I've seen a trend over the last decade online towards more and more ruthless, disrespectful discussion and debate. At first it was funny and a nice release from the fake politeness of real life (the "outernet" I call it).
But this careless habit of openly insulting others and throwing out a barrage of nasty names and labels seems to be completely taking over, and it's concerning.
I'm not the PC Police.
In fact, I have a reputation of being one of the most ruthless, tyrannical trolls on earth in my niches over the last decade.
At first it was fun. And it was nice to vent.
I would hurl insults and draw a ton of attention--so much attention, in fact, that I sort of became a mini celebrity on the internet. People just couldn't stop talking and writing about me, and I got a ton of publicity from that.
Being a loud-mouthed blowhard works great to gather an audience. That's probably why, in large part, the 2017 Mayweather-McGregor fight was the highest grossing fight in history by a longshot. The two took relentless jabs at each others' looks, clothes, finances, fighting style, intelligence, and much more for months leading up to the fight.
It was really entertaining! I couldn't stop watching!
But just because a couple of fighters captured attention with their insults and threats doesn't mean that we should emulate this type of behavior online en masse.
I've been getting attacked lately online for all manner of things, getting a taste of my own medicine, and it's bitter as hell.
Aggressive debate online is stressful, and it distracts us mentally and emotionally from work, our relationships, our families, and many REAL things that matter to us.
I think after a couple decades of widespread internet use, it's clear that we have created a mass epidemic of trash talk, insults, and bullying.
And when I think about the future of the internet, and the future of our communication of ideas and opinions with other people, I desperately want to steer it back in the other direction.
And that's why I decided to start the Civil Pledge.
From this day forward, I am making a personal commitment to communicate with others online in a more civil manner, doing my best to refrain from insults, labeling, name-calling, and toying with the emotions of others to stir up controversy.
If an abrasive internet troll can do it, so can you!
If you too want a future with more civil debate and discussion and a return to decency online, I encourage you to do the following 3 things:
- Take the pledge below
- Publicly declare your commitment to civil behavior online by sharing this page to your social media accounts
- Post www.CivilPledge.com in comments on Facebook, YouTube, and elsewhere whenever you see someone behaving in an uncivil manner online--towards you or others
The Civil Pledge:
I, [type your name here], pledge to make an effort to refrain from insulting, name-calling, labeling, and bullying others during debate and discussion online.