In a world that has decided,
That it’s going to lose its mind.
Be more kind my friends, try to be more kind.
The internet is a wonderful thing, without question. Even on a basic level, you wouldn’t be reading this without it. However, it’s not without issues, one of them is it can be very much lacking in kindness. Everyone seems so angry about EVERYTHING, even the most trivial things can send people into an absolute fit of rage. We all have an opinion, and social media gives us a chance to share it. All those thoughts and feelings that we’d once keep inside can be fired out into the ether immediately. If you wish, you can fire out every single waking thought for the perusal of others.
On the whole, it can be great to share your thoughts and feelings – us Brits are rubbish at it. However, we love to moan, especially online. When you’re moaning online the filters are largely off and we can spill out stuff in a way that we’d never do if we were actually there, face to face with the person. Everyone does it – we all have. However, with social media becoming deeply sewn in our society’s fabric, I fear it’s getting worse.
The art of being kind to each other, especially online, is slowly being forgotten. In times gone by, if you didn’t like a celebrity, there wasn’t much you could do about it. Perhaps send them a strongly worded letter, outlining your disdain – it would probably have not made it past their agent’s office. Unless you REALLY hated them, you probably wouldn’t bother with it – that would be far too much effort. Now, you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc, and hurl abuse RIGHT at them. That contestant you dislike on a reality TV show, the footballer who scored against your team, the dancer on Strictly who boils your pee – are just a few clicks away. The ease of how we’re all so tightly connected puts even the Hollywood élite just a few taps away.
We all have the power to be closer to our fellow-man, how do we use it? To call each other bad names, moan at some poor sod on the social media team of a brand that has ‘wronged’ us, or tearing into someone who doesn’t agree with us.
Our social media gluttony has made us forget that we’re actually talking to fellow humans. There are people on the receiving end of what we put out. It’s very easy to forget that our pithy zinger of a ‘put down’ could well be crushing the soul of the recipient. If one person throws a pebble at you, it stings. If hundreds or even thousands of people throw a pebble at you, it’s going to HURT.
What’s worse, is it’s very easy to become anonymous online. You can hide behind a fake account with a generic name so easily. A new anonymous identity is just a few clicks away, we can say whatever we like, whenever we like with no comeback. I often wonder if social media would be a better place if we couldn’t hide behind usernames – every single post was tied to your real name. A potential employer or partner could see EVERYTHING you’ve tweeted, or posted by searching. All the anger, and bile would be attributed to you, and you alone. I think people would really think twice about what they were saying if this were the case.
I’ve been rude to people online, I’ve been guilty of it too. Far too many times actually. I think we all have.
I’m trying to be more kind. It’s not easy. Breaking a habit never is. But I really feel that if we all make a little more effort, and try to be kinder to each other – especially online we could change social media. Just because you’re putting yourself out there online, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to be attacked by those who disagree with you. The online world shouldn’t be any different to the offline one, we were all taught manners at an early age, however, once the browser tab is open, or the phone is in our hand – they all seem to be forgotten.
Yes, it’s absolutely fine to disagree with someone’s opinion, we will never ALL think the same. However, before tearing someone a virtual new one – consider if all the words you’ve written in a blind range are ones you’d choose if they were in front of you. More often than not, you wouldn’t say those things. You wouldn’t go from 0 to 100 miles an hour without watching their reaction, you’d be kinder.
Be more kind.