Has anyone noticed that the proliferation of the Internet has given rise to a LOT more meanness? You read a blog, form an opinion, scroll down through the other comments to insert your own clever blurb, and BLAM – personal attacks, bad words, insults and epithets slung anonymously at the writer and fellow commenters. Sure it’s one thing to disagree about politics, celebrities, actions, sports, and whatever else is “trending” on the WWW. But really, when did we stop respecting one another for those differences and start hurling epithets and insults just for the sake of expressing ourselves?
My grandmother, a lady so genteel I swear she was Queen Elizabeth’s right hand man in Canada, used to say to me, “Fool’s names and fool’s faces only appear in public places.” She would have been horrified at the foolishness abounding on the Internet where it seems that if you’re not insulting, rude, or mean, you’re not valid, or paid any attention.
A couple of weeks ago, I read Jason Alba’s blog (http://jasonalba.com/)where he commented on Ford Myers’ article on the San Francisco Chronicle online called “20 Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers.” Jason noted that most of the 60+ comments about Mr. Myers’ article were “scathing.” On further investigation, I found them to be vituperative, venomous and vile. (I do love an alliteration!) Which gave rise to another memory—this time of my mother hammering into us from Day One, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it.” While this may sound like an old-school philosophy to some, or even most, when you operate from a place of nice, life is a LOT more fun and you get to meet a LOT more cool people. And a LOT more neat stuff happens to you!
Then there’s that old chestnut, The Golden Rule. (I should state said Rule here, but I want to assume that my esteemed readers know it and are living it.) If all those anonymous insulters and mean people thought about how it feels to be slammed for no apparent reason other than expressing an opinion, maybe they’d find something nice to say first, then a constructive way to venture any criticism. Maybe if we all found something positive to say first, we’d forget about the negative things.
The other thing that gets me about all this commenting is that the commen-TERS have a tendency to turn on one another instead of addressing the original content by the commen-TEE. Keep it relevant, people, and quit insulting other commenters you don’t even know. It’s not nice, and remember, the more ill will you spill, the more it comes back on you.
By the way, from a career coaching standpoint, Mr. Myers’ suggestions were pretty much on-target, though I agree with Jason that the 20 could have been rendered into 10 sound practices for conducting a successful job search. The point is that cynicism and negativity don’t make for a successful anything.
Okay, so in closing, I’m opening myself to the world online in asking: Have you caught yourself writing rude comments to a blog post? What have people written about your blog? What are you going to write about mine? What do you think about mean people?