I’ve been struggling with the prevalence of negativity online almost since I first got online (yes, youngsters, I’m older than the web, and had to walk uphill both ways to get to Usenet). I’ve written about it many, many times. Basically, everything I’ve said on the subject to date can likely be summed up in just a few points:
It’s easier to be negative than positive. If I say something sucks, it’s much easier to defend that position than if I say something is good. This is of course, an extension of that ages-old sentiment that it is easier to destroy than to create.
There’s an undercurrent of superiority in negativity. If Person A liked something but Person B saw its flaws, Person B must be smarter than Person A. This is so true that now when people post positive comments about something, it’s often in a defensive way, using phrasing like “guilty pleasure” or “I know it’s not great but…” or such things.
The anonymity of the Internet encourages people to say things they would never say in real life.
Geeks, as much as I love them, seem particularly susceptible. Not just because we want to prove we’re smart (and discerning) but because we are smart. We do see the flaws, and ultimately everything is flawed. (This makes us very difficult to please.)
In the past, I’ve consciously and publicly tried to be more positive online. I used to write reviews, and eventually decided to only write good reviews (saying nothing about the things that I didn’t like). I first started using Twitter primarily as a place only to recommend things.
So now I’m doing something different. Throughout the month of August, I pledge to only say positive things on line. I’m calling this A+, as in, “A positive force,” or just “August positive.” I had the wonderful and talented Manda Collis design a small logo for A+, and I plan on using it as a badge. You can see it, above.
What does it mean to only be positive? Do I have to lie about things that are bad? No. It’s just like the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” I’ll be posting about things I’m working on, as well as games, books, movies, comics, and shows that I love.
And if you’re interested and willing, I invite you to take the A+ pledge too. Take the logo and post it. Cut and paste the code below onto your profile picture on Twitter, Facebook, G+, or elsewhere. Or, visit this link to get a PicBadge for Facebook and Twitter. Share this article. I’m not getting anything out of this, and of course I’m not going to police those who take the pledge or use the badge. I can only police myself. But think for a moment how many negative comments you read every day online. “Haters” who seem to naysay everything. Commenters who seem to have no qualms about tearing down anything anyone has to say. This is an opportunity to say, “I’m not one of them. It’s okay to like things, and lots of things out there are excellent and worthy of positive feedback.”
Here’s to a more positive Internet.