I came across an article about personal attacks on facebook and twitter the recently that was just perfect. It said "When you're attacked on social media, it can feel like the community has already made its mind up about you until you can prove your innocence."
That hit the nail on the head.
It went on to say "The form of the harm can be much more complicated too. People can incorrectly take a comment you make out of context...they can share hurtful opinions...or people can just be downright mean." Again, a perfect summery by the Poynter institute
I'm not sure why we feel the need to say things to others on social media we wouldn't say to their face. Is it because we're not standing in front of them, looking into their eyes, hearing the tone of our voice, seeing the hurt speed across the other person's face? Maybe I just answered my own question?
Some of the comments I've received recently have been downright abusive and libelous. But, being in the public spotlight, I know that comes with the job.
Still, I wonder if these people who post on my timeline ever really stop to think about what they're saying, and the lasting effect it can have? Haters are going to hate (sorry Taylor, had to use that), but does it become easier as time goes on to launch these personal attacks on others? Would you have these kind of "arguments" or "discussions" face to face with a co-worker you would see again tomorrow, a friend you've known for years or a loving family member?
Why feel the need to troll someone and spend so much time picking apart what they say or do? Does it empower the writer? Do I empower them by responding...or not responding? I wish I knew. I really do.
All I can hope for in this new year is that the tone of social media changes for the better, and that we change along with it.