Ok, I think I might be kicking the hornet’s nest with this, but hear me out, I do have a point. A few years ago social media (and especially Twitter) was my happy place. I opened apps to be met with familiar handles all discussing topics I was interested in and the occasional viral (and hilarious) tweet that I also couldn’t resist sharing.
Back then ‘hate’ and ‘trolling’ wasn’t something that really came across my radar. But I was aware of one place where it existed – Guru Gossip. The forum was basically a hub of criticism (and sometimes downright hate) for prominent social media people. And that’s basically where the negativity stayed. If you wanted to see what people were bitching about (and *god forbid* join in) you had to visit that website and get your hands (and potentially your name) dirty.
Now….well things have changed drastically (and arguably for the worse) haven’t they? Honestly, I don’t think a month (or sometimes even A WEEK) goes by without shady comments, quotes tweets mocking and ridiculing fellow bloggers or wildly assumptive and inaccurate statements appearing on my feed after gaining traction. Sometimes, twitter notifications fill me with dread and as I read tweets about my friends (and sometimes even my own projects) my heart sinks.
I’m not such a *special snowflake* that I think everyone should be constantly applauded and never criticised for their mistakes but…a lot of what I’m seeing isn’t constructive in any way. We seem to have developed a bit of a drag culture on social media, and the funnier (or more scathing) your comments are, the better – with no regard for the person at the centre of the attack.
A lot of what is implied by people’s tweets is often wrong. Both morally and factually. It’s just not accurate (and it’s unfair to the person being attacked) and the amount of likes these comments get gives the impression that they’re true when they’re simply not. I actually can’t believe that we’re living in a time when it’s apparently appropriate to imply people are morally corrupt and exploitative of their followers just because you don’t like their content.
Not only that, but what I’m noticing now is that the hurtful comments are coming from within the community. People that I previously respected, people who I’ve previously supported and invested my time in. There’s nothing worse than investing your time and support into someone who turns out to not have any level of respect for their fellow content creators.
So, I miss what I’m calling the ‘glory days of Guru Gossip’. I miss trolling being seen as unacceptable behaviour. I miss people caring about how their words impact others. I miss people keeping their nasty comments to themselves – or, if they really need to vent it, at least keeping it to a separate corner of the internet.
If you’re someone who finds yourself getting caught up in the backlash and drama, please think about the impact of your words, your retweets and your likes. Yes, you may not like the content that someone else creates, or think that someone’s actions are outrageous but what impact will your contribution to the debate have?
If you’re looking to provide some constructive criticism then please do go ahead (although I think this is best done via DM or in reply to a tweet, not as a quote tweet or separate tweet). However, if your intention is to highlight someone else’s misfortune, or draw attention to something that you dislike, think about how you would feel if you were treated in the same way?
I guess as a last final point I just want to say – actions have consequences. You may think your tweets don’t mean much, or that it’s not personal, but there’s no doubt that the person you’re attacking will see your comments and will be offended. And if you’re expecting them (and others) to continue to support you regardless of how you treat others, I think you’re fooling yourself.