In case you didn’t know, the internet is a scary place! You’re welcome – it needed to be said. As someone who has recently ventured further into the murky ether of the web, I’ve discovered it is indeed a place to be traversed with caution. It can turn on you in an instant especially if you throw yourself on the mercy of YouTube or blogging.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I spend a lot of time watching YouTube. I watch a variety of channels covering topics from make up to gaming. As I watched these channels more and more, I began to read through the comments left on the videos of some of my favorite YouTubers. I was genuinely shocked at the cruel and hateful words I was reading on the screen. I cannot understand why someone would post comments ridiculing an individual’s appearance, making fun of the way they speak, or just generally telling them how crap they are at making videos. Here’s a tip – if you don’t like the channel, don’t watch it. I can only assume these comments are left by people who are unhappy with their own lives, are jealous or insecure, are probably very young, or all of the above. I have listened to a few YouTubers address hate comments and while some of them admit they find them discouraging and hurtful, many claim they simply brush them off, although I wonder if that is truly the case. They are, after all, only human. There are some who would argue that if you’re putting yourself out there on a public platform then you have to take the good with the bad. That may be true to a certain degree but at a time when we are trying to combat and discourage bullying, this excuse should no longer be accepted for the bad behavior of internet trolls. I am fairly confident that these are things they would never say to someone in real life so why this need to spew hatred from behind the safety of a keyboard?
When I started this blog, I was determined to make it a place where I could share my unfiltered opinions and if people like them, great, if they don’t that’s fine too. However, I must admit, that just the idea of someone potentially posting hateful comments on my blog has slightly rocked my confidence. I expect many of my views won’t be popular as I have definite conservative leanings in an increasingly liberal world. I don’t mind intelligent discussion and respectful disagreements; it’s the people who post intentionally inflammatory and derogatory remarks that concern me. Unfortunately, in an attempt to avoid any possible unpleasantness, I find myself reluctant to write some of the posts I had planned in favor of more neutral topics. Disappointment in myself abounds! Perhaps I need to stop reading video and blog comments for a while as that only amplifies my fear leaving me to seek out my comfort zone and take the easy way out. I am just a beginning blogger with a lot to learn; I don’t want to feel defeated before I even start building this blog.
In general, the internet can be a hurtful and hateful place. It is not a safe place to share the “real you.” Still, just as in the real world, we cannot allow the naysayers, critics, and “haters” to discourage us from working towards our goals. Despite my fears of the “what ifs,” I need to strive for my goal of no longer being afraid to voice my thoughts and opinions if only for the sake of my self-respect.