Hatred hurts. Where did the social [media] go?

Edited to add: As I got a few few comments and questions I wanted to clear up any potential confusion [sorry for that!]. Neither have I personally been target of any online bullying nor is my post exclusively directed at any specific websites or forums though I do see a lot [like the threats mentioned below] of it happening on Instagram.

Warning ahead: Certain happenings go me thinking again and there are lots of words ahead. Yet it’s an important issue I feel all of us have an opinion on or experiences with.

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Faith in humanity. It’s constantly shaken aback by incidents that make you doubt its existence all over the world. However, it’s not merely through actual terrorism.  happening daily. Right around is in what is actually called $$ social $$ media but makes you wonder if some people leave their kindness at the login buttom or commenting form.

A few snarky comments aside I haven’t been victim of this very anti-social part of social media yet. But I’ve heard of and seen the reality of what is happening …

Gossiping and rumors.

Accusations.

Death threats towards people

The problem that can also be a blessing is: words are not just words. They’re powerful. Just like the unexpected surprise of a kind reader’s mail saying the enjoyed your recent post can brighten a bad day an accusing mail or overload of critical comments can turn said day even worse.

Think before you speak – the old rule applies still in the new age of social media. Or it should. Even if we disagree with others – and yes, I do occasionally, too – there are other options than hate. In fact, why not see it as a challenge and training for real life situations that enrage you: can you voice your criticism in a way that allows the other person a reaction other than tears and feeling hurt? A way that opens up a respectful discussion?

Truth is: yes, as bloggers we are opening ourselves up to criticism. But not all voluntarily. There’s no ‘social media light’ option: all the fun and community without the hate. If there was everybody would opt for that, thankyouverymuch. And: there’s [constructive]criticism and then there’s [hurtful]criticism. It’s okay if you can’t understand somebody’s choice and ask for their reasoning. But it’s definitely not okay to threaten to kill somebody’s dog [as seen on Instagram,yes] or the person herself [as read on a popular blogger’s media outlet]. Gossiping wasn’t cool in school and it’s definitely not on the much larger scale as the whole internet as your school yard. Or neighborhood.

Garden

In a food-centered social media world it’s not too surprising which topics leads to heated debates most often: diets. I’ll paint a slightly exaggerated picture for illustration of examples I actually witnessed:

If you choose to eat vegan/paleo/HCLF and talk about the amazing benefits nonstop you’re a superstar and have many devotees.

If, however, you do the above and suddenly notice you’re actually not feeling supreme anymore, hence decide to introduce a few non-diet-conform foods or – heaven beware – give up said diet for good: beware of the haters.

Once again: I talk about dietary-induced conflicts but the issue I’m talking about happens on a much larger scale involving criticism of people as a whole. Whatever you do and or/talk about – especially if you have a large following – you have to expect harsh criticism and bad rumors every minute.

What also makes me sad is knowing there are places/websites with the sole purpose of fuelling hatred and hurtful gossip. With the most popular one being the Lord Voldemort of the blog world I will not write out its name but I’m sure most of you know which forums I’m talking about. I’ll admit I’ve been reading up a bit every now and then there – curiosity always wins, right? – and became more and more disgusted. Like I said: criticism is one thing. But what these people feel they knew about others or try to find out borders on stalking. It is not normal to discuss somebody’s eating behaviours and doubt the truth of what they say or show. Not normal to make assumptions about a blogger’s family or the state of their relationships from a single picture of a few lines in a post. Not normal to discuss possble eating disorders or other illnesses of bloggers you don’t even know personally. Not normal to tear apart every post or comment somebody makes, dissecting it for some ugly truths worthy snarking about.

Everybody is entitled their own opinion? Absolutely, yes. But note the difference: everybody is entitled their own opinion not entitled unreasonable and endless hatred towards people of different opinion or living lifestyles you don’t approve of. But tnat is the reality of social media these days.

Candles

We’re all nosey, I get and admit it. But there’s a line to be crossed and it has been in many cases. Did you watch Mean Girls? It’s like that on steroids. Times ten.

If I was granted one wish for Christmas it would be for more kindness in the world. Or at least the world of social media. Especially as we know there’s a huge wonderful part of it, too. Let’s show the haters and the internet skepticals that love and respect still exist these days. We’re not that awful of a society and generation, are we?

