The other day a friend introduced my wife and I to the “Mean Tweets” segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live. As humorous as it was to see some actors and musicians calling out people who have insulted them on Twitter, for the most part I was just amazed at the number of horrible, baseless things people write about celebrities, seemingly just because they can.
I’ve argued many times that we spend far too much time scrutinizing and gossiping about celebrities, when we should be paying more attention to social issues and world events (like the fact that the Egyptian Prime Minister resigned the other day). Despite that, it’s also important to remember that the celebrities that our society seems to care so much about are real people. Posting a comment online like “so-and-so is a douchebag” is not about bringing celebrities down a peg; it’s about ignorant, miserable people seeking to cause harm to someone who is more successful than they are, and doing so anonymously because they’re afraid of the repercussions. Doing so on Twitter is even worse because, in many cases, the comment is sent directly to the celebrity’s Twitter page; as Kimmel has pointed out several times, a lot of celebrities read all of these comments, including the insults.
I think the reason this is bothering me is because it still amazes me how much hatred and negative energy we fire at each other every day. What value is there in posting hurtful comments against someone that you’ve never met, regardless of who they are? Our words have power, and we need to choose them with more care and consideration.
Because of this, I’m going to start using my Twitter account for something more effective, since I hardly ever use except to promote this site. If I watch a performance that I find particularly excellent, or hear a new song that I think is phenomenal, or read a spectacular new book, I’m going to see if I can tweet some positive feedback to the writer, or musician, or actor involved. I don’t expect any response back – nor will I care if I receive it. That’s not what this is about. The goal is just to add some positivity to the Internet, in the hopes of balancing out the hate.
Words have power, fellow writers. I’m gonna use mine for just a little more good.