OP-ED // Let’s Stop with the Mean Tweets

I’m obsessed with Jimmy Kimmel’s segment called “Mean Tweets”. I get excited everytime a new one is released. It’s a hilarious and lighthearted way to shed light on something so painfully prominent: online bullying. But I don’t want to get into all of the ways people (females in particular) are bullied online. Instead, let’s focus on the action of tweeting something mean to celebrities and why you should really stop.

Sending an anonymous message to someone you don’t know on the Internet doesn’t make sense. For one, it’s a complete waste of your time. Do you not have something else to do? Putting negative thoughts out into the world doesn’t help anyone and in fact, I believe it hurts you the most. Social media has given us a unique ability to be able to contact people whose work we enjoy without leaving our couches. While this is a fantastic gift we’ve been given, it also brings out some of our worst qualities. I’ve never once thought of tweeting something mean at a stranger (or someone I actually know) and I think it’s a reflection of who I am in real life. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. But, many people don’t see celebrities as people, and that’s part of why “mean tweets” is a thing.

Celebrities are often not viewed as “real people”. I’ve heard people insult everything from their appearances to personal lives casually over lunch and each time it makes me as uncomfortable as insulting someone I met the week before. It’s true that some of this speculation comes with the territory of becoming famous, but it doesn’t mean we need to be cruel. Yet, because we send these message so easily and aren’t forced to see the consequences, it makes it easier. When you have to look someone in the eye and call them ugly, it’s much more difficult than never having to deal with the humanity of being cruel.

I once listened to a podcast with Josh Radnor (HIMYM) in which he said that he had stopped cursing. When asked why, he basically said he believes that everything we put out into the universe has an impact, even (and maybe especially) words. So whether you’re bullying someone at the office or sending out terrible tweets, you’re putting something negative into the universe. We already have so much negativity in this world, do you really want to contribute to it? Instead, consider every word that comes out of your mouth (and keyboard) before putting it out.

Everyone has feelings and while many celebrities are used to dealing with harsh and unjust criticisms from strangers, it doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Instead, try to find something positive to celebrate on social media. Share a blog post your friend wrote or complement someone on a piece of work they’re excited to have made. It’s a much more productive use of time and makes the people around you feel better. So while I love Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segment, I hope one day there is no longer more material for it.

In the meantime, laugh at these terrible things people say to strangers turning their negative thoughts into happiness:

Featured Image Credit: YouTube

Heather is a recent West Coast transplant and can't remember what humidity feels like. She spends most of her time (& money) watching movies, marathoning TV shows on DVD, attending concerts, reading, eating vegetables, attending conventions (San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, Dragon*Con so far!), blogging about her quarter-life crisis, downing coffee and traveling the world. She likes comic books, photography, reading on the Metro bus and wearing cold weather clothes despite the actual temperature in Southern California.

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