I spend a lot of time on social media and the internet. Writers these days have to go out there and find their own readers. So most of us tweet around, and garner as much support as we can on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and whichever new site crops up. It is very hard to be all places at once, but we try.
It is well known that the online world gives participants a feeling of anonymity that is very freeing. I don’t really get it, because I was raised to have manners, but apparently people think it is entertaining to trash others online. Whether it is readers who give writers not just bad but vicious reviews, teens who bully their classmates online, or blog commenters who start fights, it seems like there is enmity everywhere.
I write humor, and so I don’t dip my toes into controversy, thus I don’t get much online awfulness. I took the comments off my blog, not out of fear of mean people, but because I am not very good at replying to comments. So I removed them—I don’t like to be rude to the people who take the time to comment on my pieces.
So today, instead of trying to entertain everybody with anecdotes about my husband or revelations about my own frailties, I thought I would just send a request out to the online universe: Can we all just try to remember how much what we say online can hurt someone? Can we try to be kinder? There is so much horror in this world that is out of our control—but we all can control ourselves. Before you blast someone, try to remember how you felt when somebody hurt you. How long did it take you to get over a cruel remark? Did you ever suffer under a bully?
Let’s be kinder. Much kinder.