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On Being Internet Nice

Yes, another Steel Magnolias photo. I AM SORRY. But it’s always been my secret dream to have a blog where Dolly Parton could be the mascot. She’s kind of my spirit animal.

Although I suspect she and Olympia are kind of judging me from over there. Or maybe I represent Olympia, and I’m judging someone else with Dolly. That would be rad.

Although! I should tell you: Babble once ranked me the #1 Most Likeable Twitter Mom. That was a weird moment. I mean, on the one hand, it’s hugely mega-flattering to be included on any sort of Top/Best/Most Anything list, much less to rank at the #1 spot, but…Most Likeable. Huh.

Likeable, like…nice? Does that mean I’m supposed to be nice all the time? Am I nice all the time? More Sally Field (“YOU LIKE ME YOU REALLY LIKE ME!”) and less Dolly (“I’d rather walk on my lips than criticize anybody, but…”) and even less Olympia (“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”) and OH MY GOD, IS SHE EVER GOING TO STOP REFERENCING STEEL MAGNOLIAS EVER? WE GET IT. YOU CAN RECITE THE WHOLE MOVIE. UN-LIKE!

You know what, though? I do try to be nice, dammit. Or I at least try to not be a dick, especially on the Internet, which seems to be pretty well-stocked with them — by the bagful, even — already.

Whenever I get tempted to maaaaaybe blog something not-particularly-nice about someone — anyone — I think back to this one time in high school when my friends and I were walking down the hall talking about…something, and I used the topic as a launching pad for a very cheap joke about one of our weirder, dorkier classmates. I got a laugh, sure — I was the FUNNY one, you know — but then the subject of my cruel little barb pushed through our pack and ran ahead of us, with her books clutched to her chest and her head down.

Oh.

That one little story has kept me out of a lot of trouble, out here in the wild Internet. While some bloggers and commenters do seem perfectly comfortable with setting the online world on fire just because they enjoy watching everyone run around with smoke coming out of their ears and wank and butthurt and yadda yadda…I still keep flashing back to that moment when my words came out of nowhere to hurt someone’s feelings and ruined their day. The Internet is big…but it still kinda works like a crowded high school hallway. You never know who is behind you, or behind them, or who is going to rush over to the chemistry lab all, “omg you’ll never believe what I just heard Amy say about you…”

Yeah, I was “just” joking and whatever and maybe the joke was based in truth because of stuff this girl said and did and maybe I was just saying what everybody else thought or said behind her back, and it was high school, buck up and welcome to life…but a perfectly nice girl cried in the bathroom just because I wanted to make some people (who were not even really my friends! they were such bitches!) laugh.

The worst part: Later that same day that same girl overheard me begging for spare notepaper in a class where the teacher was prone to freaking out at students who arrived “unprepared.” She handed me several sheets with a smile. We made eye contact and I was like a hobbit touching a seeing stone, forced to silently witness both her wounded feelings…and her determination to kill me with kindness. It worked.

I think if Babble had asked me to make a speech while accepting the “Most Likeable” badge for my blog, I’d probably have to credit it all to her: S, I’m sorry I was such a dick. Thanks for not being one back. And I promise you and the Academy and the Internet that I’ll keep my blog mockery solely centered on myself.

(With exceptions for certain celebrities and reality TV contestants. I mean, COME ON.)

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