Student Issues

Keyboard warriors: how one comment can be very hurtful

Studying to be a journalist, one would be expected to be quite thick skinned and possess the ability to take criticism.
Someone not agreeing with your opinion is a common occurrence, not just in journalism but every walk of life. You argue your point and get over it.
One thing a lot of girls struggle to get over is a hurtful comment about their weight or appearance. 
Keyboard warriors know the knife which cuts deepest and have a knack for delivering that knockout blow. 
A couple of years ago my best friend and I were bored and hungover and decided to start doing Love Hate impressions. There we were, sitting in our living room pretending to be Fran and Elmo and recording each other (everybody done it, right?)
Laughing to our hearts content while watching the videos, my friend took a leap of faith and uploaded them to Facebook. The reaction was one of humour and appreciation that we would post a video on Facebook which unveiled this was the kind of stuff we did in our free time. Some even suggested going into acting. 
A while ago I went onto YouTube and saw that the Frano impersonation had received over 2,000 views. Feeling embarrassingly proud of this “achievement”, I unfortunately then proceeded to scroll down and read a comment that had been left under the video.
“ Lokin well love, ya fat geebag.”
That is not a typo by the way, but how this lovely YouTube user spelt looking. At least their punctuation was on point though. 
My initial reaction was to laugh, because I immaturely always get a giggle out of the word geebag.
When the comment sunk in, my heart felt a bit heavy and had a far bigger impact than it should have.
This random user who clearly spends their spare time posting hurtful and spiteful comments under YouTube videos had got to me; why was I being so sensitive and irrational?
Like a bruised and battered boxer going back in the ring for more, I then skipped over to my Elmo video (only 1,030 views on that one, clearly the Love Hate audience prefer a bit of Frano). More hurtful comments awaited me there.
“Ya fat mess” said someone posting under the alias of Aido from Love Hate.
“You should be shot, that was a ******* scandal.”
The second one didn’t affect me as much as I didn’t feel the need to go purchase a bullet proof vest. 
Reading two comments in a row about my weight did however.
While I will admit the videos were not the most flattering, mainly as I was wearing an over sized hoodie and was trying to shape my face in such a way that I looked like Fran and Elmo (no offence to Laurence Kinlan or Peter Coonan, you’re gorgeous), it upset me that someone took the time out of their day to post such a comment.
I thought to myself, if Roz Purcell uploaded a video of herself doing the same thing, it would not have received the same reaction. But then it dawned on me, it probably would have. 
Even though she is a stunning, successful woman, internet trolls will still post hateful comments regardless of whom or what you are.
In fact, the more successful and well recognised a person is, the more likely they will have negative comments directed towards them. 
For example RTE’s Claire Byrne, a very admirable and well respected woman, deleted her Twitter account due to ongoing abusive tweets. 
Eventually I decided to (wo)man up and stopped mulling over the comments. 
Putting yourself out there on social media can make you vulnerable to internet trolls and that is just the way it unfortunately is. 
It hasn’t deterred me from posting videos on social media, but it has taught me not to take insulting comments by random people whom I have never met to heart. 
These people post hurtful remarks with the sole aim of getting a reaction and the worst thing to do is give it to them. 
Photo: DeclanTM/ Flickr