Warding off Negativity in Social Media
Negative Comments in a Public Online Community
I am having super mixed feelings today, since I opened my inbox this morning to a new lead - always fun to read - but it was from… me? Someone had used my name and email address in a form to stay anonymous to tell me they think I should be worried about my wrinkles and furrowed brow. That while squinting in bright sunlight in a post from earlier that they decided that they would jump from seemingly watching an instagram story at 1am in their time zone, to jumping on their desktop (yes desktop or laptop) and writing these things.
The content of the note doesn’t bother me, esp. since I received around 5 personal messages from other people who were thankful I had shared something and taught them something new about exporting design files.
I have an expressive forehead. I do. I enjoy being expressive, showing emotions, being brave, mad, strong, joyful, sad and dammit squinting when its sunny. Does this bother me? Not so much. I’m almost 32, love the sun, love my life and the experiences that have brought me where I am today. There have been a lot of them. I probably cried more in the last month of business than I have ever before - and it was my most successful yet. These circumstances were mostly met by a huge mixed bag of things happening at once. A family crisis, a horrible sinus infection and the two back to back put me incredibly behind with work. I had assistants step up to the plate, friends sending nice get well messages and honestly I was just exhausted from working to get back to normal doing 2-3x as much work to catch up after getting sick and taking a few personal days for family.
What Bothers Me
What bothers me about the comment was the need for it, and the way it was sent anonymously. I honestly feel bad for that person who thinks that their life is now potentially better because they have told someone to worry about their wrinkles. What kind of positive impact do you think that it would have on someone’s life? Why would you make a comment like that so purposefully mean? I know you thought it was mean, or you wouldn’t have hidden yourself. If you knew me you would know that I have imperfections, pretty big ones, and I embrace them. What I am sad for is that in a small community of online designers and design enthusiasts that this person would be so hurtful to someone. To think that you most likely have hurt another person, who probably didn’t have to wear a scoliosis brace in middle school - whose self-esteem and self-worth might not be as strong and unwavering. It’s the negativity that surrounds the masking of identities to bully someone that is so sad.
Social Media Break
I decided to take a social media break for a very short period of time. Just for the week - just to clear my head. To that person who wrote the note. This wasn’t because of you, you might have been the tipping point in the decision, but long before you decided to send a bullying email, I had deleted Facebook from my phone and put a stop on posting for at least a month on there. Instagram is integral to my business. Even though as my aunt puts it “it’s the devil’s work”, I enjoy the connections and friends I make on there. I know through positivity and caring I have made friends in countries, places, with designers, mothers, friends, interesting people, cool bartenders, photographers, bloggers and more. We connect over positive thinking, positive feedback in our lives and positive outlooks. I share more than I ever have to online because I wished someone had shared more with me. I learn so much from others online, that I want to give back as much as I can, and this is how I can give back.
So my little break, isn’t about you. It’s about me. It’s about making sure that my headspace is positive, in a world where we have given power to anonymity and criticism for the sake of criticism. It’s about being an artist, and not being influenced too much from other sources.
So I put together a nice gallery of all my expressive photos. I love them.
(I added a nice note to each photo in the lightbox gallery. enjoy all of my wrinkle inducing emotions.)
I know when I tell my mother this later today, she is going to be hurt, but also she is going to say something along the lines of “Maybe you shouldn’t put yourself out there on social media so much.” - That is not the answer, that is giving that person credibility and giving them the right to say mean things just to say them. For every 1 person who sends in a bad testimonial, or a not happy product review, I know that there are fifty people who (probably read the description) and are thankful and grateful.
So should we worry or not post or wear makeup or change our bodies for the perception of the public? No, especially not for you - some random person in Michigan (yeah IP addresses people), you don’t matter, and neither does your opinion about me - in any way. So I furrow my brow to you and say, “like these wrinkles? they show my story, my strength, my caring for others.”