be found, but thank God I have Bill…” because I don’t want people to feel awkward for me. That’s for me to carry. I let people have their day because that day is for them. But not everyone feels the same way and it shows 365 days a year on Facebook. Someone is always insulted by what another person writes on Facebook. Always. Even when it has absolutely nothing to do with them.
This is the Internet. This is REAL. This is NOW. Everything becomes about the reader. Every post. Every headline. Every social media update – internalized.
People are lonely. But people are lonely because they are spending too much of their time indoors and online looking at other people’s lives. We need to break out of this cycle.
And what about writing negative stories that have shock value simply to try to go viral. What’s so special about going viral? What do you gain? Nothing. Yesterday, someone wrote an article and insulted a friend of mine in the article. She even LINKED TO HER BLOG. This was an attempt to call her out, get her attention, and throw fuel at the conversation so others would see it. But I can’t help but ask WHY you would want such a conversation to be seen?
Before the Internet, those types of conversations were had behind closed doors. You didn’t head to the park to have a blow out with a friend. You went to their house to hash it out in private. Why do we want everyone to see us throw the first punch? I blame reality TV. But it’s been a really long time since that all started. Don’t people get that viral posts live and die within a matter of minutes? Do you really want to sell your soul for 7 minutes of Internet fame? They literally won’t remember you by dinner. Will it be worth it? To take down another human or at least attempt to… for a few minutes of people checking out your site? It is so ugly. Be better. You are better than that.
With all that energy that you have, why not go do some charity work instead? Start a food drive? Learn how to coupon. At least you’ll save money that way. Anything but this. Truly.
In closing, I think we need to start looking at one another in the eyes again. I think we need to start remembering that we are all talking to another human being when posting remarks on the Internet. You aren’t responding to a blog or a video… you are responding to a person. Treat us like people. Act as if you are a person yourself.
ONE MORE THING –> the other day, I went to a store with Caleb and he was being a boy. Didn’t want to hold my hand, so I let him walk around me as I paid for my goods. He wasn’t touching anything, he was just circling around my body and talking. The young cashier looked me dead in the eyes and told me that she runs a child behavior course that helps parents take control of their “out of control children” and if I wanted, she would give me her card.
I’m not joking.
I was speechless for about 5 seconds because he wasn’t being bad. He was just not standing still. I asked her if she had any children of her own and she told me she didn’t. I picked up Caleb and told her, “Good luck with that” and then walked away.
What’s the point? It’s spreading. If we don’t fix this now online, our young teens are going to be this way in REAL LIFE. This 18-year-old lives online and only knows that world. I am afraid for our future, people!! Let’s change the world – one comment at a time.