What is going on? Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched the Hate Meter rise. One of those times, it was disturbingly turned on me in reaction to a post I wrote, but the horror of it really supersedes the target. Hate is just nasty. There’s no way around it. And social media seems to breed its own brand, or maybe it’s the same old, same old – just wearing a new dress. A new dress getting soaked in a shit storm.
Why people hate
I’ve got to say it seems to boil down to these three things:
- Need for attention
Social media, for worse in this scenario, offers people a filter. They can and do behave in ways that they would probably never behave in real life. No one can see them, they don’t have to look into a person’s eyes and see their heart and soul. They can hide behind their computer screen armed with 26 letters and some exclamation marks.
How they hate
Social Media is so vast that it gives the haters quite the array of options:
- Social networking, such as Twitter. They can bring someone down swiftly by tweeting something nasty to their followers, pushing the retweet or carrying on in public (@reply) conversations.
- Video. This makes them seem bold, when really they’re hurling their hate at a camera, not an actual person.
- Blogs. Let me count the ways. They can write their own nasty post or leave horrid comments on someone else’s.
- Email. Start a hate campaign, make it juicy, add pictures and it will go viral.
- Forums. How fun to start a hate thread!
The Umbrella: What to do about it
In the face of social media hate, you have some choices to make:
- Fight back. Now this seems like a good idea at first, doesn’t it. ‘How dare s/he say that about me!’ Believe me, I understand that you’re raring to go. But, just like my older brothers who teased me relentlessly, this is what the hater wants. They’re baiting you. So…
- Silence is really an incredible option. Bite your tongue, dog’s chew toy, a towel. Walk away from your computer. Channel George Clooney and do not engage. (if you got that joke, you get a gold star)
- Block ’em. You have the right to block people from your blog and your networks. You do not need to be harassed on your own ‘domain’ – so to speak. I’m not suggesting that you block or censor naysayers. Differing opinions are great and add a lot to the conversation. But hate and violence are not to be tolerated.
- Find an outlet. Friends, trusted colleagues, your mom. Rant to them. Let them love you and tell you it’s okay. Have them remind you of how wonderful you are and how batshit insane the hater is. If you can, invite them all to an email party – let the stream of love and fun ensue. The hater is left to hate alone in silence while you’re all having a lovefest.
- Depend on your peeps. Watch with glee as your readers go to the mattresses for you – defending, talking back, throwing themselves in front of you like the iron clad shields that they are.
- Rise above. Go do something that puts you back on track. Write a killer post. Retweet good people. Make a donation. Hang with your family. Don’t forget that you are better than this hater and their hateful stink. Hate can be like quicksand, don’t get pulled down into it. Don’t believe it, don’t invite it in.
- Be careful. If this hater is really scaring you or making serious threats, do not hesitate to take it directly to the police. Don’t forget to document and save all correspondence. Not only emails, but screen shots of tweets, forum posts, etc.
Don’t forget that the ‘world’ is watching. Oftentimes the hater is just making a fool out of their own sorry self. If you keep your wits about you and do the right thing, your social media value and reputation will only go up – and so will your self-preservation. Now, go on with your bad self…and make love, not war.
Image credit: Kayepants