We all have things we don’t like. And some of us, including myself, can be really vocal about the ways that media fail us or piss us off. Social media is a place to vent our feelings, especially if as is the case for many of us, we’re pretty isolated in our homes and communities. If you live in a rural area, or with people who don’t share your interests, then finding those online to commiserate with can be a soothing balm to a stung soul. And generally, I feel like that’s what hate posting at it’s dare I say, most wholesome, can be. You bitch about a choice made on your favorite media, someone says “I know, right” and you both feel better. But it’s often not used that way.
One of the reasons why the move to Mastodon was so good for my mental health is that for the most part, the chaos of political discourse that perpetuated my Twitter(X) feed isn’t there. Sure, I follow some people who feel the way I do politically and they are vocal about the wrongs that happen to people, and I’m right there with them, just as you are at the end of this run on sentence. *smile* We’re here together. As someone also active in disability justice and liberation movements and those which fall under that umbrella, there’s a lot of commiseration and understanding, as well as outright rage at the injustices of the world. I get that. I really do. (As anyone who follows me knows I vented quite a bit about a serious wrong done to me and my queer community in this semester’s psychology course. I’m trying to shut up about it. I really am. But it still hurts.)
You might be wondering what this has to do with “hate posting”. I think there’s a stark difference between looking for support and commiseration and even understanding, and posting something to stir the pot, as my grandmother would say. Whether it’s a hot take on a media franchise, a book you read, and author’s behavior, or even politics, I think it’s important to look at both impact and intent. What are you really saying? Who are you really speaking to?
I admit, since moving away from Twitter I’m seeing less of the hot takes and less snarky posts, and I rather like it. Engaging in discussions, finding dialogue and community, that’s what social media is about to me. And so I ask as we start another holiday season, what is hate posting really getting us and how is it helping to foster a sense of community and safety? Because if there’s one thing we really need right now it’s safety with a side helping of community.