 

Happiness-inducing today: Coincidentially receiving a letter from a fellow blogger. Call me old-fashined but real letters > e-mails any day.

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Hatred, hurtful gossiping and even death threats: how do you experience this on social media? Share any thoughts you have on the topic.

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Good good links #120

There’s something special about Saturdays in fall/winter, no? Friday can still be a little hectic but Saturdays are the one really restful, no-stress [at least usually] day of the week. Because you know that even if you don’t get your weekend to-do done there’s still Sunday [to run around like a headless chicken and freak out about said to-do list being too long]. And with that random note I’m moving on to what you’re actually interested in: links! Lots and lots of good ones so go and read up!

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

When silence is best via Lindsay’s List

An honest post that I think will resonate with many of us with social media all around and always being ON.

When Willpower is Violence Against the Body via In My Skinny Genes

Why the highly praised characteristic might not be all that admirable and healthy.

 

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Pay it forward via Danielle Dowling

Doing others a favour is the easiest and best way to bring happiness to your own life, too.

How To Talk About Yourself Without Apologizing For It via HuffPost Healty Living

Don’t consider yourself a burden to others and stop saying this one word all the time.

20 Things I Wish I Knew At Age 20 via Cupcakes and Cashemere

Some very helpful advice and reassurance for twenty-somethings [or anybody, really].

Stop Overthinking and Eat The Frog via love life surf

An interesting outlook on how to overcome the obstacle of starting a task you dread.

Dealing with Forced Rest Without Going Crazy via Suzlyfe

Great reminders and advice for anybody who’s struggled/is struggling with an injury that requires a longer break from working out.

Why You’ll Never Find Me Eating 45 Calorie Bread Again Healthyez Sweet

Not only is the real deal more nutritious but relying on low-cal versions hinders your recovery.

 

Health

4 Things Millennials Get Wrong About Food (According To A Nutritionist) via Mind Body Green

Especially #1 is spot on and something  to be more careful about.

 

Blogging

How to Stay Focused on Your Blog via Britton Loves

For when you’re feeling a litte stuck on writing posts or the general direction of your blog.

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile + DIYs]

50 DIY Bath & Body Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love via The Refreshanista

Very timely for me as I plan on gifting several homemade beauty items this year.

 

Good good [food]

5 Ingredient Stracciatella Peppermint Parfait via The Clean Dish

You might not know but parfait is one of my favourite homemade desserts and this looks simply and amazing.

Healthy Ferrero Rocher Truffles via Food, Pleasure and Health

Not usually a fan of dried fruit + nut bites, the Manner wafer coating seals the deal for me here.

19 Awesome Christmasy Treats To Leave Out For Santa Instead Of Cookies via BuzzFeed

If I was Santa I’d treat you extra generously if you left me one of these rather than boring cookies.

Pumpkin Po’e via Aloha Flavour

A very different (Polynesian-inspired) kind of dessert for all pumpkin pie fans.

Sharp White Mac and Cheese Bake via Veggies don’t bite

Don’t click this link if even remotely hungry! A vegan’s cheese dream come true – or really anybody’s.

Winter Steel Cut Oat Kale Sweet Potato Salad via My little tablespoon

This girl knows how to create salads even I – the self-proclaimed non-salad fiend – would enjoy. Plus, a great reminder that steel cut oats aren’t for breakfast only.

The Best Baked Kale via The Iron You

Breadcrumbs, cheese – winner, winner, kale for dinner.

 

Happiness-inducing today: A surprisingly great conversation with a friend’s dad that I randomly met at the supermarket.

 

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Fear [not]! The marketing trick to be aware of.

Anoter Thursday is upon us and it’s time for …

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

Sex sells – we all know it [and probably are opposed to the sexism part of it but this is a discussion for another day]. You know what else sells?

Fear.

It’s a powerful emotion because nobody wants to be feel it and will do anything to avoid it. No surprise – but all the more enraging – that clever marketing makes use of this. My latest reminder came in the form of a popular media figure’s newsletter I signed up for eons ago and – don’t tell me you can’t relate – was too lazy to unsubscribe from. Anyway, aforementioned mail dove into memories of past holidays, nostalgia of indulging in the many seasonal treats available in stores. Only to abruptly go into the horrors hiding in these. All the nasty ingredients threatening to poison you.

