It started off as any normal day. I had filmed a segment for a local television station about back-to-school tax-free weekend. (Remember the topic — it is important to my story.) I received word that the segment had been posted on the news stations’ Facebook page. The post was quickly gaining “likes,” which made me happy inside. I didn’t think anything of it.
Until a few days later. When I received the notification.
Now we all know what a notification is — it is an alert from Facebook that someone has liked or commented on a post you are tagged in, posted or also commented on. Turns out, a friend commented on the post. My harmless, tax-free weekend post. I was certain it was something positive, right? I mean — it’s a video segment about saving money.
Yeah, well… it wasn’t.
My friend was actually responding to a rather nasty comment someone left on the video. The troll made a comment about my appearance, specifically, my weight. Which prompted another troll to make another inappropriate comment. I sat there, dumbfounded. I have done many television interviews, been on the radio, wrote countless blog posts and directed major events. I’m not a person who is easily intimidated or cautious. I am confident to the point of being borderline cocky, so why did I feel this way? Because as tough of an exterior I may have, like most people, I have a soft (cream-filled) center.
I didn’t want this to turn into a “thing,” nor did I want to go back and forth with the trolls. (It seems my friends were doing that for me.) What shocked me the most was that I actually had a mutual friend on Facebook with one of the men who commented. Another unsavory comment came from a girl in her early 20s who reminded me of my children’s babysitter. Who are these people who make nasty comments on social media posts? About back-to-school shopping, no less?!
In a society of Buddy Benches and “Kindness is the New Cool” ad campaigns for our kids, I believe we, as adults, are missing the message. We hide in plain sight on social media, making snarky and hateful comments to one another because some may view it as “harmless.” But it’s not. That person you are commenting on is someone’s child, wife, mom, friend — you pick. The internet is not anonymous. What ever happened to, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all”? I have also noticed less-than-kind comments on articles for online blogs. You can only imagine some of the hateful things people say when they are safely hidden behind a keyboard.
What’s my point? My point is this: The next time you see something on social media and feel compelled to comment on it, ask yourself, “Is it true, kind and necessary?” In my case, it wasn’t true. I did not always order a large meal at a drive-thru. Kind? Certainly it wasn’t kind. Necessary? Clearly not.
Will I stop putting myself out there because I was trolled on Facebook? Absolutely not. I will not allow a few Keyboard Cowboys to damage my confidence. I will, however, more closely watch my own commenting. After all, our kids watch more of what we do than what we say. And I want them to see their mama be both kind and confident, strong and sweet. And while I have thought of those trolls a few times since that day, I will never allow them to stop me from doing what I love, even if it is shopping for 50-cent crayons (tax-free) and telling the world about it.