There have been a number of things happening in the blogging community this week that have caused a fair amount of drama and anger. This post isn’t about any specific drama, more an amalgamation of what I’ve learned from various Twitter arguments over the last couple of years, however something arose from this that I’ve been turning over in my head since and I want to get it down in writing. In life and online I’m very much a ‘think before you speak’ kind of person. I mull things over before I ever open my mouth to say them, which in truth, often leads to the moment passing and me saying nothing.
In life, emotions get the better of us and we react without thinking, whether that be snapping at our parents over a small remark or arguing with a partner over household chores. But on the internet it becomes that little bit easier. Yes, most of us have our faces in our profile pictures but Twitter still allows us that barrier of anonymity. Chances are that our Twitter friends will back us up if we ever get involved in an online argument and no one is going to come round and bash your door down (unless it’s an episode of Snapped because that’s exactly what happens on that show). The internet gives us that extra push to say what we’re feeling in that exact moment without delay.
Blogging is competitive and the idea of ‘community’ is floated around so often that I don’t even know the meaning of it anymore. When you blog or tweet or put any kind of content on the internet, it stays there. You can delete it but there’s always the possibility that someone has saved it or that it’s deep in some cache somewhere. You know what they say, nothing is ever truly deleted on the internet.
The problem with this is that it’s very easy to appear a hypocrite. I haven’t even been blogging that long, two years at the most and there’s already an extremely good backlog of my life online. But in two years I’ve changed. My life is different, my views have changed and I’m certain that opinions I held even just two years ago would make me cringe now. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it just makes me human.
What I’m trying to say (although in a rather long winded fashion, I’m sorry) is that there’s very little room on the internet for change or perhaps a better word would be growth. People remember your mistakes much more easily when they are literally written down in front of them. In all honesty, this thought absolutely terrifies me. The idea that I could say something without thinking it through today and have people not forget that I’ve said it is really scary, which is why, going back to the start of my post, I always aim to think before writing something down.
It’s really easy for things to be taken the wrong way on the internet and this week has shown me just how angry and volatile people become when they’re hurt. So allow people the chance to apologise, allow for mistakes to be made and stick to the age old mantra of treating people how you wanted to be treated. It’s hard to go far wrong from that.