Kind Words vs Trash Talk

Dear Internet Users,

I’m writing this letter today to show you an example of the good things you can do. So often, you choose to lurk in the dark corners of this place and choose to strike out at unsuspecting victims, like a playful cat with their claws out.

I’m appealing to your sense of humanity. I know this Internet place gives you a sense of anonymity, and that sense of anonymity gives you a sense of freedom – total and unrestricted freedom. I’m not telling you not to use that freedom… just use it for good instead of bad. Like a great man once said: “With great power comes great responsibility” and I’m asking you to exercise some responsibility.

Too many times, I’ve been the victim of “You idiot!” or “Thanks for your input, but why don’t you head back to the kitchen?” or even “No one asked for your opinion, thanks.” comments on this wonderful place we call the Internet. You might be thinking, “Well, you must’ve posted something horrible or controversial to get those responses.” Maybe, if posting on a video of an aspiring musician saying “Amazing, you have a great voice!” or commenting on a friend’s status agreeing that the film they were talking about was, in fact, awesome, is horrible and controversial.

Those two occasions particularly took me by surprise. Made me feel like, maybe it would just be better if I stop commenting, stop putting my opinion out there. But after a couple of days of sulking, I realised it wasn’t me that sucked. I was posting positive. They were posting negative.

Posting negative:

Think about it: a negative comment at the wrong time to the wrong person can have a devastating effect. In person there are visual signs, tone of voice can tell you the comment is sarcastic instead of true (though it tends to be no less damaging), you can pass off that horrible thing you just said as a joke. On the Internet – in text – it’s all just black and white. That scathing, bitchy comment is out there, and you have no idea how much damage it has done to the faceless other user.

Is it necessary? Maybe this is something we should think about before any of us say anything, Internet or otherwise. Is telling that person their opinion is unnecessary and unworthy really important? Do you need to think that to make your opinion more important? Because – I have news for you. That’s not how it works. Putting someone down doesn’t lift you up higher.

As the great Nathan Fillion says in his Twitter bio: It costs nothing to say something kind. Even less to shut up altogether.

Posting positive:

Have you heard of random acts of kindness? Paying for the person behind you at the toll bridge, giving your umbrella to someone who forgot theirs, leaving your paper folded neatly on your seat for the next commuter. There are hundreds of little things you can do to brighten someone’s day. It was one of these things that prompted this blog.

Positive Posting
Positive Posting

In case you can’t read it, that post reads as follows:

Dear person reading this,
I hope your day has been going well, if not, I hope it gets better You are an amazing person who will inspire others to do great things so keep up the hard work. I know you may feel unimportant or insecure at the moment but kn
ow that you are a beautiful human being inside and out and you are important !
Just trying to be nice on the INTERNET, sometimes we just need such a message !
I hope this comment helped you a bit and if not, I‘m sorry if yes Please give my page a Like!

I mean WOW. She’s got this random acts of kindness thing down! It was posted on a video on Ellie Goulding’s page, in case you’re wondering where I unearthed this comment.

Does it hurt to be positive? Does it hurt to say something nice instead of nasty?

So, dearest Internet users, I am imploring you to think before you hit the post button next time. Instead of crushing someone’s spirit, why not boost their self-esteem? Instead of posting negative, why not try posting positive? Just a thought.

Kind regards,

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