People on the Internet can be awfully cruel.
Simple disagreements about religion, politics, television shows, video games or sparkly vampires become vicious arguments full of insults, slander and accusations that make no sense. Look at the comments on YouTube, news websites, popular blogs or online forums. All too often, they ain’t pretty.
Why is this? One possible reason is that cruelty is easy. Explaining, supporting and defending one’s views can be difficult. It’s hard to be patient and respectful.
It may be that certain people are fundamentally biased, and blindly assume anyone with conflicting views must be wrong—and is therefore not worth respecting.
Others may be insecure in their beliefs. They’re afraid they’ll be proved wrong in an argument, and so they use insults to deflect serious debates.
Of course, another possibility is simply that some people are angry jerks. With the anonymity of the Internet, being an angry jerk has never been easier.
Things seem grim, but my typewriter monkeys and I have come up with an idea.
We propose the establishment of a new holiday. Let us celebrate Monday, August 20, as the first ever Be Nice to Someone on the Internet Day.
On Monday, go to someone’s Facebook profile, blog page, YouTube channel, deviantART page, Twitter profile or Tumblr account and leave an encouraging comment, sincere compliment or gentle word of constructive criticism.
If these suggestions don’t appeal to you, be creative! Find some other way to be nice to someone on the Internet, and uphold the noble cause of balancing the nastiness of online cruelties with the awesomeness of online kindnesses!
(If you plan to take part in Be Nice to Someone on the Internet Day, please be nice to someone who isn’t me or one of my typewriter monkeys. We’re not trying to fish for compliments.)
On Monday I’ll publish a brief reminder for those who want to participate. In the meantime, if you’d like to get a head start, feel free to go ahead and write something awesome on someone’s online page, post or profile.
Spread the word! Monday is going to be the best Be Nice to Someone on the Internet Day the world has ever seen!