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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.


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,”

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.