Guys there is a thing happening.
It started approximately a million years ago, and I’m certainly not the first one to comment on it.
People are real dicks to other people on the internet.
And we have an excuse!
“Well, if you didn’t want to know what people think why did you put it online?”
Um, because I’m a person? Because I have opinions? Because validation is just as important as being argumentative?
People are real dicks, is my point.
To be fair, the anonymous thing I kind of get. We all read stuff that people post and think “omg they really think that being gay caused that tornado. THEY REALLY THINK THAT.” And so if you could comment on how much of an idiot that person is without anyone knowing who you were I kind of get it. And it goes both ways, there are plenty of people on the internet who read my thoughts and think “wow, she thinks it’s ok for governments to spend money on education and take away my guns. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT HOW DUMB.”
It’s the people you know, though, commenting on your perfectly innocent thoughts as if you are the dumbest human being alive and how could you possibly think anything like what you are currently thinking that gets me.
And that’s where anyone who puts anything on the internet is to blame, right? If you don’t want to be criticized, don’t put it out there. Otherwise you’re just asking for it.
That sound so familiar…so, so familiar…
You say you were raped, m’am? What were you wearing when this allegedly happened?
No. No. No. Go fuck yourself. Me having thoughts does not entitle you to be a dick to me any more than walking down the street completely naked would entitle you to rape me. I’m not asking for it. No one is. I think most people like to use the internet as a place to share thoughts and get information and watch cat videos, but for some unknown reason there are a few, and definitely the loudest few, who use the internet to read things and just seem to have their fingers POISED over the keys to strike whenever they disagree with something for one second.
Now, before you get all finger-pointy, I’ve done this before. And then I feel bad. And I’ll probably forget that I feel this way and do it again, so if I’ve ever done this to you I’m sorry and please let’s move on. This is about me, clearly.
I STEW over this, you guys. I really do. Some of you reading know this, I’ll text you 8 hours after a comment that irks me online to apologize or talk about it, which is so, so dumb, but I feel certain that I’m not the only one, and I justcantstopthinkingaboutitwhydontyoulikemeomg. Whether or not people are too sensitive is beside the point, if you post something that you think is real/true/important/special and someone immediately comments with “um, let’s hold up a second about your opinion, missy,” it makes you feel like shit, and that’s ok.
I think it relates back to that saying where someone could say 10 positive things to you and 1 negative thing, and 10 years later you’re still talking about the one bad thing, right? It’s a shame, but it’s true. Those things cut deeper for whatever reason, and they stick with us. The internet is built that way! You can like something with one click, but the dislikes have to come in the form of words, right? TRICKY, internet. Real tricky.
So I think there are two paths here. First, “you’re too sensitive, you really need to thicken your skin.” Yes, that’s a possibility. Second, we could just try to be gentler in our wording? I disagree with the whole “this is the problem with the internet, there’s no inflection!” Um, no, people are intentionally sassy on this platform, so I don’t really buy that. We all know that there is a difference between saying “Another way to look at this would be xxx” and “let’s hold on a sec and all agree that you haven’t experienced the one thing you’re talking about so you have no business talking about it ever you dummy.” Clear differences, and I guarantee that if you finger-posed-reactionary types took mayyyyybe 10 seconds to reword some of your “comments,” sissypants like me might not be inclined to write a thousand words on the internet about whyyyyyyy are people so meeeeaaaannnnn to me.
I don’t have the answer, this is just something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I can’t tell you the number of things I don’t share or post or talk about because of this exact thing – rather than build each other up we use online forums as a way to wait for someone to say something slightly off and then just rip them to shreds. In the grand scheme of things I’m SUPER lucky that I don’t have too much of that, but there isn’t a ton of bad stuff people can say about soup (although some of the comments I’ve never allowed to make it to the public on effing recipes astound me at how mean they are). I don’t think that people are asking for it, and I don’t think that it’s anyone’s right to shit on someone who is trying to be honest and open in any way they feel comfortable doing so.
Maybe just think before you pounce. There is ALWAYS a way to word things where it sounds like you are truly offering an opinion and a way to word things where you lead with “you’re dumb, let me tell you why.” The meat of the comment might be the same, but the presentation can make all the difference.
PS before you start thinking this is about you, it’s not. I promise. It’s about us all.