Live and let live
When I first ventured into the world of blogging (over five years ago…seriously, where have the years gone?!) I didn’t really know what to expect. I started my blog as a way of being creative online, it was my own little place where I could talk about anything I wanted to. And with starting a blog, and promoting it on Twitter, came the blogging community.
I can’t describe the excitement and relief I felt to be a part of a community that was so friendly and accessible. And when I plucked up the courage to actually meet some bloggers in person at events I was pleased to find them just as warm and welcoming as they were online.
Twitter was my go to place for a good time, my timeline made me laugh, it made me smile and I enjoyed the conversations I had with people. I still do, but unfortunately my happy, fun timeline is now often plagued with bitter comments and not-so-subtle jibes at others within the community.
Right now, it feels like every tweet people write is watched like a hawk, and god forbid someone shares an opinion the majority don’t agree with…almost daily I see people ripped apart on my timeline, I see subtle digs, I see outrage and disgust at tweets that, honestly? really aren’t that bad.
I’ve always had the opinion that it’s best to live and let live. You don’t agree with someone? Cool, but does furiously typing out a reply to their harmless tweet to tell them just how wrong they are really make things better? Does it help? Can we honestly not allow people to live their lives in the way they want? None of the people I’ve seen attacked recently hold harmful opinions. They have personal preferences, which I would hope we are all allowed to have without being shamed and publicly dragged for not fitting other people’s idea of how people should behave.
Take the absolutely ridiculous latte below, which I spent an eye watering £5 on. I’m sure lots of people think I’m an idiot for buying it, but I would like to think they wouldn’t quote tweet the image on Twitter with eye roll emojis, or (even worse) reply telling me that I’m everything wrong with bloggers and that I’m detrimental to the credibility of our community! I chose to spend my money frivolously, and I would like to think I wouldn’t be judged or dragged for that, because it’s a personal choice I made.
Worryingly, the personal attacks within the blogger community seem to be seeping out of Twitter and onto actual blogs. Personally, I think it’s a bit cruel to use a fellow blogger as fodder for your content, sure something they say may spark some inspiration for a blog post, but to clearly write about someone else’s opinion seems a bit too personal to me. I guess you could argue that as long as people aren’t named and shamed it shouldn’t be a problem but…I don’t think we can pretend to not be aware that a lot of people will put two and two together.
It’s easy to see every dispute and debate as great content, but I think that social media makes it far too easy for us to forget about the people being attacked for their views, and the impact a constant stream of Tweets, or messages, has. Sure, if you’re sharing an opinion online it’s probably best to have a thick skin so you can cope with criticism, but I think social media would be a much nicer environment if people felt they could openly be themselves, and have healthy debate with people who disagree, without being attacked and shamed for thinking differently.
If you can’t say something nice…
Don’t say anything at all!
It’s so simple, but it’s all to easy to follow your desire to say something. Now, I’m not saying don’t disagree with people, I’m just saying if you do feel the need to say something, do it kindly and politely, and acknowledge that people are allowed to think differently. Nothing good comes from confronting people and telling them they’re wrong. In fact, it alienates people, and it makes constructive conversations impossible. Think about the impact you are having on the people you interact with, and the energy you’re putting into the world – is it positive? Are you building people up? Or dragging them down?
Anyway, this is all just food for thought I guess. Let me know your thoughts below/on Twitter but please, be kind!