But fear not: the wonderful sender of this mail obviously has a ton of recipes – actually a book, too, how neat! – to offer that will sub in for any of the bad, no, horrific treats you’re craving. As long as a) you can pretend a sugar-free whole grain cookie tastes as good as your favourite seasonal candy cane Oreos or chocolates and b) keep carrying a boatload of them around with you to any holiday party you’re attending.

Lindt_Easter_chocolate

If it was only about food: annoying enough. But it doesn’t end there. According to the source above you’re also putting yourself under an immense risk of disease every time you – take a shower. No typo. Shocking, isn’t it? So, tell me: of exactly how many people have you heard dying from toxins caught in the shower?

This is what irks me the most: the lacking proof to back up any of those claims. We all know that eating too much sugar isn’t healthy. We all know pesticides and GMOs aren’t our friends.If you believed every new study or article published there would be one thing left to consume. Or maybe not if we believe above shower horror story … I believe common sense gets us far enough. Even those just starting out on their journey to making healthier choices don’t need to be scared into doing so. Sugar won’t kill you and neither will meat. There’s no need for extremes but all the more need for consumers critically questioning sensational and shocking headlines and marketing claims.

Balance. Moderation. These are the keywords you need. No black and white thinking.

If you can still grab a bag of chips or bar of your favourite chocolate without at least a twinge of guilt after reading the many posts of healthy advice out there: congrats! You just proved that you’re not falling prey to the marketers that want you to shiver thinking about your next shower or attend a spontaneous get-together with friends.

Erdnusslocken_flips_peanut

It makes me ragey to see how big influencers abuse their power to scare people. Fear-force them into buying their products. Show me the long-term studies you found your statements on – but don’t try to lure people into buying your latest cleanse, books, vitamin waters or toxine-free pillows through fear or shame. There are enough real issues to worry about in the world so using fear as a marketing tactic is downright repulsive. What will eventually come about it – other than the cash piling up on the bank accounts of the holier-than-thou health ‘experts’ – is chronic misinformation, hypochondrias and confusion. Once you’re convinced all of these fear-mongering claims are true living a normal carefree life becomes a lot harder.

Say no to the fear-mongering. Eat your favourite childhood treats and your broccoli. Be a badass rebel and take all the showers you want. Because life is too short to worry about every step you take.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Other than some days, there was just too much to list here. One of the cutest was a child at my current ‘job’ cheering me on during a game of  Mensch ärgere dich nicht [similar to Ludo]. I almost won, too ;).

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Have you noticed this issue before? What are you thoughts on it? Any other marketing tricks that bother you? Shame is another one that makes me sad to see all around,

Good good links #119

… and another week in the books. Happy Sinterklaas/Nikolaus [if you’re German/celebrating it] or just happy Sunday!

The weekend has been going along at a slow and uneventful pace and I have more cookie baking scheduled for today. So why not spare you any ramblings and get to the links right away for once ;)? No matter the season there’s always plenty to read and share so if you find yourself with a few minutes to spare: enjoy!

 

 

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

It’s Not (Necessarily) A Mental Health Issue via The Everywhereist

There’s no way I could possibly sum up this very personal and insightful post so I wholeheartedly recommend you go and read it yourself.

When saying YES is selfish via Carla Birnberg

When an honest no is more genuine and polite than commiting out of obligation.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

10 Ways to Live Life with No Regrets via Huffington Post

It’s hard to say which ones of these I like best because they all are great but especially #1, 7 and 10.

Advice for my 20-year-old self via Fit Foodie Finds

These posts by others are always a good reminder of certain life lessons and truths.

My 10 Favourite Podcasts via real mom nutrition

For bloggers and foodies alike this list offers some fresh inspiration for your walking/driving playlist.[if you’re like me and enistening to podcasts while walking].

You may look more productive skipping lunch, or eating at your desk. But you aren’t. via The Washington Post

Take that time off your desk, why you need every macro and frequent breaks actually make you more productive.

 Relax, it’s just lower quality food via The Domestikated Life

Stressing out over eating less nutritious ever now and then might be unhealthier for you than just rolling with it.

Dear Fear Foods via My little tablespoon

Possibly the most poetical post on this topic written to date and holding a lot of truth.

