Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mean People

Why are people so hateful to each other? I guess I can understand people who know each other and have a reason to hate each other hating each other. Maybe something happened between them that they just can’t get over. What I don’t get is total strangers screaming their hate at someone they don’t even know.

The woman who does http://housewifedownunder.wordpress.com just announced her retirement from blogging. I’m not her biggest fan – I don’t even know her name – but I’ve been reading her blog occasionally for over a year. She has great stories to tell about being an expat in Australia. If you’re thinking about moving to Australia, check it out.

She’s done with blogging because she got tired of all the hate people send her online. When you have a blog – or any kind of website where people can comment – you will get negative comments. Sometimes it’s constructive criticism, but only rarely. Usually it’s just people who want to make everyone else as miserable as they are.

In her announcement post, she defends her decision to not post the ugliest comments. I don’t think she has to explain that at all. It’s her blog. She doesn’t have to post any comments at all if she doesn’t want to. People have gotten so used to being able to say whatever they want to say that they’ve forgotten that not everything in the world is an open forum for any and all opinions.

I used to keep comments on my blog open to everyone no matter what crazy thing they wanted to say. The only comments I ever deleted were blatant spam. If you want to increase your manhood, you don’t need to read about it here. Just check your e-mail.

Then I started moderating comments. Someone got really angry about something I said. I don’t even remember what it was about. I just remember thinking that I should probably do something about it as soon as the death threats started. I never took any of it seriously – most of the angry people online are all talk anyway – but there was just too much negativity to ignore. I don’t need all comments on my blog to be sunshine & rainbows, but I think there’s already enough hate in the world. There’s no reason to post more here.

Blogs are easy enough to deal with. You can moderate comments, block certain people or turn off comments entirely. What’s harder are other social media sites where you have no control. If you interact with people online, you will be subject to hate. It’s inevitable. They say movie stars should never read their own press. Reading too many negative reviews can get to you eventually. Online, we’re all movie stars in a way. People can and will feel free to say to us whatever pops into their heads. For whatever reason, a lot of people are more free with their negative comments than they are with saying something positive.

I wrote a couple of books. I’ll probably write more in the future. I know having a few books available in a few places isn’t anything like having a New York Times bestseller, but I enjoyed writing them and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t continue doing it. When you write a book – whether it sells or not – you have to expect a few bad reviews. Nothing in the history of the world has ever been written that everybody likes. I realize that the things I write about are not everyone’s cup of tea. I realize that my writing style is too simple for some people. The funny thing is that when you look at the Amazon reviews of anything by Shakespeare, people complain that the style is too complicated. Someone is going to complain no matter what.

What bothers me is that the people who sit online and preach their hatred all over the web can go to places like Amazon and share their hate there. If someone is bullying you on a website, you can stop going to that website. If someone wants to bully you on Amazon, they can actually affect your income. At least for the people who rely on their sales there. It would be nice if the people who tell us personally that they like what we write posted their positive opinions on Amazon, but just like any other website, the negative people are louder than the positive people.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining about negative reviews. I’m not. I've never actually read a review of any of my books. What I’m really complaining about is how the negative people share their opinions more than the positive people. I think most people in this world are generally positive, but they’re a silent majority. The angry people are the minority, but they share their opinions a lot more.

It’s reached the point where you have to have very thick skin to be online. No matter where you are online, people are going to share their hate with you. Some people will join in the hate just to fit in. Hopefully, most people just ignore the hate. Too many people hate everything and everyone. If you’re sensitive to what total strangers say about you, you’ll just have to stay offline. If you’re a sullen teenager just looking for any excuse to kill yourself, you should really throw your computer away. The internet is like a loaded gun in your mother’s dresser.

There used to be a time when unhinged people were confined to their basements. Only the walls and their imaginary friends heard their ranting & raving. Now the internet lets everyone connect with the rest of the world. You don’t have to have all your marbles to talk to people or give your opinion online.

You can even write a book review with absolutely no ability to form a coherent sentence.

2 comments:

  1. Haters gonna hate! For what its worth, I like reading your blog and your updates, keep it up!

    ReplyDelete

No hate, please. There's enough of that in the world already.