YouTube Observation Notes #2
Random Haters/Trolls on the Interwebz
So, I didn't want to make a full post about this but I couldn't help myself. I finally got my first hater/troll comment. I say "finally" because I've honestly been waiting since I started in April for this to happen. Short story short (lol), when I uploaded my "Best Friend Tag" video today I got a comment from an account with a male name, but no profile picture (most likely a dummy/spam/troll account) saying, "two uglies who dont show dem feet"[sic]. Um...ok? So a guy on the internet is calling me ugly. And I think fat? (I had to ask about the feet reference) Whatever. Like, that has to be the most generic internet insult ever. Do I get a badge? Do I get to level up now? That's definitely a square on "lame shit guys say on the internet" bingo. *note to self: make up an actual bingo card for this, it could be fun*
Anyway, I deleted it in like 33 seconds, so I'm pretty sure no one else saw it. And that gets at my main issue. I'm 35 years old. I have colleagues who studied online culture. I follow feminists on Twitter. I know what guys on the internet are capable of throwing at women. If I was surprised by this comment it was only by the generic "13 year old boy" quality of it. And that might even be an insult to 13 year old boys. Maybe it was a bot? Like, a computer generated troll insult? Does that exist? It was just so weird. But yeah, I know the kind of abuse women can get online. And women in the beauty community on YouTube are no exceptions. I've seen some pathetic comments on other channels. So I knew it was going to get to my channel eventually. And while I can deal with it I know I have a lot of pretty young subscribers (15/16 years old) and I wouldn't want them to see a comment like that, or feel like they should respond to it.
I'm noticing so many things as I'm crafting my channel identity and the community I'm trying to build within my channel. I want it to be a safe space for people to feel like they can comment what they feel. I can handle being called ugly, fat, whatever. Because that's what insecure people do. They go on the internet and insult other people. I understand that and can move past it. But it's a weird feeling when you feel like you've created a positive space and everyone seems happy with new subscribers joining every week and then some jerk comes popping in and dumps a load of crap in your comment section. It's kind of like when you find your rude neighbor has let their dog crap in your yard and doesn't pick it up. When someone purposely violates basic rules of decency in a community space.
So, I deleted the comment and thankfully within a few minutes some genuine and positive comments came in from some of my wonderful subscribers. It's done and I'm trying to just put it out of my mind. Writing a blog post about it helps lol. Though let me be clear, this isn't about this guy or his comment. It's also not about me being upset (honestly I was laughing, it was just so bizarre!). That I'm thinking about it enough to write a post about it is not personal at all, it's entirely academic. It just got me thinking about why people do this? I have no answer. Some people will say, "it's the internet, what do you expect?" I expect to be treated the way I would in person. I expect people to act decently. And I'm not going to change those expectations. I'll just keep deleting shit comments until people on the internet stop treating the internet like some mythical fantasyland where words don't have consequences.
And I damn well am not going to be shamed or bullied off YouTube. And while I'm cool with internet linguistic practices, this guy needs a lesson in rhetorical effectiveness, because I'm still not completely clear on what he was trying to say.