Y’all hold on now, because I’m about to get all up in my feels.
I made a horrible decision tonight.
I decided to share a picture of my newborn niece in a Facebook group that consists of 10,000+ people.
I know, I’ll give you a minute to gasp, recoil, and recover from this ill conceived act.
Well, sure enough, the Law of the Internet prevailed and nasty comments began flowing in.
One comment really struck me though.
It was simple. One word.
All it said was…”Ew.”
For some reason I felt compelled to look at the profile of the person who left this comment.
I couldn’t help but feel curious…what kind of person goes out of their way to be so nasty to a complete stranger?
It seems like a genuine profile. This person appears to be married. They appear to be a service member in the US military.
They shared pictures with their spouse and those pictures had comments from friends, praising the couple and congratulating them on their marriage.
This doesn’t look like some anonymous Internet troll.
I couldn’t help myself. I sent them a message.
“I am going to make yet another impulsive and regrettable decision tonight and try to appeal to you in a genuine way…what goes through your head when you see a baby picture, undoubtedly a picture of a loved one, and you choose to comment…”Ew”?
I looked at your profile. You don’t seem like an outright internet troll.
You seem to be married. You seem to have family and friends and people you care about in your life.
How would you feel if somebody chose to insult them or disrespect them in the same way you did to me and my loved one?
I get it, this is the Internet. I am the idiot who decided to put myself out there in a group of 10,000 people. Odds dictate that there will be members of that group who will jump on the opportunity to hassle and lampoon others.
I’m just curious, again since you seem to be a ‘real’ person and not just a faceless, anonymous troll…why did you make that choice?
Did it make you feel good? Did you get a little thrill, knowing that your comment would probably inflame or bother me? Did you think that you were justified to mock my post because I made the choice to participate in an open forum?
Does the thought that your action caused me to feel insulted, embarrassed, and hurt matter to you at all? In any way? Somewhere underneath the bravado and the emotional separation that the Internet provides?
Maybe this message will simply feed that flame…that desire to mock and belittle a complete stranger.
It’ll be easy enough to laugh off.
Look at this chick, getting all serious and butt hurt over Facebook.
But whether or not you care, your actions…even the little ones…have impacts on people.
Are you truly okay with adding to the cruelty and ill will of this world? Would your family and friends join in and support your decision to seek joy in inflicting discomfort on others?
In the grand scheme of things…your comment and this interaction really isn’t a big deal, I guess. But even little incidents like this are a reflection of character. Maybe you’re happy with yours. I can’t help but wonder though if this message will ever cross your mind again, perhaps when someone maligns your loved one in some way.
Though I can’t help but assume you’ll probably just shoot back a snarky reply, possibly mock me somewhere else, and delight in the opportunity to heckle someone again.”
I’m not ashamed of putting myself out there.
I’m not ashamed of being genuine and sharing a photo of my niece out of pride and excitement.
Maybe I am just some dumb girl on the Internet who is making a mountain out of a molehill and taking this way too seriously instead of just rolling my eyes and moving on.
But damn it, we HAVE to care about how we treat people — even in small interactions, like this one!
Every little thing we do has an impact on this world. It has an impact on other human beings.
Do you really want to be the cause of someone else’s pain?
I know I don’t.
And God I hope there are more people out there like me than there are people like this person.