Being online all the time can be hard on the soul. There is so much negativity, ignorance, and pure hate out there, and the internet is the perfect place to air out all that anger. Hate comments, racist slurs, homophobic speech, doxxing, the list goes on forever. So how do you go about navigating this horrible cesspool of terribleness? Well I have one way to look at it.
Ignore what you hate, promote what you love.
Eight simple words but that’s all I have ever needed to keep my head above water and not join the masses of sad and angry people. Allow me to elaborate.
The first part is ignore what you hate. This is really simple. A lot of the time, you see people entering arguments with others in the comments section of YouTube videos and replies on Twitter. However, the cliche is true: these people just want attention. Replying to them, even if you make excellent points, prove their points invalid, and try to engage in intelligent debate, chances are they will just respond with more garbage. Unless they’re comment shows that they are actually interested in discussing a topic, leave it alone.
This may sound defeatist, but there are ways to combat the hate that doesn’t include getting down in the mud with them. I don’t know if a single social website that doesn’t have a block/report button. Not to mention how many websites simply have a upvote/downvote button. Block people who are just spewing nonsense, and many sites have a policy that if an account gets blocked too many times they may be permanently banned. Also, you just won’t see their stuff anymore. Not only are you depriving them of the attention they so dearly crave, but you are also actively working towards stopping them from being dumb altogether.
I am constantly hearing how much people hate the front page of YouTube because all the popular but empty content that gets pushed to the front. You can help shape that! You can edit what comes up in your recommended section, and you can effect what comes up in other people’s recommended, which is more to do with the second part of the motto.
Promote what you love! Subscribe to creators you appreciate! Like and share their content! Only post about things you like or agree with! Leave nice and supportive comments! Social media is all about feedback, and most of the time that feedback is connected to the algorithms that shape recommended sections and suggested posts. A lot of the time, the internet can feel like this uncontrollable place where certain trends can not be helped or avoided. In reality, the internet is purely democratic, it just happens that our votes come in thumbs up and shares.