I know, I know. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? How to be nice on the internet? Really?
Well, it’s been pretty rough in that arena lately. I haven’t personally been the victim of an internet meanie recently, but I’ve seen lots of it go down. And, because I’m a blogger, I mainly see it on blogs and social media (big shock, right?).
Now, this is not to say that I’ve never been rude/snarky/tacky/mean on the internet, because that would be a big fat lie. In fact, I would venture to say that every single one of you has said something online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Right? I’ve done my fair share of it, but now I really make a concerted effort to be nice online – I try to go by the saying that was pounded into my thick skull by my parents throughout my childhood: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. It is more difficult than you think! We all slip sometimes. It’s normal. No one is perfect!
I used an adorable pic of my nephew to illustrate my point – I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the vast majority of us were raised to be nice to other people. We were taught manners. We were taught to ignore or walk away if someone wasn’t nice to us. Our family is already teaching those kinds of things to my nephew at just one year of age! Unfortunately, he will grow up in a world full of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. that most of us did not have to deal with until we were older. We will have to teach Benjamin how to handle the responsibility that those things bring.
Yesterday, I witnessed a post on a Facebook group for a home/DIY website that grabbed my attention. This blogger that had been featured was being attacked – not because of her project, but complete strangers were attacking her parenting skills. Huh? How do you even think about saying someone is a bad parent from 3-4 sentences on a DIY project? It went on and on, and I have some friends that jumped in and defended the blogger. These people were jumping to conclusions about something as personal as parenting from a picture of a project that was meant to keep a child from ruining a TV. News flash: no matter how “well-trained” your kids are, they’re not perfect. It was appalling the way this woman was being attacked.
I got ripped to shreds on this same Facebook group for *gasp* painting wood. It was my antique stereo that we refurbished and redid. They didn’t like the fact that I painted the wood (that’s kind of the running joke with most bloggers – “they’re gonna get you for painting that wood!”). They didn’t like the fact that I covered the speakers with new fabric. They didn’t like the paint color. They didn’t like the fabric I chose. You know what? I did it for ME. Not anyone else. ME. I have a fairly thick skin when it comes to this kind of stuff (no, it wasn’t always that way, but it comes with age in my case!) but not everyone does. I blew them off and moved on.
Just today, someone used another blogger’s comments section as her own personal political platform. What she was saying had very little to do with the actual blog post, and it made several of us think that this person was just looking for a place to get people riled up. It worked. I definitely have my beliefs and views, but I try my best to keep them off of the blog. There is a time and place for everything, and I choose to keep my blog about what I want to keep it about. That’s another thing: it’s MY blog. I can write what I want. So can commenters! That’s the nice thing about living in the USA – freedom of speech. While I may not necessarily agree with everything you are saying, I am glad you have the opportunity to say it. So many other countries do not have that freedom. However, like I said, there is a time and place for everything and it just came across as a little bit hateful.
That said – comment! If you don’t like something, that is fine. Tell us! BUT tell us why, and in a tactful way. We all learn from each other! My style is definitely not everyone’s style – I know that. We just like to hear from you. Period.
I like to think that the bloggers I know (in real life and online) stick together. We may not all love each other to pieces, but when it comes down to it – we’re going to stand up for each other. The DIY/Craft blogging community has honestly been nothing but helpful for the most part – everyone encourages each other, we help each other when we need it, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. 95% of the time, we have nothing but nice comments and readers – but it’s that 5% that makes some of us want to take a step back.
I know this has been a little bit preachy, but it’s been weighing on my mind. Have a great week and I PROMISE I will have something up this week. I’m working my fingers to the bone!