Remember my summer of the trolls a few months ago? OK, so it was more than a few months ago, but on some level, it does feel like it was just yesterday! Because, as you might remember, it was quite an intense summer. Getting trolled and bullied on Twitter by a politician is no fun, but I did what I usually do in these types of situations: I wrote about it. And when said politician was banned from Twitter recently, I had the opportunity to write a follow-up piece in the form of my essay on CNN Opinion!!
Being a writer is such a whirlwind sometimes!! I pitched this piece on a Wednesday morning. It was accepted Wednesday afternoon. I wrote it Thursday. And it ran last Friday. It’s my second byline for CNN, and it was a lot of pressure. But it was the cool kind of pressure, you know? The kind that, even though you’re scared and your heart is racing, you know you can do it. In the end, I think the pressure only motivated me, which is something I’m most definitely not used to.
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, which is really getting me excited about writing more timely pieces — it sort of reminds me of my old college newspaper days when I’d met tight deadlines as a campus reporter…
I’m troubled most of all by what happens when we start taking our online selves out into the real world. As much as we’d like to deny it, our internet interactions are changing the fabric of who we are — and, sadly, this change is not for the better. We’re short with the cashier at Target. We have no patience with the traffic on the drive home. And worst of all, we openly and vocally shun those who are different from us.
Frankly, it all scares me because I see the effects this online culture of hate is having on me. Where I was once optimistic, I’m increasingly bitter. Where I used to think the best of people, I now have seriously low expectations. And I hate it.
The price of free speech seems to be going up every day — as people become emboldened behind the safety of their computers or devices. Free speech shouldn’t give us an all-access pass to say whatever we want without any sort of repercussions.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo