When we post things on the internet, we hope that what we’ve posted won’t become the next target for judgmental, hateful comments. We hope that what we’ve posted becomes a part of the vast landscape of videos, articles, tweets, facebook posts, photos and many other things that make up the place we know as the internet.
Recently I launched a campaign on the popular crowd funding website GO Fund me. After sharing my campaign on my social media accounts, I saw that a nasty tweet had been created by a popular parody account. Over the next few hours, i watched as many immature people among my peers shared the tweet, making jokes at my expense, and indirectly mentioning those close to me.
As I saw the tweets posted, I felt disgusted and in some ways, like my self-worth had been lessened. Unable to act due to shock and anger, I watched as several people came to my defense. Surprisingly I received an apology from one person who retweeted the original tweet with an unfriendly comment attached.
While many forms of trolling, harassment or bullying can be found in any group or community, it is my belief that my fellow blind people are the worst community for it. If something changes that we do not like, we are the first to complain to the person or company that made the change. If someone in the community does something that the majority do not like, they take to the dislike, mocking and insulting the person behind the original action. Be it a naive hope, i thought that as we are all in similar situations we would be more inclined to support each other or at least sympathize with each other. We all have struggles in life, and while those struggles may not be as bad as some out there, they still can be difficult to deal with.
What may simply be an expression of opinion or dislike of a crowd funding campaign can quickly spread, almost like a common virus. Simply put, if you post online about hating a hat or pair of shoes someone was wearing, it is more than likely people will jump on the rickety bandwagon of hate, leaving the person wearing those shoes or that hat feeling worthless.
My mum always used to say “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” How easy it is for us to say that, yet not apply it in our daily lives. While the world is not made of sunshine and rainbows, it is still unhealthy for people to be victims of online shaming or hateful comments. If you feel like making a comment on something, do so without causing shame or hate.
Finally, if you have been a victim to any kind of attack online, there are many resources and organizations out there that can help you through the dark times. Your not alone out there, there is always someone to support you and to act as a listening ear. If you feel that speaking to someone about your negative experiences online may be beneficial below are a few support organizations.
If you would like assistance finding a support network within your country, Email me and I will help where i can.