I had originally planned to sit down and write a long overdue beauty post today, but while I was at the gym this morning, I got officially trolled on my Instagram account for the first time and so of course, that’s all that’s been on my mind. So the beauty post will have to wait as I try to get my head around the issue of trolling and why I feel it’s affected me.
Of course, these days trolling is just a matter of fact for the internet and it’s not the first or that last time someone gets trolled. It’s not the first time I myself have had less than positive comments. Back in 2012/2013 when I did #ALipADay on Instagram (you can see the Daily Mail Online write-up about it here), there were lots of negative, nasty, horrible comments under the article, but there were two main reasons why I feel it didn’t affect me. First off, we all know what the Daily Mail Online reader is like, so I was almost waiting for the comments to come in, almost curious to see how vitriolic people could be. I laughed them all off, not one comment actually “got” to me. Secondly, unbeknownst to those mean people and their mean comments, I had just lost my father, so their petty words were the very least of my problems. Doing my lipstick and photographing it everyday was my little diversion from what was going on in my life at the time, a little escape from how how I was feeling, even if it was just for a few minutes everyday. They say a slick of lipstick can brighten up the day, well, for me it was more a case of putting on a mask to hide my sorrow and sadness. There were days when having to do my daily lipstick and photo was the very last thing in the world I felt like doing, but it was the only reason I managed to haul myself out of bed, so I’m grateful for the (self-imposed) challenge – I actually wasn’t doing it for anybody else so couldn’t care less what they thought and and was grateful for the diversion.
the internet acts like a petri dish
I didn’t ask for the feature on the Daily Mail to be written, but because I knew what the readers of the website were like with their comments, when it happened, I kind of knew what to expect – I guess forewarned is forearmed. But today’s comments came totally out of the blue, and totally unwarranted, and uncalled for. And that’s the crux of it. Although I tend to keep my little corner of the internet positive and full of love and good thoughts, whether that’s here on my blog, over there on my YouTube channel or over there on my Instagram feed, I guess you can’t control how people see you and react to you. You can’t control the other things that are going on in their lives that makes them want to spew unkind words into your own personal realm in the online world. Someone may have had a bad day, and their knee jerk reaction and method of dealing with it is to pass on that hurt, anger, frustration or whatever else it is that that they’re feeling onto the next person. We all know people like that in real life, (although I’m doing my best to eliminate that too – read more about that here), and it seems the internet acts like a petri dish to multiply these people exponentially. As @savvyfeminist said during my Instagram live chat, it’s “ironic that it’s call social media, when it seems to be anything but”.
Let me be clear. I’m not talking about one mean comment on one isolated Instagram photo. Sadly, in this day and age, that’s kind of normal and that wouldn’t have bothered me. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Just because someone doesn’t agree with me or what I’m doing, doesn’t make them wrong. Doesn’t make me wrong either. Just different opinions, that should be able to harmoniously co-exist in the huge wide space of the internet. But I’m talking five long comments on five different photos, all written and sent within second or minutes of each other. Each of them nasty, hateful or mocking. It might not have been so bad if the comments were posted on contentious pictures or if I’d put up some provocative comment or text underneath it. But these were such innocuous pictures that I really can’t see how they could elicit such a vitriolic response. And the worst of it was when this person decided to bring my children into it. That was the breaking point for me. I don’t put my children out there, I haven’t set myself up as a mummy blogger, and certainly don’t pepper my social media with photos of them or accounts of what they’re up to, or what they’ve achieved, or how much they’re winding me up … you get the idea. As far as I’m concerned, they’re off limits as I haven’t been shoving them in front of my followers, so having a dig at them was the lowest of the low, the scummiest of the scum pool.
It annoys me that what should have been a productive day turned into this. Even more, it annoys me that I let this random nasty person affect my mental state. I should have been able to just ignore it, shake it off, laugh it off like I did with the Daily Mail Online comments. I hadn’t meant to, but I ended up talking about on my Instagram Live Chat that evening, and I’m so glad I did. It was almost like therapy, and if any of you that come online to chat with me on my daily live Instagram chats are reading this, please know that you were so helpful and reassuring. I love you all.
I know that in the world of online trolling, this was probably as innocuous as it gets, and I’m grateful that so far, this has been the worst that has been thrown my way. But I still wanted to address it a little here on the blog and get your thoughts on this too. So please feel free to leave any comments – I’ll look forward to reading them.
PS – this blog post was written over two days – I hadn’t planned it that way, but that’s what happened, so the last two paragraphs were written today.