Thinking Out Loud About Online Negativity
Today’s post is a little different from normal, but definitely falls under Thursday’s thinking out loud theme.
I write my posts the day before they are published, meaning that I wrote this one yesterday. I was sitting at my computer when I realized that I didn’t have a concrete idea for a topic. I consulted my ever-growing idea list that’s always open, but nothing really called to me to be written.
For some reason I thought of a blog I used to read and, in the spirit of procrastination, googled it to check in and catch up. The first actual result after the social media handles was one to a forum on GOMI, or Get Off My Internets.
For those of you who don’t know about GOMI, it’s a place for users to complain and disparage bloggers, Instagrammers, and other sites on the internet. There is a main blog where all the BREAKING news is featured — so and so’s divorce, media scandals, etc. — and then there’s forums where anyone can register and share their opinions about a person’s online presence. I’m not going to link to it and add credibility to the site, but you’re welcome to Google it yourself.
Of course I searched for my own blog in terror, but thankfully it hasn’t made it on there yet.
I was sucked into the site for almost an hour. Not because I agreed with the comments, but because I just couldn’t understand the amount of time wasted in adding so much negativity to the world. Some forum threads date back 4 or 5 years and contain hundreds of pages of mockery and hurt. I also found some articles discussing the impact that the site has on the people it’s attacking.
I have a really hard time identifying what it is about someone that would cause me to log into a site, create a forum thread, and spend time in my day commiserating with others about how I don’t find their pictures appealing or their life is too boring for me. If I find a blog I’m having trouble identifying with or that has lost some of what brought me to it in the first place, I’ll simply unfollow it.
I’ve been told that the things we dislike the most in others are often things we dislike about ourselves. It doesn’t even have to be jealousy, but simple traits we may possess that we are ashamed of or wish were different. Is this the case with GOMI users? Or is it something more malicious?
I understand that there will always be people who like you and people who don’t; in fact, I wrote a whole post about this not too long ago. There are people I simply don’t get along with or our interests aren’t aligned, but that just means I don’t interact with them. I don’t go to another place and actively list out everything I disapprove of.
Basically, it makes me sad. I’m not angry or upset, just sad. I feel like everyone in the world simply wants to be loved and appreciated. I don’t know why we have to make it so much harder for to that to happen. Instead of working to bring people down, why can’t we just concern ourselves with people who are supportive and encouraging? Stay on our side of the street. It’s not our job to police everyone’s lives if they live them differently than we expect.
Some of the comments are constructive, such as the desire for a blog to return to what it used to be or include certain topics in the future. If anyone ever feels like that with this blog, I ask you to write me an email or leave me a comment because I want to create a place that you want to return to.
As somewhat of a redeeming factor, there is a forum called SOMI — stay on my internets — which is dedicated to blogs that people love and enjoy. I wonder how long they will stay there before finding their way to the much larger GOMI section.
I realize that in writing this I am speaking poorly about another group of people — exactly the opposite of what this post encourages us to do. I’ve just seen so much more come from positivity than negativity and I hope that we can all be a little nicer today.
No questions today — just thoughts if you have them!