Before you leave that negative comment
My kids have never seen the SNL sketches, but they know the theme song for Debbie Downer. They know that being a downer is, well, a total downer, and that sometimes it really is better to stay quiet when you just can’t say something nice or positive.
It takes a lot for me to comment on the internet (positively or negatively), for many reasons. To start, no matter what you say online, there’s someone waiting in the shadows to pick a fight, and I really don’t have time fo’ dat. I’m also pretty lazy, so to get me to fill in my contact details, compile a legible comment, and leave it there for posterity, I need to be emotionally connected to the piece I’ve read, and feel I have something to add to the conversation. It’s a rare day I’ll ever say something against a writer on their article. One of my resolutions is to spread more support and positivity online, though. And part of that is leaving supportive comments when I’ve read posts, because I know how much those mean to writers.
I really dig that little “like” button on Facebook because it’s my digital head-nod. Yup, I dig this. Yup, I agree. Yup, this is the easiest way for me to approve without having to commit to being articulate.
And there’s plenty on the internet to feel upset about, I know this. There are crimes against humanity, there is war, there is starvation and abuse and poverty and sexism and racism and a million other things we can stand up against and fight to abolish. There are worthy causes for our rage, our snark, our distaste. Absolutely.
But the vast majority of what you’re reading online doesn’t fall into that category, I bet.
I’ll never, ever understand what possesses people to be the voice of dissent on innocuous things like, say, a fun crockpot recipe for caramel apples. How much time does someone have to waste that they feel adding snark to the general conversation is a worthy activity?
Ah, sarcasm. I’m fluent in this language, too. But the truth here is that my kids absolutely loved unwrapping (and scarfing down!) those precious caramels, Sharon. And frankly, it was easier for me than buying the stuff needed to make caramel from scratch. I don’t own a candy thermometer. I didn’t have heavy cream. I don’t know how to make an ice water bath to make candy. What I know how to do is peel the plastic off some candy, melt it, and make freaking candy apples with my kids.
Why bother being so snarky, really? If the recipe’s not for you, move along.
Well, Erin, yes it is easy. The sugar melts rather easily in warm water, and it’s easier to wash than most other meals I’ve made in the crockpot, actually. Why waste precious time being such a downer? Really?
Before you bother commenting negatively, ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my comment helpful?
2. Would I be proud if my kid(s)/spouse/friends/parents/grandparents read what I’m about to say?
3. Is what I’m about to say appropriate?
Just because it’s your opinion doesn’t mean it needs saying.
Just because something is true doesn’t mean you should say it.
This kind of behaviour online is exactly why we need the #BlogSmallJoys series. We need to remember that life’s not about those negative voices in the back of the room.
Life’s not about pointing out the downsides, or losing sight of silver linings. There’s so much more reward in being the sunshine on a cloudy day.
Be that sunshine.