I buy a lot online. Not clothes, that would take away the true delight of shopping (although it would minimise the mirror misery….oh I digress), but books, games, presents and the such like.
But I have realised I am failing as a journalist. Today I find myself paralysed with fear. That fear of speaking up and, dare I say it, saying anything bad when asked to review my recent purchases.
I hate trolling. I think that it is perfectly acceptable for someone to give their opinion on a news article, and it can even help dispell some myths by providing readers with more information on a subject, if they have first hand exeirnce of it. But calling people nasty names online for no apparent reason, other than you’ve had a bad day and they have dared to have an opinion in opposition to yours, is tantamount to bullying.
Thus, my problem begins. The Internet is so supremely fast and accurate that you can now find out world news faster online than through virtually any other source, apart form being in the thick of it yourself. And almost everyone is online. A friend just posted an update on Facebook stating that her 90 year old grandma has just friend-requested her. So the things we write online are so much more powerful than they used to be, and are seen by people all over the planet.
On that basis, if you say something bad, not only could it hurt someone feelings (which I am also terribly afraid of) but, at the extreme end of the scale, it could damage someone’s livelihood.
What I want to do is tell people that a purchase I received wasn’t quite right. Let me clarify that I have no problem telling people online or otherwise when my purchase is completely and utterly not what I asked for. That would be easy. If a dress from Ebay was torn or a book from Amazon was missing pages I would say so immediately. No real damage would be done. I would get my money back or I would get a replacement.
But what do you do if something is not quite right? If it is malfunctioning but a little, or it came one day later than was expected, or it’s not quite in the condition it was supposed to be in. I just can’t bring myself to write on a website that it wasn’t perfect and why, because I am worried that a negative review will be magnified out of all proportion by the power of the Web.
So what am I going to do? I have decided to say NOTHING. Now this might be time for an ‘is my acquiescence actually a ‘yes my purchase was wonderful” discussion, but I would rather say nothing than to say a words that might be twisted online. I am a wimp, yes.
Yet this approach leaves me unsatisfied. Am I happy to stay silent and enjoy my not-quite-100%-but-quite-ok-really purchases? I am suddenly struck with the concept that this is a metaphor for my life…
Right. So be it. I’d rather stick with my lemons than be a troll. Feel free to hurl your online abuse…..now.