Hello internet! (puns)
This blog post is intentionally late because I was just listening to Dan Howell (danisnotonfire on YouTube) host a radio show called Anti-Social Media Live about handling hate online and the forms it can take and it was the most engaged I’ve ever been with a radio program as, when it was broadcast, there was no accompanying video.
I’m going to try and combine reviewing and discussing the highlights of the show, based upon the subjects I deemed important enough to tweet about when I was live tweeting (which I thoroughly enjoyed!).
They started with a fairly well discussed topic in receiving hate online – I do receive hate fairly regularly if I’m honest; when I post a selfie or a well-phrased opinion that someone disagrees with I quite often get people telling me I’m wrong and I shouldn’t bother and I’m annoying. I rarely rise to it unless I think it’s a particularly offensive opinion but whenever I do post it, I get nicer messages to contradict the mean ones and that restores my faith in the internet.
Jim Chapman (under the same name on YouTube) made a very valid point about not wanting to to respond to hate but wanting to correct their spelling when they use the wrong ‘your’, for example. I found this hilarious (as someone who has been described as a Grammar Nazi for literally years) and then BBC Radio freaking 1 only went and retweeted it to 2 million freaking followers! I’m still not over this, it’s going to make me infinitely happy until at least next week.
But Jim’s point is so valid – I don’t want to be the asshole that corrects your spelling but if you’re going to try and put me down, at least do it correctly!
I thought it was also really interesting to see all what the @BBCR1 twitter was posting alongside the radio broadcast and I thought this quote, again from Jim Chapman, was very poignant. ‘If you fight with a pig in mud, you’ll both get dirty, but the pig will love it.’ Whilst a somewhat gross metaphor, very appropriate – if you respond to someone’s hate message, you’re both getting involved and the hater will love that they’re affecting you some way.
Sometimes the sass is just too funny to resist, though.
At this point I just got very excited that Radio 1 had retweeted me and I was thinking about all the cool people that follow Radio 1 that might see my tweet, like how cool is that? Very cool. I’m still buzzing. This isn’t relevant, but it’s exciting.
The subject was then raised about reporting people on social media and how sometimes it just doesn’t cross people minds that you can actually stop people from messaging you in this way. I thought I’d share one of my experiences for the sake of anyone who was going through the #NicerInternet tag.
I got a message on tumblr once saying that someone on wattpad had posted one of my stories amongst loads of other pieces written by people on wattpad. I’d been credited but I didn’t think that was the point – I hadn’t given my consent for my work to be published anywhere else online and I like having control of where my content is going. I reported the chapter to wattpad and the chapter was taken down within a day – reporting people or pages can be really effective.
This radio show wasn’t only for discussion about hate and internet conduct with people who make their living online – Howell not online brought light to a subject people might be less aware of but informed people of how to block and report people, emphasising just how simple it is to take control over who can message you.
I have a lot of opinions about how much people should share online and how far ‘free speech’ should morally go and I now know that trying to tweet my thoughts is the best way to make them succinct and understandable. I think sharing opinions is okay, as long as someone knows that if they’re talking negatively about something, it’s not necessarily because whatever that something is bad – it’s more likely to be because it’s not something you’re interested in. I don’t want to say ‘the fault lies with you’ but that’s how you should think about it – try to say ‘this isn’t for me’ rather than ‘this is a piece of shit no one should ever interact with it ever’.
Don’t offend someone, don’t be rude – easy enough, I feel.
Another relevant point from Jim Chapman! He said that for a lot of people, their lives are lived almost completely online and he said this completely straight voiced (I’ve not seen the video yet, he may also have been straight faced) without a skip in his step – he wasn’t condemning people who have high profiles online or taking the mick and saying people should live in the real world. It was really refreshing to not be looked down on in that respect. Jim may have appreciated what I said because he favourited my tweet.
Radio 1 retweet and (another, tehe) Jim Chapman favourite makes for a very happy Sophie.
Can’t talk about internet hate without mentioning anonymous messaging, can you? This is the one instance where I did disagree with what they were saying but I think this is because the people on the show were thinking of it from a completely negative/hate perspective? I receive so, so many lovely, adorable anonymous messages on tumblr that it totally outweighs the negative messages. There are two sides to every coin and whilst it also means the negative comments come from the void, it means people can hide when they’re not happy or confident enough to be themselves and if that gives them the confidence to speak to people they wouldn’t usually talk to, then I think that can be a positive thing.
Another example of my experience with what was being talked about – I have had people get aggressively angry because I don’t look like Ashton from 5 Seconds of Summer? I don’t quite understand it but I know I find it hilarious and it’s as entertaining for my followers in most circumstances so I do publish it. I don’t know if that’s immature of me, but I find that posting the messages I get with a witty remark let’s them know that they’re not affecting me and entertains my followers simultaneously. Win-win, perhaps immature, but win-win.
In an almost conclusion to the show, Dan asked Tom “Tomska” Ridgewell to read out some negative comments and Charlie McDonnell (charlieissocoollike) to respond much more positively and it was when they reached the ‘someone’s posted a less than flattering selfie’ that Charlie was a little stumped. Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter, I wrote a blog post about her a few weeks ago!) said that she would personal message the bad-selfie-poster and suggest that there are more flattering photos out there.
I, being the 100% serious 100% of the time person that I am, said I wouldn’t mind Louise telling me I’d posted an ugly selfie; honoured in fact.
To conclude, the YouTube speakers encouraged the audience to make a pledge as to how they’d respond. Most of them said that they pledged to not respond to hate as much and ignore it where they could. I think this is a fantastic way to interactively end the show on a very positive note, considering the somewhat negative subject matter.
Thank you for reading, please, please share your opinions in the comments!
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