“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”

Ah, the wise words of Thumper.

It amazes me when people are unable to follow this simple life rule. It amazes me even more when people are unable to follow this rule on the internet. And as someone who works (largely) on the internet, I see it a lot.

In person, it’s certainly possible to say something without thinking. Other people can read your facial expressions and body language, so it’s hard to mask a negative reaction even if you don’t say anything.

Over the phone and on GChat, there can be the same real-time back-and-forth as you’d have in a face-to-face conversation. It’s forgivable to slip up from time to time in these contexts.

But on Twitter and Facebook and blogs, forums where there’s no expectation that you’ll respond to something right away (or at all), there’s no excuse.

When you tweet or comment just to hate on someone or something, or to tell someone they are wrong, you are basically saying, “I am going to take some time out of my day to be unpleasant. I am going to make the world a little less happy for this person, right now.”

Sure, it’s fine to disagree. Sure, it’s fine to think other people’s opinions are wrong. But what do you gain from pointing that out? Especially when the thing that is “wrong” is some trivial tweet, Facebook post, or blog?

I realize the irony–that this entire blog post is not “something nice”–but I’m not picking on anyone in particular here. I am picking on all jerks, specifically Internet Jerks.

And if you have a problem with that, keep it to yourself.


About Meghan Loftus

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