It’s been done by celebrities, but any journalist who’s ever been published online knows cruel commentary from the masses isn’t reserved for the famous.
The Indianapolis Star newspaper wants to change the tenor of conversation, and recorded several of its journalists this week reading some of the comments users have left on their articles, columns and editorial cartoons. They’re using the mean things people say as a tool to encourage readers near and far to #ShareTheLove this year with a social media campaign to accompany the video.
Among their requests for visitors to #ShareTheLove?
Diffuse one unkind person today. Go to the comments on any story on IndyStar.com, or on social media — or anywhere online — and give someone a compliment. Tell them you love their hair in their profile photo. Or that you wish they have a wonderful day. Or, simply, tell them to #ShareTheLove. Celebrate the love while diffusing the hate.
To be honest, a lot of those comments were tame compared to what I’ve seen on their site and read about my own work. But they’re still mean. From “It’s going to cost the Star some subscribers AND Facebook followers” to “I know a really good stylist and photographer if you’re interested in upgrading your professional image,” it’s clear they were meant to be mean and succeeded. My favorite of the readers, who range from online editors to news columnists to the Publisher, was columnist Leslie Bailey — who previously wrote about the mean things people say — when she read the two-word comment that sort of sums up most of the comments on the Web: “You’re Dumb.”
If nothing else, I’m glad to see these professionals taking the “criticism” that’s anything but constructive or critical thinking in stride. Keep on keeping on, and oh yeah, share the love!