 

 

Blogging

Ten Super Simple Food Photography Tips For Beginners  via Clean Eats, Fast Feets

If  words like ISO, aperture and shutter speed confuse you like no others but you still want to take great pictures: look no further.

How To GSD When You’re A Blogger With No Time via The Blogger Project

If you’re a blogger struggling to get a million things done at once: this is for you.

10 Questions To Determine Your Blog’s Success – Despite What The Numbers Say via Beyond Your Blog

Because number-crunching isn’t what blogging should be about and doesn’t make you happy in the long term.

 

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile + DIYs

DIY Homemade Honey Lavender Lip Balm via Kath Eats

If you’re anything like me you own a million chapsticks and could easily use even more. Homemade? I’m in.

22 Simple and Easy Handmade Gift Ideas via back to her roots

I’m all about the homemade gifts this year and might use some of the inspiration here.

25 Reasons ‘Gilmore Girls’ is Still Relevant via Her Campus

Not that it had ever been irrelevant but we can learn so much from Lorelai and Rory ;).

 

Good good [food]

Toasted Banana Caramel Sauce via Veggie-inspired Journey

If this isn’t the most amazing use of overripe bananas I don’t know what would be.

Ooey-Gooey Dark Chocolate Espresso Date Oat Bars via Ambitious Kitchen

She had me at ooey-gooey already … There’s so much goodness in these little bars.

Vegan Peanut Butter “Kiss” Cookies via Healthy. Happy. Life

When you combine peanut butter and chocolate in a cookie you know you’re getting a winner.

Homemade Vegetarian Chili via Cookie and Kate

Chili is always in season and this one has a little secret to taste like it had been simmering for hours while it only takes 30 minutes.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Green Lentil Curry via eat healthy, eat happy

Just the loook of this is enough to know you’re in for some seriously satisfying and nutritious food.

25 Best One Pot Meals (vegan) via Ceara’s Kitchen

I’m a huge fan of less clean-up – who isn’t?! –  and these delicious-looking dishes fit the bill perfectly.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finally finishing a mail I’d been meaning to write forever. Getting things done makes me happy.

 

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Friday Favourites – 12/4/2015

Less than three weeks until Christmas? Ready, set: panic! In all honesty, I don’t feel ready yet. Gifts bought or made so far? ½ of one [PJ pants I’m sewing for my brother … ssh]. Because it’s a well know secret procrastination helps distract from the panic arising that’s what I’ll do today in sharing another round of favourites with you. I’m linking up with Heather and Katie to ring in the weekend on a good note.

Music

Starting with a favourite-in-the-make and jam for the ears Coldplay’s new song.

Though I heard it for the first time this week I already have an inkling I might enjoy Coldplay’s new album – out today! – a little more than they last one. At least if Adventure of a Lifetime is any indicator for that. What I’m not so stoked about is the fact this might be their last album. Can we please collectively wish for this not happening?

Work

While still no full-time employment I got the opportunity to start helping out as a DAF teacher [DAF = German as a Second Language] twice a week. It’s been so much fun as the children in the group I’m teaching with two other women are really motivated and eager to learn. Having taught many students so far this makes such a huge difference and I might get paid a little but would honestly do it even if I wasn’t. Being able to help others in any which way is a rewarding feeling worth more than money.

Food

Christmas baking has officially started …

Cookie baking

… and I’m not seeing an end yet. Starting with the classics, my mum and I baked Vanillekipferl [vanilla crescents] yesterday. Or should I say: I prepared the dough, did the clean up and my mum helped me shape what felt like at least six dozen of cookies. And she kept me motivated kneading that dough for-ev-er. Consider my arm workout of the day done.

For some reason, my camera ate the pictures of the finished cookies so you’ll get to see these in another post. Yet the process alone was promising only good for the outcome …

Baking_chocolate

Another favourite? This soap. It’s a limited winter edition so let’s just call it Christmas soap to fit in with the central topic of this post. It scents like a creamy vanilla caramel shake with a hint of marzipan and I like it [obviously. Which says a lot as I’m really picky about scents. Most are too sweet, cloying or heavy for me. Plus, it’s liquid soap and that’s the only kind I like. Anybody else? Hard soap doesn’t appeal to me – especially if you’re sharing it with others but that might just be one of my odd pet peeves.

soap

 That’s it for me today. I’ll see you on Sunday with some good good links and hope you’re having a fabulous Friday!
Happiness-inducing today: Engaging conversations that got me thinking. A little abstract of a description but it’s hard to summarize in few words.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What is your opinion on Coldplay’s new song?

