When used for good, the internet can change the world in a positive way. Unfortunately, not everyone is kind online. Even generally kind people can find themselves being dismissive, rude, snarky or mean with the cover of anonymity on the internet. Here are a few tips for staying kind online:
- Would you say this face to face? – Before typing a message or response to someone, think about how you would react if they were sitting right in front of you, instead of at their keyboard across the world wide web. Make sure you treat people with the same respect online as you would in person.
- Spread kindness, not hate – Try to retweet or repost nice and positive stories that are uplifting. Use the “like” and “love” buttons with reckless abandon. There is so much negative in the world it can be hard to scroll through your feed and see only the negative. Be the light in the dark and share stories of kindness with your followers.
- Don’t pile on – It can be tempting to add your two cents to the online chatter, but does it really help or move the conversation forward? Try to avoid contributing negative comments. Instead, post positive comments on things you like or that make you feel good.
- Swallow your pride – If someone points out that you’ve made a mistake, and you can see how your words may have been hurtful, just apologize! It’s ok, you might not have foreseen how your comments would make someone else feel. Let them know you’re sorry for hurting their feelings and that you’ll try to do better in the future.
- Be a force against cyber bullying – Actively fight against trolls and those that would make others feel bad for their own entertainment and pleasure. That doesn’t mean you have to engage directly with the bully, but you can add supportive messages to counteract the mean comments being posted. You can also point out that cyber bullying is taking place without entering an online duel with the bully themselves.
- Random acts of online kindness – We hear stories about random acts of kindness in the real world, but how about online? Take your random act of kindness to the next level and go digital. Post a meaningful message or give someone a compliment. Post positive reviews for great service instead of negative reviews for poor service. Send an e-card with a message of love, thanks or encouragement. Find a way to make someone’s day better through the internet.
These are just a few ways in which we can make the internet a kinder space. How are you kind on the internet? Share your ideas for a kinder online space!