We all know hate and negativity on the Internet have reached epic proportions, but it seems to be particularly ugly on Twitter, where people aren't just commenting on an article or blog, but sending their hate directly to an individual. Celebrities are often the targets for such tweet-hate, but anyone can get it. One Direction's Zayn Malik quit Twitter over its tweet hate, but then was coaxed back into returning. "Angelina Jolie" (was it her?!) tweeted about it, saying, "The things people say under alias names are so sad. So much filth and anger ... " And LeAnn Rimes checked herself into a treatment center after suffering brutal bullying on Twitter by a mom and her daughter.
All of this is bad enough, but Twitter bullying just claimed one more victim. Charlotte Dawson, who is famous in Australia for being a judge on Australia's Next Top Model, ended up hospitalized because she felt suicidal after incessant threats on Twitter. She spoke up about it, saying:
I've never had death threats of this ferocity. I've never had a campaign of this ferocity. It just triggered that feeling of helplessness when the trolls got to me. They got the better of me and they won.
Charlotte is also an anti-bullying campaigner, and this seems to be part of what drew bullies to mocking her and urging her to kill herself.
@MsCharlotteD on behalf of the world would you please go and hang yourself.
@MsCharlotteD Should hang herself. Bitched already caused enough trouble and doesn't deserve that much fame #cocksuckingbitches
Charming, eh? Now, I agree that if you can't shrug off tweet hate, you probably shouldn't be on Twitter. The problem is that many people are on the site for professional reasons -- it's become a tool that, if you're in the media, you can't ignore. Plus, many people do genuinely want to connect with their fans, readers, watchers, consumers, etc. The ones who aren't crazy anyway.
But with Twitter, when you check who has tweeted you, you see ALL the tweets, not just the pleasant ones. Yes, you can block people, but they can pop back up under another name. I've gone days without checking Twitter sometimes, even though I know I might be ignoring friends or appreciative readers, because I don't want to read what else might be there too.
It's imperative that the folks over at Twitter figure out how to mitigate the flow of putrid bullying. Perhaps hiring monitors who delete all threatening comments. Or there should be a way to instantly flag anyone who makes a terrible comment and then banning that person via their IP address, not just their Twitter handle. Many websites moderate comments, ban people, and use flagging systems -- Twitter's system of reporting is a big #FAIL.
It's tragic that there are so many miserable and angry people out there. Life is short and you never know which day might be your last. Do you really want the last thing you do in this life to be sending out a message of hate? Is this really what you want to do with your one precious life?
Have you ever been the victim of online bullying?
Images via Twitter