Liquid or hard soap? Which scents do you like?

Have you started Christmas baking yet? Tell me about your favourite cookies!

Why #goals might not be what they seem like

There’s one trend on everybody’s favourite platform for people stalking connecting with like-minded people that makes me cringe. Yes, we’re talking Instagram – endless source of post inspiration for me – and: #goals. In case you’re one of those who haven’t handed their lives over to an app 😉 [it’s too addictive]: #goals is a hashtag used to express admiration for physical attributes, material possessions or any part of another person’s life. Often found as #relationshipgoals [current uses: 1, 626,508 times], #bodygoals or even #lifegoals. It’s a phenomenon that gets me thinking about its influence on our self-worth as well as false asumptions made online.

Let’s pick one of the most popular and the first I stumbled upon months ago [or at least the first I noticed and intially inspired this post]: #relationshipgoals. Sure, the couples in those pictures looks perfect. Usually either dressed in designer clothes or hippie chic but always hugging, kissing, touching and seemingly forgetting the world around them. Only, you know, aware a picture is taken to be shared with countless viewers all over the world. That much for intimacy …

Just remember this before hashtagging #goals or getting lost in jealousy for others’ presumed perfect life: they’re showing their highlight reel. And not only that but a fraction of a second of their highlight reel. The seemingly perfect couple could have gotten into a fight later that day. The very next second that puppy looking all cute and innocent could have run off to do some damage like leaving a little unwanted ‘gift’ somewhere. If Instagram had existed at the time Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were dating they’d have likely been many people’s #relationshipgoals. Yet: later on separated in a messy break-up.

The #goals you’re admiring might not actually exist. The people embodying your goals might not have the lives they portray on social media. Even when somebody posts a million pictures of their day to day life: still not the full picture of their reality. Because there are 86.400 seconds in a day  and every picture captures only a single one of those. What happened right before or after the picture was taken? We don’t know.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. It’s only when tagging #goals makes you feel like the ugly duckling next to the Instagram swan. When it Strive for what is achievable in your own life and also notice how much you already have achieved. Grades in school, being a friend others value having in their life, : these aren’t goals as per Instagram’s statistic but these aren’t admirable goals as per Instagram’s statistic but achievements valued by real people in real life.

I’m 99 % positive the people who are many others’ #goals have struggles of their own. Have days of feeling blue. They might not feel they’d reached their personal goals yet. As Katherine recently stated so truly even having it all – whatever that might  in the particular case – doesn’t necessarily feel as good as it looks from the outside. Those who have it all can still feel lonely, lost in a sea of opportunities, wishes and insecurity about life.

While the lives of some people seem admirable to me, too, I can honestly say I don’t want to be anybody’s #goals. Much less many people’s. Because once you are public like – on Instagram or through a blog –  that you’re under a pressure to maintain a certain image of perfection. Have a bad day? Hide it. Breaking up with your long-term boyfriend and trying to  conceal the fact by simply not posting pictures with him for a while? Rest assured people will start gossiping.

Flower

I’m aware most of my readers have left their teenage times far behind and sure, some of those hashtagging #goals on others’ pictures of their flat abs, pittoresque homes and adorable children are probably meant in a joking way. But Instagram is [second] home to many impressionable young girls [and boys?] who might not be all that secure in their identities. What hashtaggin #goals does is not only showing admiration for somebody else’s life but in subtly voicing a feeling of mediocrity on the commenter’s part.Plus, envy for others’ lives isn’t reserved to Instagram or the times you hashtag #goals. Who hasn’t read blogs feeling another person had the perfect job/family/relationship/vacations?

Having goals and comparing is part of life and completely okay. Only not if it makes us feel lesser-than. At the end of the day, the people who are others’ #goals are humans, too. Like you and me. Perfect just the way we are.

Happiness-inducing today: Receiving a letter by a friend living far away.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What are your thoughts on the topic? Have you noticed the #goals phenomenon? Are you aware of it as bloggers?