When I wrote last week’s post, I was scared. I was scared when I put the words down on paper. I was scared when I hit the word “Publish” on my WordPress page. I was scared when I sent a preview paragraph to my sister, who already knew all the information in that paragraph. I was scared when said sister said: “do you have churchy do-gooders that are going to comment on your post?” I was scared all day when it was up and people I knew, people I loved, and strangers were reading that post. I was just plain scared. I usually have no problem putting my heart on my electronic sleeve and pouring its contents out through my fingertips onto that keyboard and into the world wide web, but this week has made me a little more cautious. Why? Because the Internet is rude.
I have a blogger friend who also pours her heart out into the vast world of the internet, she struggles with a lot of things and is not shy about putting them on Facebook and in her blog. I’ve been supportive of her both emotionally and financially, and she’s never been anything but grateful. Well, there was that ONE time when we did get into a fight on Facebook, over a topic I can not even remember. I do know that it 100% ended up being a blog post for me, cause that’s what us writers do, we use our real-life experiences as writing fodder. (Side note: you should always be nice to a writer friend because you never know when you may show up on their blog or as a character in a story.) I certainly wasn’t mean in my blog post; I didn’t call her names, I didn’t question her statements, it just all became a reflection of me and how I reacted to the situation.
But again, the Internet is rude. This blogger friend of mine, let’s call her Mary. Mary did what all of us writers do, poured our hearts out on a post and then hit “Publish.” Now, maybe Mary has more followers than me, which is not such a far fetched idea, but in two days, she got two nasty comments. Perhaps they are trolls, perhaps they are just people watching her life in the shadows and darkness of the internet, and because that’s not creepy enough, they were bold enough to put their nasty comments on her blog. Now, Mary is not shy at all, I don’t think about anything, so she called them out, and when I saw those posts I wondered to myself “does it even matter? Did it even work?” It probably didn’t, but I know for the few minutes it took to write the post, she felt a little better.
The Internet, while you can find amazing things in it, is rude. It gives cowards the ability to hide behind fake names, stalk people and then lash out for whatever reason they deem right and acceptable. I know this statement is not a revolutionary discovery or comment on my part, we all know it, look at the 2016 election, but there are a couple of things I don’t understand. Why didn’t Mary delete those comments from her blog and go on with her day? When you reply to those kinds of people you are just adding fire to their hate, giving them more ammunition to fire back at you and before you know it, even the strongest of people are in the fetal position in the corner of the room, finding it hard to carry on, or worst yet for a writer, stop writing. Now perhaps, because I’ve never had anyone post anything mean on my blog (however, I am writing this before I threw To Thine Own Self Be True into the Internet, so there very well maybe be some nasty comments out there.) but I feel like the “Delete” button can be just as powerful as the “Publish” button. As I see it, one of the jobs of my husband is to listen to me vent, scream, and/or cry when someone is mean to me. My suggestion to Mary and all of us really is find your Person, vent and then hit delete.
The internet is a double edge sword, again, I’m not saying anything we all don’t already know, but we can control what we choose to let bother us. So when people can’t be kind, or be bothered to have more of a life than to lurk in the dark halls of the internet stalking innocent people, we have to remember the most powerful thing we have to fight them is the “delete” button, right there in the upper right-hand corner of our keyboard and in a flash it’s gone; the hatred, the ignorance and the cowardliness, gone with the strength of your pinky finger. Because these people are almost NEVER brave enough to confront you face to face, for goodness sake they aren’t even brave enough to sign their real names to comments.
I know this is a somewhat naive view of the hatred that is on the internet and I realize people die because of comments said from the dark corners of the internet, I’m not trying to simplify any of it, I’m not. Please find your person, and vent and then use that ever strong pinky finger and delete that shit from your life. You are better than those awful people, and there are people out there who know that and love you.