On virtually every media platform, there is a steady drum beat against cyber-bullying. Of course, I agree that we should do everything we can to put a stop to bullying, but, today, I would like to talk about the other side of the coin that is the currency of internet social interactions.
Instead of focusing our time and energy on rooting out cyber bullies, we might do as much – or more – good by providing some antidote to their vitriol, their cowardly behavior, and their senseless cruelty.
(Because, as my frequent readers know, I can’t keep myself from making up words,) I have come up with an ideal – a hero in the battle for civility and kindness. Although it does not involve a leotard, cape, or the ability to fly, this force for good against evil, the power to improve someone’s mood by a gentle word is surely one of the super-est of super powers.
I give you Cyber-Mensch*.
Think about how you felt, the last time someone paid you an unexpected compliment, held a door for you, smiled and wished you “Good morning.” It gave you a little lift, right? Now, consider what that little lift might do for someone who has been on the receiving end of a whole lot of crappiness.
What if we take a moment, here and there, to write/post/tweet/say something kind, true, and generous to folks we know well or casual internet acquaintances or total strangers who cross our paths? We could do it in a flash, with no monthly payments, and no contracts.
No, I am not a doctor, but I can assure you, from experience that small doses of Nice, administered over an extended period and via numerous deliverers can do a lot to heal a battered heart. If you want to stop bullies, one way is to dilute their venom with kindness.
I often say, “Just be nice!” Now, I’d like to ask you to go a step further. Please DO nice. You’ll feel a little superhero-y – and you won’t have to do a single dangerous stunt.
* For those who aren’t familiar with the term mensch, Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish is a good reference.