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How to be nice on the internet. A primer.

I love the internet. I do. I have friends on the internet that I like better than some people I see on a regular basis in real life. I mean, the internet IS real life.

It reports the news, keeps us up to date socially, drives commerce. You can buy Winnie the Pooh slankets on the internet, or chia seeds in bulk. You can watch porn in the privacy of your own home. You can attend AA meetings and prayer groups.

But the internet is also a nasty, vile place. Like a dark back alley in Singapore, it’s rank, rude, and you might need a Hep C shot.

The phrase, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it” needs to be invoked more often. We need to remember that a keyboard isn’t a mask of anonymity. You need to say on the internet what you would say to someone in person.

I’ve noticed some very poor behavior. Whether it’s on Facebook comments or blog comments. And I’m sure the people are somewhat decent, they have just forgotten all human kindness when it comes to interacting with people on the web.

That’s right, people. We are all people. The people that write blogs, administer Facebook pages, write Tweets; we are human beings. Not cyber bots that just put this stuff out there for you. Oh, and we aren’t getting paid that much to do it either.

Join me in my classroom on how to be nice on the internet. It will be fun, I promise. And possibly, a little passive aggressive.

Examples:

Status on Facebook- “My husband forgot to use soap when he bathed our kids. Sorry if they look greasy.”

Nasty internet response- “Soap is evil, you’re a dumbfuck parent for even using the stuff. It’s horrible for the skin. What kind of monster are you? I feel sorry for your kids. :)”  (Yes, that’s a smiley face, passive aggressive emoticon. We’ve all seen them.)

Say this instead- “LOL! Soap is for hobos in a shelter. Or jocks in a locker room. Who needs soap?”

Facebook status- “I just want to let you know about this new book I contributed in. Hope you order it on Amazon.”

Nasty internet response- “I don’t like braggy statuses so I’m just going to unlike your page. Who needs to know about your book anyway?”

Better internet response- “I’m selling vacuums through this website. If you want a flat stomach order here, www.drozwantsyoutopoop.com”

My favorite kind of parenting argument- Facebook status- “I’ve finally sleep trained my 9 month old. What a blessing to get to sleep through the night and fully function during the day for my family.”

Nasty internet response – “Sleep training is the devil’s work. You need to be at your child’s side at all times. Even wolf cubs take better care of their babies than you do.”

What you should say- “I love trains. Breakfast trains, dinner trains, sleep trains. All trains are awesome.”

Do you see my point? When you want to say something mean, just say something nice but still on topic. This way, you can get your point across without ruffling any feathers. And don’t just use one smiley face emoticon. There’s so many others you can use; penguins, sharks, hearts. Be creative!

Actually, I admit, my suggested responses are ridiculous. But isn’t banging someone over the head with your opinions a little ridiculous too? Have you ever won an argument by calling the person stupid, or telling them they are what’s wrong with the world? Hmm.. I doubt it. If you like to start arguments on the internet, you’re what is called a troll. And trolls have excessive body hair and live under bridges and talk to goats. If this describes you, then I suppose you wouldn’t know better than to type horrible, spiteful words. You probably need a hug. And a cookie.

If you are trying to persuade someone, it’s best to not insult them. I have found this works beautifully.

So carry on. Off you go. Just be nice.

This concludes Mrs. Frugies classroom. Come next week when I share tips on how to trim your cats matted belly hair with the kitchen shears.

 

They allow wine at school concerts. Don’t they?

I endured my daughter’s middle school choir/band/orchestra Spring concert tonight. And let me say this- my utmost admiration and respect go to the teachers and students that put forth the effort for that performance. And also, the parents that I’m about to critique are probably none of the readers of this blog. So with that said- here goes:

My daughter goes to a pretty large middle school. About 1200 kids attend.  The music program for middle schools has taken a beating for budget cuts, so I’m thrilled these programs are available at all. But parents- What the fuck is wrong with you?? You can’t sit still and shut up for 90 minutes? You can’t have your littler ones sit still and watch their bigger brother or sister perform? And if not- can you get them outside?

I don’t know if my kids are an anomaly- but they sit still during church, movies, school and performances. Not every child is capable of this, I know. But seriously, I think sometimes the problem lies within the parents. They are AFRAID to tell their kids to sit still and zip it. Zip it I say!

Oh- this was the best- during my daughter’s choir performance, they are singing this sweet Japanese folk tune- of course the concert is in the cafeteria. There’s vending machines right next to the stage. There’s a kid from the audience that comes up and gets an ice cream bar out of the vending machine during the song!! A FUCKING ICE CREAM BAR DURING THE SONG!! The machine was so loud!! Even the kid realized his mistake. He covered his face with his hands and most every grown-up in the first two rows just looked in disbelief. Bravo to the choir kids on the risers who just kept on singing.

And can I just mention the halitosis that was in my vicinity? Did everyone eat cabbage before the show?? What gives?

The sweet 12 year old voices couldn’t distract me from the bodily smells and sounds going on in the seats near me.

What is with parents and cameras? Holy hell, it was like feeding time at the zoo. Whenever a group would arrange themselves in their seats with instruments ready, parents would come forward with their cameras and hover in the aisles. I mean, I suppose so, since you can’t really see anything from the back. But the competition of hands raised with their Flip videos and iPhones was  laughable. I mean, really? Even Emma noticed the parents around her where she was sitting in her holding area for the choir kids.  She said the mom with her video camera was so in the way of the other parents next to her, that if they were trying to get any footage, it was probably of that ladys’ arm in their frame!

And let’s not forget the chatter in the audience. The two ladies next to me wouldn’t SHUT UP!  You know it’s bad when the Band teacher has to get up to the microphone between sets and ask if everyone can be a good audience and please refrain from conversation and keep little ones still! Now THAT’s bad!

I think it all summed it up during the finale when the 7th grade band performed The Final Countdown. Yes. The song from the 80’s group, Europe. It brought me back to the summer of 1986. Yes, what is better than 13 year olds on trumpets and saxophones reviving an 80’s Hair Band classic? Well, plenty. But the best part- it was the finale!

And no, they don’t serve wine at middle school concerts. Sadly. But I do serve wine to myself- at home, and any mistakes on this blog post are attributed to the two glasses I just had.