Why is there so much negativity on the internet?
As a millennial growing up in the digital age and a writer who’s had her name out there online for several years, I’ve seen my fair share of negativity on the internet.
Back in high school, I received messages almost every single day from anonymous people on Tumblr and websites like Formspring and Ask.fm telling me to go kill myself.
I’ve gotten hundreds of hate comments on articles I’ve written for other publications, blog posts on this website, and Instagram.
Even this past year, I was cyber bullied by people who I thought were my friends.
While all of these negative experiences sucked, they’ve taught me to stop caring so much about what other people have to say, especially if it’s from strangers online.
I’ve seen and experienced so much hatred from other people, that now it’s just like, whatever dude – I get sad, maybe even cry it out, then get over it.
These little negative things are such small parts of your life that will literally mean nothing to you a year from now, or even 5 years from now.
I know there are a ton of people out there that get way more online hate than I do, but I do feel like I’ve experienced it enough that I can definitely help those of you who have trouble dealing with online negativity.
I’ve gotten a few questions before on how I deal with online bullies and haters, and as it’s been on my mind lately, I figured I’d do a post on it.
I’ve included both tips on how to deal with negativity from others, and how to avoid putting out negativity yourself.
Here are my tips on how to combat internet negativity and make it a more positive place!
How to combat negativity on the internet
1. Support your friends and acquaintances
One of your friends quit their job to pursue their own growing business?
That takes some serious dedication, and good for them for following their dreams! Like that post.
Someone from your high school got accepted into Harvard?
That’s freaking awesome – you know someone who’s going to Harvard! Comment your congratulations.
So many people preach about “community over competition” and “women supporting women“, but some people don’t follow it at all.
If you dig someone’s products, buy ‘em (full price, if you can).
If you enjoy someone’s content, watch their videos and read their blog posts (it’s free to you).
Support your friends by actually engaging with their businesses, if it’s something you’re aligned with.
There is also no need to be jealous of people, bad mouth them behind their backs, or anything that involves being negative towards their success.
Seriously, how does it benefit anyone at all?
Spread the love and positivity out there and actually be happy for people and for their accomplishments.
A little bit of positivity honestly goes a long way, y’all.
2. Be willing to help other people
It’s something to be proud of when people begin to ask you for advice.
It shows that they think you’re doing awesome at what you’re doing!
This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and meet a person you’ve never met before and teach them all the ins and outs of your profession for free.
I mean, girl, you’ve spent hundreds of hours doing research and spent tons of money on resources to get to where you are today.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had questions like “can I pick your brain?” or “can I have a phone call with you?” from people I didn’t know or never talked to.
However, it doesn’t hurt to answer people’s simple questions like where you shot a certain photo or your opinion on their overall brand.
Would you believe it if I told you an influencer flat out lied to my friend about a photo location and we spent over an hour walking around and searching for it in the scorching hot sun?
They didn’t want anyone to know about their *secret* photo spot, and instead of saying so, they lied about the location to somehow not seem like a jerk.
There is a major difference between people who are using you to get all of your knowledge so they don’t have to go out and do the work themselves, and people who genuinely respect you and your work and just want your plain opinion.
Or, just to know where a darn photo spot is.
3. Complaining won’t get you anywhere
The occasional “I hate the TTC” tweet is totally understandable.
We all feel ya there, bud – does anyone actually enjoy commuting?
However, if your entire Twitter timeline is just complaining and spreading negativity about anything and everything about the world, maybe you should take a step back and think about what you’re promoting about yourself.
If it’s all negative, it ain’t pretty, friend.
Go back, delete those Tweets, and start sharing more positive stuff like dog memes and more important and intellectual conversations.
Remember what mom told you: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.
4. Avoid taking things too personally
Remember that anything being said to you on the internet is being said from people behind a screen.
Would they say these negative things to you to your face? Who knows.
These people online don’t know you or anything about you, so try not to take things too personally.
It’ll just make you sad and maybe even defensive, so just let the negative messages or comments go in one ear and out the other.
On another note, sometimes people might actually be giving you constructive criticism, and not actually giving you any hate.
5. Ignore negative comments
Not everyone is going to like you, not everyone is going to like your work, and not everyone is going to say nice things about your work.
If someone comments on your social media post saying something stupid like “you’re dumb” and all you have to respond is something negative, just don’t say anything.
Either delete it or leave it – they’re only trying to trigger you, so don’t let them.
When you stop caring about what people think of you, you stop worrying about whether they’ll judge you.
What other people say about you or what they do to you should not affect how you live your life.
This also applies to negative things being said about other people.
If someone DMs you talking behind someone else’s back, just ignore their message, or even tell them “hey, that’s not okay”.
There’s no need to engage in negative conversations, because it’ll just leave a bad impression on your day.
Try to remember to stay classy and be polite as well.
It’s not about showing anyone up or being petty – how you respond is a reflection of who you are as a person.
Also, you can always filter out negative words so you never receive any hateful or offensive comments.
6. Don’t respond to everything
Sometimes it’s hard to resist responding to controversial comments, especially on online threads.
We all have different thoughts and opinions, which is the beauty of being a human being.
Just because someone doesn’t agree with you or your point of view, doesn’t mean you have to speak up on it.
Adding your comment could just be adding fuel to the fire and make things all the more negative.
7. Unfollow people if you need to
You don’t have to follow people for the sake of following them.
If people are being negative, that’s on them, and you shouldn’t have to see their negativity if you don’t want to.
I have unfollowed people in the past for posting negative things about other people, and I have unfollowed people who’ve engaged with posts bullies have made about me.
If they’re family or a close friend that you can’t really unfollow, you can also just mute them – this can easily be done on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
How to combat negativity on the internet:
- Support your friends and acquaintances
- Be willing to help other people
- Complaining won’t get you anywhere
- Avoid taking things too personally
- Ignore negative comments
- Don’t respond to everything
- Unfollow people if you need to
Sometimes it’s hard to not get sucked into the negativity, but that’s why you need to surround yourself with positive people.
It really is true that you are who you surround yourself with.
Every so often, Adam has to remind me to stop being negative – that’s the kind of energy you need in your life.
There is so much negativity out there, guys, and you don’t need to participate in it.
You can’t really avoid negativity on the internet, but you can help to fight it and make it a more positive experience for everyone.
Life tends to work out in your favour when you’re more positive.
Haters and bullies are unfortunately part of life in today’s internet world, but as long as you know how to deal with it, you’ll be fine.
At the end of the day, you’re out there living your best life, so just keep on keeping on.