Twyber Bullying

Or

If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.

I like to think I was brought up well. In fact, I know I was brought up well, I learned such valuable life lessons as “don’t eat yellow snow”, “If you play with your belly button your bum will fall off” and “Don’t pick your nose or your head will cave in” (yeah, my dad was a real comedian, I was traumatised for life).

But I also learned how important it is to treat everyone else fairly, with courtesy and respect, not to tell lies and, probably most crucially, “do unto others as you would have done to yourself”,

I’m sure you remember similar mantras too; “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” or  “how would you feel if it were you?”

But not everyone pays heed, and with the advent of social media and the opportunity to tell everything to everyone, some folks seem to get a bit carried away with their own self-importance (or perceived self-importance) and feel they have the right to cruelly criticise the thoughts, opinions and actions of others.

It’s not as financially or reputationally damaging as a cyber attack on your business (that’s for another blog entirely), but an online personal attack can have equally devastating effects.

It doesn’t have to be vociferous abuse to be construed as Twyber bullying, just enough of a snide comment to hurt someone’s feelings or to make them feel that sinking sensation in their gut, to make them think twice before posting again or worse still, to remove themselves from the online world entirely.

Knocking other people’s ideas, posting mean-spirited comments on Twitter and making spiteful comments on blogs that, while you might not agree with matter to the person who took the time and the effort to write and in many cases the courage to post, is simply wrong.

Constructive criticism, well-meant suggestions, and gentle encouragement are openly welcomed by those that embrace social media. There are no experts or gurus out there, everyone is learning, and learning from your peers is a fundamental element of social media.

There are few of us so arrogant that a negative comment doesn’t have an effect, even if it’s only to voice a f**k’ em approach.

But it’s wholly unnecessary, and it goes against everything social media stands for (remember the social in social media?) to deliberately attempt to upset someone, to publicly ridicule what they stand for, or to damage their online reputation just because you don’t agree.

Call me naïve. I’ll probably just ignore you. But please don’t be nasty. Think how you would feel if it happened to you.