So yesterday I wrote about online ‘haters’ and today I want to write about a similar topic, equally thrilling: what determines which people get ‘hated’ online? Why do haters hate? In my opinion, there are four things that apply to almost everyone getting trolled online. Here they are.
Just a side note: I am just seeing a pattern, I am not saying people should do everything to avoid rude comments or ‘haters’ on the internet. I think you should just ignore all online interactions and focus on yourself. However, as a communication researcher and (almost) PhD I find any online activity hugely interesting and I have noticed that there are four things that (almost) always apply to someone getting hate online. These four things.
1. Telling people what to do
This mostly applies to health/food/fitness bloggers but it can be anyone. People get annoyed when other people tell them what to do, especially if it’s something they don’t want to do. Examples: stop eating meat, cut out dairy, work out more, stop doing cardio, do more cardio, drink lemon water…. The list goes on and on. There are many bloggers and online influencers who like to share their thoughts on how other people should live their lives and this ticks many people off. People who love meat don’t want to be told they have to stop eating meat, just like people who love sugar want to keep consuming it. Sharing your experiences is fine, but people don’t like to be told what to do and when they do, they can get angry. And post about it.
As the online world grows, so do the so-called ‘experts’. There has been a huge increase in food and health experts in the past years, I can’t even keep count. I follow a few plant-based nutritionists and doctors on social media and I love to hear what they have to say – but I don’t like to read blogposts by people who have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. And even if they do – they don’t come across as very credible. They read one book or a few abstracts of scientific publications, or just post some links on their blog without reading the articles at all and call their posts ‘scientifically proven’. And it’s not just health-related stuff. People are suddenly experts in all sorts of things. It’s annoying; it annoys me and it annoys many other people. I don’t know why so many people suddenly feel the need to give out so-called ‘advice’ about things they feel they know so much about. Leave that to the real experts, who are often much less obtrusive.
It’s not all the ‘sender’s’ fault. Often people get hated online for no real reason; people are simply jealous. I can easily spot Instagram photos that I know are going to get hate – because they’re stunning. And perhaps people weren’t expecting that from this particular person. Another recipe for jealousy: a blogger who is suddenly becoming hugely successful and appearing on TV shows and on magazine covers looking better than ever. The online world is almost perfect; beautifully edited and Photoshopped, which makes your own, real life seem dull and imperfect. This can make you feel a little negative and a little jealous of the stunning images on your screen. I am 100% sure this is where the ‘hate’ begins: with people’s own insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. And FOMO of course. Anyway, jealousy is definitely one of the reasons why haters hate.
I’ve written about this before: the online world is not real and the more time we spend online the easier it is to spot this fakery. We are becoming more and more skilled at spotting heavily edited or Photoshopped images – and so are online news media. Vicky Pattison, for example, has been called out numerous times for editing her Instagram photos. I would personally also like to see more ‘real’ photos online. I don’t mind a filter, or smoother skin, but some people just don’t look like themselves anymore on social media. That creates unrealistic standards of how (especially) women are supposed to look. Anyway: fakery is not appreciated online and it can really backfire. Just be real and show people who you really are.
I am not saying that if you are not telling people what to do, not pretending to be an expert, not someone to be jealous of and 100% real you won’t get any hate. But I’ve noticed that in most cases, it’s related to one of these 4 things. I am also annoyed by heavily edited Instagram photos and (especially) people pretending to be doctors or nutritionists online. Stick to what you know and be yourself is my advice. And I can (almost) call myself an expert!