The toll of trolls

Taylor Swift knows a LOT about trolls
Taylor Swift knows a LOT about trolls

I love writing for HelloGiggles because co-founders Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi forbid users from demeaning or attacking anyone. Sure we write critical (and fair) pieces on occasion, but commenters aren’t allowed to put down authors or other users, and if these folks choose to say something controversial, their names and Facebook pages will be attached to the comments. It’s an incentive not to be a total jerk. I think it’s part of the reason why I never get picked on or torn apart in the HG comments section. The site’s Facebook page is another story.

I follow HG and Refinery 29, which republishes some HG content and has republished my work as such. As much as I love seeing my articles pop up on my Facebook feed thanks to Refinery 29 and HG’s fan pages, it’s troubling to be met with so many nasty Facebook comments on those threads. A lot of people have called my pieces the “worst” they’ve ever seen on Refinery 29 and HG, their points leveraged by “likes” from other users. I learned a long time ago not to read Internet comments or take this kind of bullying to heart, but it does hurt at times, especially when I’m feeling bad in other areas of life.

The beginning of every year is always a challenge for me. January is like a No Man’s Land, February feels long even though it’s the shortest month of the year, there’s little to look forward to in March, and as the awful phrase goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” In LA, we have “June Gloom,” but I guess that’s better than the Polar Vortex assaulting the rest of the country with no remorse. I’m more of a summer soul, so it’s not surprising that the early months get me a little bummed out. Needless online spats and frivolous insults sting more than usual right now.

I’m certainly guilty of criticizing writers, journalists, actors, etc. What I won’t do, however, is say they’ve created the worst thing imaginable, and if I feel the need to resort to hyperbole like that, I’ll make an effort to make something of higher quality. Bottom line, you really shouldn’t call something an abomination if you’re not willing to do a better job yourself. It’s lazy and nonconstructive, and you’re just being mean to be mean. What do commenters get from crapping all over another person’s labored efforts and aspirations? I’ll never understand it, but in the mean time, I’ll try to develop a thicker skin. I’m going to need it in this industry.

It’s absolutely fine to disagree with my work. I encourage debate and really do love when people challenge my views and claims. But the approach has to be respectful, and the other party shouldn’t just be out to fight and throw stones. I’m not interested in a duel. I would like to have a dialogue, but I’m starting to feel like that’s too much to ask of the Internet.

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