I recently saw a TED Talk of Monica Lewinsky‘s where she addressed the topic of cyber bullying. I know what some of you may be thinking. It’s Monica Lewinsky, she’s someone who fooled around with a married man. Why should we be listening to her? She was in her early twenties at that time and it was in 1998 where she was publicly shamed all over the world for what she did. I recall hearing and reading about the whole ordeal back then. I was only 18 at that time and doing many foolish things myself and at the age of 34 today, I still continue to do foolish things. So regardless of how I feel about her and what she did, I try not to place too much judgement.
This is the complete TED Talk, I think she has made some very good points. The talk is worth listening to if you haven’t as of yet.
Her closing line of the talk sums it up pretty well and what I feel is quite an important statement if people pay attention to it:
“We all deserve compassion. And to live both online and off in a more compassionate world.”
I’ve spoken about it before…the anonymity of the internet giving people an easy way to be unnecessarily rude or snarky towards others. These days there are whole websites that focus on ‘gossip’ and ridiculing celebs or just regular people. Sadly we even have websites that do that in our virtual communities. I have my opinions and thoughts about these kinds of outlets and if they are considered ‘cyber bullying.’ I honestly don’t consider this bullying, some may, but I do think it is a form of cruelty that usually results from people’s insatiable desire to somehow entertain themselves at the expense of others so they are able to forget or feel better about their own miserable little lives.
For this week’s Monday Meme, I wanted to highlight this TED Talk in hopes that it might resonate with some of my blog readers and make you also want to spread the message and contribute to a more compassionate Internet, or at least, a Second Life.
Meme instructions: Answer the following questions either on your own blog, in the comments of this post or on any social platform.
- Have you ever been subjected to mean comments online by strangers? If not, then skip to question #5. – I’ve been a blogger and photographer for over seven years now. I’ve put my words, images and thoughts out there for the world to see. When you do something like that, it’s natural to expect and even receive all kinds of comments and critiques from people. So yes, I have received many comments on different social networks and even personal IMs that were on the questionable side and the intentions of the authors seemed more as if they wanted to ridicule than give constructive criticism.
- How did you respond to them? – Majority of the time, if it wasn’t an honest critique, I ignored and didn’t respond at all.
- How did they make you feel? – In the early years, it bothered me. Especially at times when I was attacked on something that was very personal, something to do with my real life or just thoughts I’ve shared. But now, I’ve learned not too share too much of myself online and also not to let someone else’s negative energy mess with me.
- Can you share some of the mean comments you’ve received and your thoughts on them? – I guess this is the part where we can all pretend we’re on Jimmy Kimmel and read mean tweets about us, but I honestly don’t want to do that for myself. Mainly because I don’t really want to call out people here or give them unnecessary attention, but there are a few things I did want to point out in hopes that people are more aware of their actions in the future.
I received this comment on one of my social networks regarding this image where I’m wearing a tattoo. Now, at first glance, this comment isn’t really that mean. It’s just some person being silly making fun of the way my tattoo looks, and it honestly did not bother me. But the reason I’m sharing it here is because it is the perfect example of negative intention. Why was this comment made on my picture? Everyone has their own likes and dislikes and preferences about what they choose to wear. I personally like that tattoo, but I totally understand that others may not and I absolutely have no problems with people wanting to voice their ‘opinions’ about said tattoo. So I guess this is their opinion, but I think the way that opinion was shared was not in a very constructive or helpful way. My guess is they were trying to make a joke, however, I feel the intention in this comment was mean-spirited. This is why I feel the message of asking for a more compassionate internet is so very important. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is so far from the meanest comment I’ve ever received. I’ve had people call me horrible names, make fun of my appearance in dreadful ways, ridicule me for being an active Second Lifer that promotes Linden Lab and let’s not forget the words ‘overrated and pretentious’ two words that are often used for me and about me. I chose to share this comment because it is one of the more recent ones and it wasn’t just some anonymous person trolling me, it was someone sharing an opinion but not in a productive way.
- Have you ever ridiculed or negatively commented on someone else’s work, actions or personality with the intention to hurt them? – One thing that my dad has always taught me is to do what you feel is right in your heart and with good intentions. I really try to follow that in every aspect of my life, however, I am human and I am pretty sure I have said and done things that were hurtful to people. I am thankfully not the sort of person that likes to spread negativity around and have never left comments ridiculing people on their own posts or images, nor would I ever. I am not a very opinionated person. I am actually pretty apathetic towards most topics that don’t interest me or have anything to do with me. If I don’t like something, I don’t feel the need to comment on it. I just direct my attention towards the things that I do like. I think this has saved me from putting my foot in my mouth often, not always, but often.
I almost didn’t write about this topic because I felt I might receive negative backlash because of it. But I think, even if one person listens to the TED Talk and learns something from it, then it’s worth it. I hope there is a movement towards a more compassionate internet. We are always asking people to donate funds to help those in need. It’s not always funds or material items that people need though. People also need compassion, verbal support and just the comfort of knowing people are there for them. Please remember that positive words can change and save a life!
If you’re the kind of person that is spreading negativity, let it go. Don’t let it define who you are in the real world or your voice on the internet. Help promote a more compassionate internet. Contribute to the community in a positive way, and take a moment to make someone’s day. <3
Please remember that you can participate in any of the memes/challenges at any time. You’ll find them all under my Blog Challenges category along with other memes and challenges I’ve done over the years. You don’t have to have a blog to do this challenge, you can share your words in the comments or on any social platform.
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