I was sucked in again.
I know better, and yet I succumbed to the pressure. Again.
I was dragged down into the dark depths and almost wasn’t able to get out.
I got involved in an online comments section.
There was an article posted on Facebook by a local news station about Common Core. I happen to know quite a bit about Common Core since I work in education in a state that has adopted it. Of course the headline was “what are your thoughts?” Of course the people commenting had not even read the article which was actually very well written and dispelled some of the common misconceptions of Common Core. Of course the people commenting had a lot to say, but little knowledge of what they were actually saying.
Why, oh why did I feel the need to comment? Why couldn’t I just stop reading the misinformed, uneducated, at-times hateful comments and go on my happy way?!? For whatever reason, maybe because it was 12:00 am and my defenses were too tired to be up, I commented. And then I had quite a few replies to my comment. And then I read them. And then- and I am ashamed of this- I replied to the replies!!
For just a few minutes. Then sanity smacked me in the head and I deleted my original comment, quit reading any more, and did go about my merry way.
Being a blogger, I often get comments. That is the nature of the game, right? I want comments, right? Why would I write and post my writing to a public forum if I didn’t want people to read it?
Usually the comments I receive are positive or at least neutral. I have had a handful of negative comments, however, and even some troll action on my posts. The first time I received a negative comment I felt a bit proud. I felt like I had actually made it as a blogger when I actually had a troll.
But sometimes it gets a bit discouraging. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me all the time or to only say positive things in response to my writing. Those who know me well know I love to play devil’s advocate and I love debating with others. If something I have written makes someone think and they have a different viewpoint from mine, I am happy to hear what they have to say. What is discouraging is when people comment when they clearly haven’t even read what they’re commenting about. Or when they are uneducated about the topic and just want to disagree to disagree. Or when they are mean.
It is discouraging that the relative anonymity of the internet makes some people feel like name-calling or degradation are acceptable ways of communicating with other human beings. Guess what? They are not.
There are times when I get sucked into the dark, murky depths of comments sections and I think “Why do I blog? Why am I putting myself out there where there are so many mean, unhappy people just waiting to pounce and put others down? Why not stop writing? Or at least stop writing publicly?”
I am at a point in my life where I really am prioritizing what I am doing with my life and trying to ensure that I am spending my time doing what brings me joy.
Reading negative, hateful comments does not bring me joy.
But you know what does? Reading the comments that say things like “Me too!” Maybe I helped one person feel not alone. Lord knows this crazy ride we call parenthood can feel isolating and lonely at times. Maybe I helped someone through it just one day. Knowing that I wrote something that someone connected with brings me joy.
I love hearing about how I made someone laugh. If we don’t laugh, we will go crazy. Maybe I helped save someone from going crazy. Saving people’s sanity brings me joy.
Most importantly, I write because it keeps me from going crazy. It is my outlet. I would rather write than drink vodka. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, but I should write rather than drink vodka. Writing is my way of staying sane. It brings me joy.
So, when all is said and done, I have come to the realization that the good far outweigh the bad when it comes to putting myself and my writing out there for public consumption and public commentary. I will continue to post my work on the internet and will continue to read the comments because that is how I interact with my readers.
The good outweigh the bad. The good bring me joy.