Very rarely do I actually voice my opinion on something in a blogpost, because I see myself as a neutral person, or rather one that does not give in to the endless hate and strive and bullying and general ignorance going on in social media, but something got me thinking. So here are my thoughts. In the case you are going to respond to this post, please keep the contents of this post in mind.
Facebook has this feature called “on this day” where you can see the updates you made on this particular day from the moment you signed up. It’s a fun feature and one that I use often. When you run a blog you can often see what you did (a) year(s) ago and how you grew… or not.
That’s neither here nor there. What I noticed was an update I made about bullying in the m/m genre. Bloggers and authors who didn’t agree with each other and how an opinion was not respected. This was three years ago and it got me thinking.
On several fronts actually.
One of those fronts is the use of social media to make our opinion loud and clear. With pitchforks if necessary. And temper tantrums. And crying. And asking for hugs and prayers when someone doesn’t agree.
I have noticed – over the last three years, but longer really – an alarming trend of crucifying those that have a different opinion or way of thinking or way of life, really. To be clear I’m not talking about racists, bigots or Westboro Village Idiots, but readers, reviewers, bloggers, authors and publishers within the m/m genre. There is so much infighting sometimes that it makes me turn of my various social media.
It doesn’t mean you can’t talk about something or another that happened. It’s what social media is for, right? Although I am a firm believer of not giving some people the attention they so clearly want.
No, I’m talking about the way or the manner or the tone some topics are spoken of. Be it diversity within the genre, bisexuality, transgender or different subgenres, piracy or whatever. We can’t seem to be able to respect that some people have a different opinion.
Of course we say we do. But… there is always a “but”. Followed by someone forcefully putting their foot down on why someone is wrong on something or another. To add to this: opinions are also subjective, so by definition you are either always right, or your are always wrong.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a very direct person and often have no filter. I can actually be very insensitive (some people reading this post will probably be nodding in agreement on this). Although, there is this hard-won and ungoing ability to learn when not to speak up…
At the same time I shudder sometimes at the posts I see online and yes, I’ve removed quite a lot of people from Facebook and Twitter over posts or comments they made. One thing I will never agree with is bullying, even if it’s in a passive aggressive manner. And yes, I know, there are some pretty stupid people out there, but be the voice of reason, rather than discord.
Everyone looks at the world through their own glasses and those glasses are coloured by their (yes, sometimes idiotic and ignorant) behaviour, their experiences, their culture, their religion and even their orientation. Although there are some that see social media as their ticket to their 15-minutes of infamy.
Is there a solution? Probably, but I don’t have one right now. I do remember in the day and age when forums and mail-groups ruled the internet (yes, I’m that old), there were often post & forum behaviour guidelines. Some were overly positive – as in you couldn’t write a critical review ever – and some were overly liberal.
But you can’t police the internet. The only thing I can say is: think twice before you share, think thrice before you reply in a discussion and always leave the pitchfork at home. Try and look from someone else’s point of view. There are many different cultures on the web and on top of that, people are complicated.
Realize that when you say “I don’t want haters in my (social) house” you can sometimes become the hater when you stomp on someone’s opinion.