Well, it was just a matter of time before our little playground called “The Internet” was ruined. Beaten to a digital pulp by what seems to be the only thing left that we as a group can tolerate.
That undercurrent of hypersensitive hyperbole (ironic, isn’t it?) spewed the moment you express an opinion that is different from the rest of us.
It’s not that you aren’t allowed to have your own opinion. Or your own voice. You are. We just don’t want to hear it unless we agree with it. And if we don’t agree with it, we label you a troll. Or a bully. Or you just become “that guy” that we banish from our feed in a fit of passive aggressive douchebaggery.
This, in an effort to protect our feelings. Our ego. Or whatever it is that won’t allow us to be wrong. Transparent. Vulnerable.
And it is with our proverbial fingers shoved elbow deep into our ears that we have turned the Internet into a cesspool of overreaction and hurt feelings. An opened wound sensitive to the slightest touch.
But with a willingness to see things differently we have an opportunity to make it right again and once and for all depussificate this place. Together.
So, if you are with me, which I know you are, here are three ways in which we could all use to just lighten the heck up a little bit.
Not Everyone That Disagrees is a Troll
A long, long time ago in a land far, far away, a troll was some no-talent-ass-clown living in their Mom’s basement, pissed off at the world because someone left their box of Froot Loops opened and they went stale.
Now, it seems that anyone with a strong opinion different from ours, who shares it in what appears to be an open forum where all opinions are welcome (as long as they are agreeable) is considered a troll.
In other words, if you don’t agree with me, you call me a troll. That’s how it works.
Calling someone a troll merely because they passionately disagree with you is just a way to discredit their opinion so you don’t have to actually debate them on it. It’s easier that way. It’s your very own “get out of jail free” card that you get to whip out whenever someone else challenges you too strongly.
It allows you to be right without having to actually defend your position.
And just because someone does not agree with you doesn’t make their opinion any less valid than the crowd of followers that glorify your every word. In fact, they are often more valuable. They challenge you to think differently. Write differently. And see the world differently.
If you were to give them the chance.
So, what if you looked at it from a different perspective?
What if you considered the fact that you arranged a bunch of words onto a page and somehow instilled an emotion in another human being. Forget whether it’s a positive emotion or a negative emotion. Or whether they agree with you or disagree with you. Your thoughts made someone else feel something. Enough so that they couldn’t hold it in any longer and had to share it.
That is a gift.
Most writers dream of one day being able to touch someone that deeply.
Don’t delete their comments. Or dismiss their opinions. Or even fight them on it. Try and understand them. Connect with them on some ground. And be grateful that someone is engaging with you.
It’s Just the Fucking “F” Word
Get over it. It’s a word. You are an adult. And as an adult, you shouldn’t devalue something just because you may not agree with the choice of words used to express it.
A word is only as powerful as the meaning we give it. And if you choose to allow specific words to hold you hostage, that is your choice. Your opinion. And your right. But don’t overreact and make a sweeping generalization that takes away the joy of flexing our potty mouths from the rest of us.
In other words, don’t write to me and threaten not to read my blog anymore unless I create a clean version of each post specifically for you (true story).
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking of that old quote about having a weak mind if you use profanity. Here, I went through the trouble of Googling it for you.
It was by a man named Spencer W. Kimball. And he said that “Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.”
I’m pretty sure that when Thomas Edison attempted to invent the lightbulb but failed for the 8,264th time, his initial reaction was “Fuck this shit, someone get me a candle.” Are you telling me that Thomas Edison had a feeble brain? Because that’s what it sounds like you are saying.
Yeah. I thought not.
(Note: before you attempt to discredit everything I have ever said due to the previous statement, please be aware that I have as much proof that Thomas Edison said this as you have that he didn’t.)
I’m not suggesting that you should start increasing your frequency of four letter words to some acceptable level. I’m just suggesting that if you have that big of a problem with it, perhaps you need to lighten the fuck up.
Stop Getting Mad Just Because You Can
Manufactured outrage. It isn’t your average pissy little tirade. It’s that falsified righteous indignation over something that is otherwise unimportant and meaningless.
Like this post.
I’m sure it will ruffle a couple of feathers. I’m an acquired taste. I get that. But what if you were to step outside of your limitations (I bet you thought I was going to say comfort zone) and rather than searching for a reason to be mad about something I wrote here, you focused on the one or two things that you might find valuable if you were willing to stop being so disgusted by my language. Or my misuse of punctuation. Or my snarky attitude.
Because if you’re looking for a reason to be mad, I can’t think of a better place to find it than the Internet.
And if you’re looking for a way to grow and become a better professional. A better entrepreneur. A better writer. A better marketer. A better speaker. A better listener. A better spouse. A better parent.
A better human being.
I also can’t think of a better place to find it than the Internet.
We see what we want to see. Look for the good and assume that each of us has the best of intentions. Of course, not everybody will. Some people will let you down. I promise. But why spoil the whole thing over a few bad seeds?
Now It’s Your Turn…
Don’t get me wrong by this whole thing. I’m not suggesting that we let go of all common sense and all that is good and decent in the world in order to turn the Internet into The Lord of the Flies or anything like that.
I’m just saying that we all need to take a big step back. Take a deep breath. And just learn to lighten up a little bit. Every one of us. Including you.
If you agree, which again I’m sure you do, please comment below. Blindly support everything I have to say. And everything I have ever said. And for those few that don’t, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Fucking trolls.