Everyone is Human
I am a strong advocate for positive vibes and non-judgemental thoughts. I try to be as positive thinking as I possibly can be and prefer to spread that frame of mind throughout my writing. Around 4 months ago, I wrote a blog post entitled How I Deal with Hate Online, and I was floored by just how many comments and engagements that post gained. It seems that at some point, every single one of us has faced negativity, in some shape or form. And it was a shame to see so much of that had been encountered online.
I wanted to share a story about something that happened a few days ago, over social media. Whilst I try to keep my channels free of comments or statements that could be deemed as judgemental or opinionated, I guess we are all human, and now and again we make a bad call. This bad call led to a number of things happening, and to a realisation that had never previously crossed my mind. I guess it’s a story about varying levels of negativity, emotions and reactions. And it helped me realise, that absolutely no one is exempt from online bullying, no matter how sheltered, famous or thick skinned they are.
Use your words carefully, always
Think about your every word.
So this is the story. I was working out in the gym, listening to the newest hits on Spotify’s playlist. Skipping through tracks and listening to others, until I found ones that I was happy to listen to whilst working through 50 sit-ups. Along came a song by a famous band, that has just been re-released to include the vocals of a female singer. To my knowledge, they haven’t recorded together previously, and having heard this song on their album a year before, was really confused when I heard another person’s voice suddenly thrust into the song. I am very very open when it comes to music, and I am a fan, of sorts, of each set of artists. But this was a song that I felt was better the way it was originally recorded.
Anyway, in a haze of work out sweat and light-headedness, I thought it would be a good idea to voice my opinion on the song, over my twitter. I honestly cannot remember now what I wrote, as I deleted the tweet the next day, but I was just voicing my opinion on the song (being not so fantastic, that is).
I felt I was voicing my unsure and confused opinion on a track created by two very large, successful, famous music artists, who probably wouldn’t care less what I thought about their song. But I wanted to discuss the song with my followers, to see what they thought about it. I didn’t tag either artists in my tweet, as again I didn’t want to be directly negative towards them; I didn’t even want them to see it. I just wanted to provoke a discussion with others to see if maybe others felt differently.
Anyway, it turns out that the mega mega fans of the singer tend to search for their name in tweets, and managed to find my opinion tweet. Blatantly, my opinion on the song was not so popular. From then on throughout the night, my twitter was hit with tweets from the singer’s following. They were all saying similar, belittling things, but others took it too far and felt the need to really bring their pitchforks and shovels. Luckily it didn’t upset me; I just realised that I had offended a number people who take opinions (opposed to theirs) towards their favourite singer, very very seriously.
But after a while I really started to think hard about what had happened. And I realised that my actions were based on a number of factors.
- I never thought that the singers would read my comments, because I didn’t direct it towards them.
- I never thought that their fans would see my comments, and therefore I wouldn’t offend anyone who was a mega mega mega fan. Instead, I thought I would just provoke a discussion.
- I thought that even if the singers did see my tweet, they would see it as a critique on their song, and nothing personal against them. And even then, they probably hear so many great, neutral and negative feelings towards their music, that mine was probably something they could easily brush away without thought. It really was just my opinion on the one song.
But then, as hours went on, I started to realise that perhaps I had been a touch harsh. I would never, ever say anything negative or share a bad opinion about someone ‘non-celebrity’ for people to read, because that is online bullying and I don’t have that sort of insulting nature inside of me. But I should have transferred those thoughts to absolutely everyone. Even the richest man in the world, with the biggest houses, most beautiful wife and a private Island, would still feel emotions if they were faced with critique or insults. Money, fame and power (of sorts) does not buy you a ticket to a mind that can block out opinions. And I guess I had spent so much of my time unsure as to why non-celebrity people felt the need to be so so hateful online to other non celebrity people, that I had dismissed the idea that even those who are celebrity, would feel upset if they too were bombarded with something other than admiration. And whilst of course I know that they will face an onslaught of abuse every minute of the day, I never felt that it would affect them in the same way, as say if I was to receive a really abusive comment.
And it does. As soon as I had seen the comments from the singer’s fans, sticking up for them in effect, (in a very bullying manner however), I realised that celebrated people too, need defending and support from others. There are Bloggers and Youtubers that I know, who are probably more well-known than some celebrities, and I know for a fact that hate disrupts their lives in a huge way. And yet I had still garnered the thoughts that those with huge celebrity status could brush off a bad opinion like it was a fleck of dust on their shoulder. It was a realisation that inside of course I knew, but I had never previously thought about.
This blog post however, is not about this story. It is about the lesson that I learned from this encounter and how I feel they can translate through the whole industry when it comes to online opinions, and even further to hatred and negativity:
- In the work that I do, I face negative comments and malicious forums every single day. But as a human being, I am still shocked that these people have the hatred inside them to post freely, and without thought of consequence, towards another person. I always hope everyone will respect others or leave them alone, either one, but that they do not need to write negative and bullying insults about them online. It is not necessary. Whether someone has millions of followers, hundreds of thousands or even just one, they are still a human being, with emotions and feelings just like me and you. And regardless of how much a person may dislike them or what they do, they do not deserve their disrespect. They could be having a bad day, just like you might be, and a negative comment is not going to help. Never mind how successful you may think someone is, this goes for Bloggers, Youtubers and Instagrammers too, remember they are regular, normal people, with hearts, souls and emotions just like your own, and they didn’t set out to offend you, personally.
- Secondly, this has only pushed me, even further, to ensure all of my thoughts and feelings that are aired, come from a place of positivity. No one needs to see a bad opinion, when they have had a bad day.
- Everyone deserves respect, even if they are someone entirely untouchable and someone you will never ever meet in your lifetime. They have feelings exactly like our own and their art form should not be bashed in an open forum.
- I have realised that we really need to watch every single word we say, because life is far too short to be upsetting anyone, even if it is to a small extent. Your words matter and it takes nothing to be quiet and keep an opinion to yourself. It doesn’t need to be said if it can’t enhance someone’s life in some way.
- People read everything online. Even the smallest comment could end up hurting someone. So just don’t say it, whether you have millions or just 1 follower.
- Just be positive and spread positivity and that is all you will encounter in return. Hate breeds hate. Happiness is infectious.
My point with this post, is just to share the lessons I took from this. And I guess, open the eyes of those who feel it is okay to put others down, online. Whilst my comment didn’t come from a malicious place, and was genuinely just an opinion towards a piece of music (which I feel everyone should have a right to), it still shouldn’t have been said online, where it could have upset their fans or the artists themselves. But worse things are written online for the world to see, and I would just love to see things start to change when it comes to online negativity and hatred. Since my last post, on how I deal with hate online, the negative opinions of those who do not like me or what I write or film, have only continued. And I see so much negativity towards all of the ladies I call very good friends. None of us are exempt from it, everyone is human, but I truly wish that in the future, people will start to realise that their words affect a person, and people. I have certainly learned my lesson not to offer my opinion on someone else’s art; I would just like to see a digital world where people learn not to voice their hatred.