If I want to write a blog post on what I think of the current economic climate I can.
If I want to browse funny video clips on youtube I can.
If I want to find out news from all over the world, I can.
But, I'm finding more and more, that the internet, especially social media sites, are just being used as a platform for people to big themselves up and belittle others.
I watched a documentary the other night about Trolling ("In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion" - Thank you Wikipedia!) and just wondered why some people can't just keep unpleasant thoughts in their own head? I can't believe people get a buzz off of angering or upsetting others.
I then thought about how extreme some Trolling is, and how a lot of people would never do it. But, then people don't have problems with slagging off celebrities, football players or complete strangers on their facebook or twitter accounts. Isn't that sort of the same thing? Those nasty words are still about someone's daughter/mother/brother etc. Who are we to cast judgements?
My theory: if it's not acceptable or nice to say to a person's face, then it's not really acceptable or nice to say to them over the internet.
Don't worry, no one has shunned me or abused me over the internet. This post isn't some sort of secret dig at someone out there, I've just been mulling over the last few days about how your identity and behaviour on the internet shouldn't be different from your identity and behaviour in the real world, yet people appear bolder and more daring with their online words compared to their offline identity. Do people do it just because they are more socially removed from the situation?
Personally, I think we should just adopt the saying that my mother always used to say to me and my squabbling siblings:
"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"
ONLINE. or. OFFLINE.