This past week, there has been a war or words brewing on the interwebs between a couple of Aussie bloggers. Apparently.
I say 'apparently' because, to be honest, I've only read a couple of Facebooks posts and blog posts on it - I haven't read the original post that one blogger wrote that the other responded to, creating what many are referring to online as 'a shit-storm'.
It made me realise how much it isn't my world anymore. Back in my Mummy Mayhem days, I'm sure I would probably have been on top of it, perhaps even involved (respectfully) in the conversation. (And for the record, I believe everyone should be able to express their personal opinion on anything, so long as it is done respectfully.) Not anymore.
A long time ago, I wrote a blog post on MM about blog comments and how they can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Although feedback, communication and interaction can be a great thing in the blogging and social media world, it also opens the opportunity for some to take advantage of that and get, well, nasty. You see, it's easy for people to hide behind their computers and express an opinion they'd never ever probably express in public, face-to-face. Especially those who choose to comment anonymously, or have very little (if any) kind of public profile.
To be honest, I think people often makes this stuff a hell of a lot more complicated than it has to be. I have my own set of rules when online:
1. I don't have to read EVERYTHING on the Internet
If I generally don't like what a certain blogger/writer writes, then I don't read what they write. Simple. This past year, I have unfollowed a handful of Facebook pages because, generally, I disagree with most of what they write. I don't see the point in continuing to read stuff that is only going to elevate my blood pressure!
2. Any comment I make, I have to be 100% certain I want to make it
Any comment I make has to be one I'd happily make in person, and would be comfortable seeing quoted up on a billboard with flashing lights surrounding it, positioned beside a busy highway. It's not always the popular comment, and I may disagree with someone (RESPECTFULLY), but I stand by it. 100%.
3. Don't engage with trolls/haters - Ignore, ignore, ignore
This is the thing that really bothers me - people who give too much time and attention to trolls and haters. I know it's sometimes hard to not take things personally, and in the past on MM I had a couple of posts that became unintentionally controversial and, in turn, attracted some rather, er, interesting comments/direct messages on Twitter/emails towards me. But you know what? I owned what I wrote, I dealt with those commenters as respectfully as I could, and ignored the rest. Engaging with people like this only emboldens them, because for the most part, they're looking for attention. They will also, more than likely, not see your point of view anyway, so why waste your breath? As for those who just make hateful, nasty, negative comments about you - and you don't even know who they are - block/report/disengage/delete. Cut them. Easy.
4. Sometimes walking away is the best option
Every now and then, I come across a post that I disagree with quite passionately, but when I think about it, I realise there's no point commenting. I ask myself, How necessary is my opinion here? Walking (or clicking!) away is sometimes the best idea. Same applies to people who may reply to a comment I have made on a post in a negative way. Sometimes I reply to their replies a couple of times if I think it could be beneficial and/or necessary, but if I feel the person is just looking for a fight, and appears to not be very educated on what is being discussed in the first place anyway, I just stop replying. There's a saying I remind myself of all the time that Mr A has always said: If you get in to an argument with an idiot, then you are the idiot.
5. Ignore attention seeking
You know those posts on Facebook that people sometimes make, like, 'I can't take this anymore'? Unless you know that person, and know that they wouldn't normally make posts like that and so, perhaps, really need your attention, then just IGNORE. You know these people. We all have them on our social media feeds - they constantly like to make vague posts/tweets etc (known on Facebook as 'Vaguebooking') to induce comments like, 'What's wrong, honey?' You're not helping them by replying.
Sometimes, life - especially online - only has to be as complicated as we make it, you know?