Missy Higgins: “The internet has made people so hostile and defensive”
Sky Ferreira and Missy Higgins may be on opposite sides of the globe, but they’re united in their hated of one thing: Trolls.
Within the space of a few hours, both artists had posted impassioned statements on Facebook. While Ferreira “took a stance against the “abusive shit””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/38648/Sky-Ferreira-is-tired-of-trolls-and-their-sexually-abusive-shit she endures on a daily basis, Higgins’ statement is far less specific, questioning why people feel the need to be so all-caps “aggressive” on social media.
“For some reason the online world has made people so hostile and defensive towards each other,” she wrote. “It seems we’re so quick to spit poison at each other when we’re both faceless and the other one can’t fight back. I really have trouble wrapping my head around it.”
Higgins went on to describe her personal Facebook and Twitter pages as her own “soap box”. She recently used said soap box to rant about the “abysmal” vegetarian options provided to her on Qantas flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne. “No butter, not even any margarine, and certainly no chutney, cheese or mustard, no siree,” she raged back in October. “Let’s put a puny wad of dry salad ingredients between two slices of bread and call it a meal, those hippies won’t know the difference!”
Read Missy’s post in full:
This whole internet blog/twitter/instagram “commenting” thing is so bizarre to me- how AGGRESSIVE strangers have allowed themselves to become to one another. Don’t you think? For some reason the online world has made people so hostile and defensive towards each other…it seems we’re so quick to spit poison at each other when we’re both faceless and the other one can’t fight back. I really have trouble wrapping my head around it. The people that write back to me on twitter (only the nasty ones of course, most are lovely) would NEVER say these things to my face, or at least would phrase their argument in a much more civilised, open-for-a-friendly-debate kind of manner, I’m sure of it.
So why is it that when someone writes something we don’t agree with online, we arch up about it SO powerfully and so defensively? And forget that the person we’re writing back to is a human sitting on their laptop too- that they are probably also in their pyjamas and are feeling a bit lost and a bit unsure of themselves and trying to navigate the best way to live, just like the rest of us? I wrack my brain. Maybe because the forum is so big and so seemingly endless, that in order to be involved and validated we instinctively feel we have to puff up like an angry puffer fish to protect and assert ourselves? Is it some primal fight-or-flight instinct at play here? Does it feel to us like that person has barged in to our living room with a soap box and started ranting at us loudly and aggressively? If this is so, I can’t help thinking: why not “un-follow” me then? Why not agree to disagree and move on?
The way I see it, my twitter or Facebook page is my very own soap box (or just, you know, a couch, if I’m just chatting) in my very own living room, and if people want to come and have a listen, they’re most welcome. I didn’t drag anyone into my living room, gaffer tape them to a chair and force them to keep eye contact with me while I tell them my opinions and cover them with a thin layer of saliva spray. So why do people react like that’s what I’m doing? The online world is so new to all of us, I guess we forget that. This anonymous way of communicating with an infinite amount of people is overwhelming and frightening sometimes. My only hope is that we’re yet to navigate how to remain human, in the online world.