This week is #AntiBullyingWeek, and to celebrate, I thought I’d make my first foray into lifestyle content by writing about bullying in the blogosphere.
Don’t get me wrong. When I’ve attended blogger events, the people I’ve met have been lovely. I’ve made a few good friends through this blog. I’ve been to a handful of meetups with the dating community, and everyone there has been really friendly and nice. I’ve spoken to plenty of bloggers via social media who have all been perfectly lovely people.
However, at the moment, Twitter is making me want to slit my own throat.
I’ve been “mobbed” myself on a few occassions. A couple of times I’ll admit, I was being inflammatory, made a few statements I shouldn’t have done, and generally brought it on myself. Other times, I hadn’t done anything wrong, but got hounded anyway. So I guess you can’t win.
Here’s a few other things I’ve witnessed this year:
A group of bloggers were bitching about another blogger in a WhatsApp group. A snake in the group then screenshotted the conversation to the blogger in question, who was (justifiably) upset and posted them online, and drama ensued.
A beauty blogger tweeted about a MAC discount. The tweet was retweeted by a vegan blogger with the snarky comment “MAC test on animals”. Later, I saw the original blogger tweet about how she had been getting harrassed by vegans and received death threats.
I read a post about how a blogger had been publicly “outed” for using bots by someone she had never met, all because she liked a Spanish girl’s Instagram picture.
A blogger tweeted about how her mum had given a coat to a homeless person. I later saw her tweet about how she had taken that tweet down, because she had received death threats for “lying”.
You get the picture. I went through a phase recently where I considered stopping blogging because of stuff like this. I feel I’m in the firing line for having the minority view, but I find these days you can get abuse when you haven’t even said anything controversial. One of the most frustrating things about social media is that you can get relentless abuse for having the wrong opinion, but the genuinely vile, bullying behaviour gets overlooked. Thinking about it, most of the people I’ve met through blogging have been cool, but a minority make things shit for the majority.
No-one likes to think of themselves as a bully. But bullying isn’t just physical violence or playground name-calling. It’s online harassment. It’s ganging up on someone in an adult friendship group. It’s constantly belittling someone in the workplace. It’s speaking to someone like shit online and encouraging your followers to hound them. It’s bitching about someone in a WhatsApp group. It’s cliques and isolation.
You can’t change other people’s behaviour, but you can change your own to avoid falling into that trap. If you see a tweet you disagree with, either ignore it or disagree respectfully. If you get into a debate with someone, keep it about the topic in hand, avoid personal attacks, mud-slinging, or catty remarks. Never EVER send death or rape threats. Don’t shame other people for their lifestyle choices. Stop bitching about people in WhatsApp groups and over DM. If you must say something negative about someone, keep it to their ideas and behaviour, not their looks or personal life. If someone says something negative about something else, address it in the group, don’t screenshot and send it to the person it’s about to stir up drama. If you have an issue with someone’s post, either message them or leave a comment- don’t feel the need to “call them out”. If you think someone is using a method to build their following you feel is unfair, either just ignore them or if you must say something message them privately.
Instead, follow other bloggers. Read other blogs. Watch YouTube videos. And not just the big ones. Find smaller content creators with awesome content and them grow. If you like someone’s post, leave them a comment or share the post with your followers. Do #FF and tag blogs you like when people ask for recommendations. Go to blogger events. Make friends with other bloggers. Nominate people for awards. Stick up for people who are being bullied. Congratulate someone when something good happens. Offer support when something bad happens. Only then will bullying stop, and change happen.
Have you ever been bullied in the blogosphere, or perhaps been a bully yourself? Let me know in the comments!