lessons in 'how to be nice' in an age of trolling

I’m one of these people that subscribe to the idea that if you really don’t have anything nice (or constructive) to contribute then you should keep your opinions to yourself. I am the kind of person who thinks that everything happens for a reason, looks for the good in people, and trusts too easily.. Which is probably why I don’t really understand the whole concept of trolling. In my opinion, if all you want to do is rip someone to shreds and spout hateful (usually badly spelt and lacking in even a basic concept of grammar) tweets/comments at someone then you really should be evaluating what is going wrong in your life.


The whole issue of trolling is everywhere lately, especially since the arrest (and subsequent bailing) of an abusive tweeter who told Tom Daley that he had ‘let his Dad down’. It’s a vile comment to make to someone so talented but the really sad thing is that this is not the only time someone has ever done it.

Nowadays you can share anything and everything you like with anyone and everyone you have ever met. But the problem is that now that there’s a platform, there is also a large number of idiots who insist on climbing upon it and infuriating the rest of us with their mind numbing rubbish. You only have to glance quickly at the number of comments on websites like the Daily Mail, or count the number of people who tweet ridiculous (and often violent) insults to anyone who is remotely famous or well known.

What I don’t understand is why people who put themselves out there and who want to make a name for themselves (be it through actually doing something worthwhile or through embarrassing themselves on a faux reality tv series) automatically warrant a barrage of abuse? Just because you want to do something which means your work is in the public eye, does not mean that you are anymore thick skinned than the next person.

I know that when I first started writing I was a little bit terrified that people I knew would see something with my name printed at the bottom, and that immediately I’d be chastised for writing something that was ‘no good’ or be made fun of. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve reached a point where I can be a little bit proud of my work and accept that no matter what you write or how good you are, someone is going to disagree. I think that’s largely to do with the fact that I’ve realised it’s something that I want to work at and improve. And guess what, the only way to do that is to keep writing.

This is where the blogging came in.. blogging was something I dove into as a way of developing my voice, through all my raving and rants. But much like my writing, when I first started blogging I was really shy about it. Only a handful of friends knew about my blog and I didn’t actively promote it on any social platform. It was as though I was happy for strangers to read my thoughts but I was uncomfortable with people who really knew being able to see what I was writing about. And although my confidence has improved, I still have my own insecurities.. (which I’m embarrassed to admit) have prevented me from actually making a facebook page to promote the blog. Even though I love that my friends will take the time out to read my scribbles, there’s a little part of me that’s still anxious and waiting for someone to make fun.


  1. August 2, 2012 / 3:41 am

    I don't think you are alone. I tend to be quite diplomatic online as I really truly do not have it in me to scribble a controversial post because people love airing their opinions online and it is bound to be hurtful.
    I think you are a stellar writer and I see no reason why you would ever get negativity. If you do, look around – the world is balanced enough that you are getting the same amount of positivity from somewhere else! xo

    • August 3, 2012 / 11:15 pm

      Aww Jess, you're such a sweetheart!
      I'm quite lucky in that I've not really had any negativity come from the blog (yet).

      P.s. I left you a comment on the post about TED but I wasn't sure if it had worked as it wasn't there when I checked tonight. Please pass on my love to your sister. I hope she gets through it.


  2. August 2, 2012 / 10:57 am

    It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, while you might (I stress might!) run the risk of getting negative feedback, you'll also open yourself up to a whole load of positive and supportive feedback too!

    • August 3, 2012 / 10:52 pm

      very true and I think that's why I've kind of grown up a little about it! It's one of those things where you can't help but be a little bit self aware when you're putting yourself out there but then you can't let worrying about what other people think, hold you back from what you want! xx

    • August 4, 2012 / 2:13 pm

      Yeah – I think a great thing about blogging though is every other blogger will totally understand that self-awareness/consciousness because they're doing the exact same thing as you! X

  3. August 2, 2012 / 1:11 pm

    Well put! It blows my mind when people log on simply to make another person feel bad about themselves for no reason. Because, let's face it, there isn't much valid reason–it's generally their own jealousy or envy that sparks their comments. Sad world sometimes, isn't it?
    At least we have the positive people who far outweigh the negative ones 🙂 x

    • August 3, 2012 / 10:54 pm

      It is sad but I think you're right and that if blogging has taught me anything, it's that there are a lot of kind, funny and interesting people in the world. xx

    • August 3, 2012 / 10:58 pm

      thank you, Jenna. I'm glad you enjoyed it.. everyone needs a good rant now and then! And with the Tom Daley headlines this was something very topical! xx

    • August 3, 2012 / 10:54 pm

      thanks, B. I'm glad you enjoyed it! xx

  4. August 3, 2012 / 2:56 pm

    This is an amazing post. Thanks so much for writing it.
    One of my biggest fears when I first started blogging would be whether or not people would like it, if people would hate. I have comment moderation turned on on my blog because I am always scared that someone will write something incredibly negative, and I don't want that to poison my blog. So far, I have only gotten one like that, and it was definitely from a troll. All he said was "hello…I don't like Chinese people." I don't understand people like this at all – why put in the effort to try to hurt someone you don't know? What good is that?
    Anyways, you really do have a lovely blog! And whatever you choose to do to promote it, you can be sure your followers will support it. 🙂
    hearts; xixia | thisisxixia.com

    • August 3, 2012 / 10:58 pm

      Thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and it made me feel much better to learn that other people had the same anxieties as me! That's awful! It's so small-minded and hateful to take the time to send someone such a pointless and spiteful message. I think the best thing to do though is to think that these people are in the minority and there are a lot more good people out there. xx

  5. August 10, 2012 / 12:59 pm

    I agree so much!! I prefer to see the good in things rather than purposefully seeking out any slight negatives, so the whole trolling thing just confuses me. I just don't get why people seem to think it necessary! Great post, it's great to hear that there's more people out there who don't understand trolling. I'm glad your confidence has improved, and hope the rest of the insecurities go away – you're a great writer!! 🙂 Rhi xx

    The Wildest of Dreams

  6. August 12, 2012 / 9:42 am

    I'm so glad someone else feels the same as me! I never mention my blog on fb out of fear and almost embarrassment… which is so ridiculous! Why am I embarrassed of blogging?! but it's true, I kind of am in the sense that yes I'm just waiting for someone I know to make fun. I think you're right, it's so much easier to think of strangers reading your blog than people who know you. Probably because strangers have no preconceptions, whereas I worry that somehow people who know me will spot holes/flaws in my online persona or something – because it is so hard to write/be exactly how you are in real life. Having said that, I think you definitely have a sense of that true-ness in your blog, which is why I (and clearly lots of others) really enjoy reading and keep coming back!
    Also trolling is bizarre, I just can't really get my head around why people do it… apart from the obvious hurt it causes – why bother? Who has the time to spread hate and bad grammar around on the internet? This has turned into a bit of a ramble… so in short – great post 🙂 xxx

  7. August 19, 2012 / 7:12 pm

    Me too, 4 years on & still not many of my friends or family know about mine either.

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