How easy is it to stir some people up?
I have a Facebook page, who doesn’t these days? I liked a few things here and there, a few recipes, the odd clothing store, a supermarket where I usually shop. Today the supermarket (which is a large company also publishing its own food magazine) asked ‘what is your fav recipe that you’ve tried lately?’
One respondent came back with ‘Why, so you can Steal it and publish it?’
Pretty unnecessary, but there are people out there like that I guess. What surprised me was the amount of people who felt the need to respond to that comment. I saw it and shrugged my shoulders, seeing it as either a fairly pathetic bid for attention or just evidence that someone didn’t get enough kitty videos in their day today. Others felt the need to let this woman know she had stepped out of line, in a big way.
Out of the 55 (so far) respondents to the original question, at least 5 people felt it their civic duty to tell her how nasty she was.
The internet does weird things to people. Once you write something down it hangs there in the ether until someone finds it and takes offense. Some people seem to take things in the very worst way possible and then, almost always, seem to try to outdo the nastiness themselves.
I get that with emails a lot, discussions that seem to be becoming heated via email are very quickly smoothed out with a simple phone call. Inflection can be everything in a conversation and without it (i.e. email) people always seem to assume the worst.
It’s hard to apologise for something hurtful or nasty you have said but it is impossible to erase something nasty or hurtful you have written. Especially on the internet when, if you are really unlucky, it can go viral in a matter of seconds.
I speak from experience. I have 2 adults in my life who have not spoken in almost 30 years because of a letter one wrote to the other. The problem is that when the hurt begins to fade that letter is still there to bring it all back like it was yesterday. The best thing to do now would be to throw it out but the very best thing to do was to not have written it in the first place.