If you've ever been online (which, clearly you have since you're reading this), you know that the Internet can be a shitty place. When people aren't face-to-face -- or better yet, when they can hide behind screen names -- they've got balls of steel. And the same rings true for social media. Yes, it's your face and your name behind your profile, but still -- people feel protected when they're in the cozy confines of their home. Calling someone a "bitch" is much easier when you know there's zero chance of getting punched in the face afterwards.
But here's the thing: People are losing friends over this behavior. Like, real friends. A new study has found that the more people use social media, the nastier they get online. And 2 in 5 people have actually ended friendships altogether over altercations that have taken place on Facebook.
While I tend to believe social media is actually doing more harm for society than good, I don't think it turns you into a completely different person. It may bring out things that typically lie dormant in you, but if you're a bitch, you're a bitch. And if you're a dick, you're a dick. Sorry to be crass, but it's the truth. Think of the nicest, sweetest person you know. Now can you imagine him or her getting involved in some sort of social media war? Didn't think so.
Remember the old adage "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it all"? Of course you do. Everyone does. Why don't we all try applying that to social media? No, it doesn't have to be all sunshine and roses and kissing people's asses 24:7 -- there is an intelligent way to disagree with someone and still remain friends. But to take below the belt pot shots at someone you're supposed to be friends with just because you're not in front of their face is a bad idea. Just don't "like" what they posted if you're not into it. In some ways, that can actually carry more weight.
You can be the coolest, funniest person on Facebook, but at the end of the day, if you piss enough people off, that's all you're gonna have. And that doesn't seem very fun, now does it?
Have you ever ended a real-life friendship over something that happened online?
Image via James Avery