A couple of months ago, in the midst of the American political conventions, I went on a full on rant at a friend's house. No, not about politics. As a Canadian, I try very hard to keep my nose out of American politics but I live in a very American internet. In the midst of a political storm I see it, whether I want to or not. My rant was about the meanness I saw in political discussions. It wasn't the politics that had me weary, it was the meanness.
The meanness depressed me. I don't just see it in American politics of course. It's in Canadian politics. It's in posts about oh, just about every parenting decision people make. It's about someone having a different opinion. It's in the comments when someone puts up their Christmas tree too early for someone else's tastes. It's everywhere and at that moment if I had to read one more mean comment I was going to burst into tears.
The absolute last thing I want to see? Is something that exists exclusively to create more meanness. When I saw this post about a new app, Defriendtion, I just kind of wanted to throw my hands up in despair.
I've had a lot of issues with Facebook over the years but I have always appreciated that they only had a like button. They did not have a dislike, unlike or hate button. They didn't have a way to vote anything down. But in comes Defriendtion and gives people a way to dislike things. It gives people ways to temporarily put their "friends" in Facebook jail and explain to everyone why they are doing it.
Yes, that's what the world needs. Another way for people to share negatively and hate. Another way for bullies to bully people online.
I have a much simpler solution. If you don't like what I have to say, unfriend me. Unfollow me. Hide me. You are under no obligation to read my updates. That space though? It's my space. I won't mess your updates up with negative speech and you don't need to on mine either. And really, if you can't tell me that something is annoying you in a reasonable one-to-one manner? We were never friends in the first place.
Perhaps instead of spreading more negativity, hatred and just plain meanness, we could try to spread a bit more kindness. Maybe instead of responding with snark we could all offer a little more kindness.
Just a suggestion.