I had a perky blog saved in my draft's folder to add to the usual jubilance I feel on Friday's. I don't know why Friday is my favourite day of the week. It's not like I ever really have weekends off, but anyway, I digress.
I had a little Twitter scuffle yesterday. Someone that doesn't follow or have a relationship with me decided to make offensive remarks about the child of someone I follow. Since I am still naive inspite of my crazy mixed-up life experiences, I was surprised at the 'drive-by hate'. It was random and unsolicitated. I want positive relationships, so tried to find a redeeming quality in this stranger that had made her presence known in my little world. After visiting her profile I found that it was FILLED to the brim, top to bottom with slurs, and negativity. This stranger posted one more negative comment about my weight, before I blocked her. I actually laughed at being called 'fatso' because it was so childish. I would be more offended if someone called me stupid, I have reconciled my weight issues a LONG time ago.
So this kind of put me in a funk. I began thinking about the large number of people that use social networking sites. I was an avid Facebooker for years, until I got a blogging gig last summer and was asked to Tweet for the CNE. So timidly I stepped into the Twitter-verse for the first time. I know that human nature can make us feel safe when critisizing someone while hiding behind a computer. Really, we are offering information about ourselves for strangers to judge or misuse. You know the ones. Every site or group seems to have at least one user that will attempt to use the forum to spread their message of negativity or hate. It may seem like we won't have to take responsibility or ownership for any nastiness we put into cyberspace. One payback for being rude; it doesn't usually lead to positive relationships or success in the ways that count. Relationships are everything in social networking.
In light of this, I still believe in the social networking power held within our computers, and smartphones. Blogging has changed my life in the last year. And relationships I have made in various sites and forums have helped me through this new transition called parenthood. I would like to ask, "Can't we all just get along?". I know the answer is "No". Being unique, with different personality querks, opinions, and points of view, is what makes life interesting. How could we ever learn respect or acceptance if we all agreed on every single topic? As we meet people with opposing views, we learn more about the world around us. The world is a shared space afterall, and becoming 'smaller' as the social networks grow. As we meet people with similar life experiences we find comfort in knowing we are not alone.
Some important things to remember;
Have control over what people know about you online.
Know the security limits of the sites you use.
Stand up against cyberbullying. You can disagree without hate. It's requires maturity and falls under the umbrella of such social skills as acceptance and respect.
*stock photo courtesy of dreamstime.com