Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thoughtful Thursdays: Internet Trolls and Fairies...

Today I begin a new blog series for Thursdays called Thoughtful Thursdays. This series will be a space for me to jot down whatever thoughts that I have been thinking about and want to express each week. It will also be a space where I often ask questions at the end to encourage dialogue and would like to hear your thoughts.

Fairy7

Lately all of the negativity and ugliness that we have been seeing online and in the world has been really heavy on my heart. While it is important to continue discussing serious matters and to address the hate in society, it can also feel so very overwhelming.

This week I started to think about how I could be more intentional about being encouraging and a positive contributor in the online sphere. I was struck by a thought yesterday; what if I was as driven and intentional to encourage others in the online sphere as internet trolls are to tear down and hurt others? Then, I began to wonder what the opposite of an internet troll would be. I decided upon the concept of an internet fairy.

A quick Google search of the term "internet fairy" gave mixed results. To some it means the magical powers that define when and if your internet will work. To others it means a mischievous but relatively harmless and much nicer version of an internet troll. (Think along the lines of someone inundating a blogger's comment section with cat memes.) Yet, there is another version that fits what I envision. It is the complete opposite of an internet troll. It is the bright and intentional presence on the internet. It means intentionally and passionately encouraging others. That is the sort of internet fairy I want to be.

After thinking about it, I have decided to be more intentional in the ways that I interact online. I have decided to define this change by saying that I am an aspiring internet fairy. Today I want to define what that means to me.

What I mean by aspiring to be an internet fairy:

1. As an aspiring internet fairy I will intentionally choose to encourage others online. (This means that when I see a post or content that someone has created that I think is great, instead of merely thinking, "That was a great article!" I will take the time to leave a positive response.)

2. I will set aside a little time each week to sprinkle fairy dust across the internet. In less whimsical terms, this means that I will actually set aside time that is simply for encouraging others on the internet.

3. When there are serious topics or conversations that I get involved in online, I will do my best to conduct myself in a way that is respectful and not intentionally ugly or hurtful.

Now, in case anyone is worried about my sanity, I am not saying that I believe I am actually a fairy. I am using this concept of an internet fairy because I have always loved the use of story and metaphor to help convey a topic. For me, the concept of being an internet fairy helps take a more abstract concept of how I want to conduct myself online and transforms it into something that is much simpler to express.

So, today I begin aspiring to be an internet fairy and being more intentional in the way I interact online.

What do you think of the internet fairy concept? What if there were lots of people who were as passionate about being positive internet fairies as trolls are about being trolls? How might this change the internet space?

Simply,
Sarah  

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