Sunday, March 18, 2012

anonymous nastiness

image via hayley jane

That precious little unicorn up there is one Miss Hayley Jane. I had the pleasure of meeting Hayley Jane at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, and became an instant fan. Hayley Jane is really an absolute renaissance woman. She's a songwriter, singer, instrumental musician, costume designer, seamstress, burlesque dancer, model, sexual health name it, she's probably dabbled in it. She is remarkably talented, and a very nice person who is always willing to say hello.

Hayley Jane has a Formspring account. For those of you that aren't familiar, Formspring is a social networking site that allows you to ask anonymous questions to members for them to answer publicly. It's a fun tool for the most part, especially in the case of Hayley Jane, who dips her toes into subject matter that some people may be embarrassed about (though they shouldn't! <3).

But lately, Hayley Jane has been getting a slew of anonymous questions that seem to be calling her out on things she said or did in high school, or insulting her, and basically making her feel horrible. It breaks my heart, because I've never seen this young woman be anything but sweet to anyone who speaks to her, and she's just doing what she loves and encourages everyone to do the same.

This got me thinking about the whole idea of anonymous internet bullying. It's like an epidemic lately. I admit, being anonymous is a great way to break through inhibitions; it's easier to speak your mind when people can't judge you directly for it. But using an anonymous forum in order to simply hurt someone is just so [i]wrong[/i]. Take this one that was recently posted to Hayley Jane's Formspring:
Sometimes, I feel like you're a stranger and you never really liked me. You just pitied me.
Needless to say, Hayley Jane was at a loss for words, because how do you respond to something like that, having no idea who said it? That sort of thing is just looking to guilt a person, and to do it anonymously really irks me.

I have a rule for myself on the interwebs: Don't type it if you wouldn't say it. If I wouldn't say it to a person's face, I won't say it on the internet. Which, I suppose, doesn't limit me that much, because I'm pretty brassy and tend to say exactly what's on my mind. But I try not to be nasty. Snarky, perhaps. But not nasty. I know how karma works.

And there's a difference between bullying and trolling. Trolling is usually obvious and on the humorous side, though sometimes trolling will cross that fine line into bullying. Bullying is just mean, and nasty, and something I will never tolerate, be it on my blog, on my Facebook, in real life, anywhere. I wish that there was an Internet Police (thanks, crazy-ass Youtube Dad!) that would patrol this kind of thing, because honestly, it's just sucky.

Anonymous Internet People: Grow up, grow balls, grow vaginas, whatever it takes for you to deal with your troubles face-to-face instead of hiding. It may make you feel better superficially to make someone hurt, but remember that it's going to circle back on you.

Oh, and by the way...totally check out Hayley Jane. ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment