If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say…

This is an Internet rant about Internet rants. This is a rant about anonymous, unconstructive, Internet meanness. It’s not because I think everyone should be happy and cheerful all the time. It’s just that I think people should be decent and respectful to each other.

Everyone has a right to individual opinions, but just because you don’t like something does not mean that no one else does. So, unless you have some really thoughtful and constructive criticism, why say anything at all? Or rather, why say it publicly? With the advent of the world wide web was born this conundrum; while the Internet has the fantastic ability to bring people of common interests together, it simultaneously gives people the ability to say all the nasty things they want, completely anonymously.

I have the utmost respect for true critics and writers who devote themselves to analyzing and appreciating art; this is NOT who I am talking about. Often the content of comments sections goes something like this (in Mad Libs form):

SouPerP1mp69: I hate (name of an artist/celebrity not in room)! He/she is (unflattering adjective) and (unflattering adjective) and someone should tell her/him that he/she should stop (verb/name of profession)-ing.

Well SouPerP1mp69, you lost me there! If I didn’t like sushi, would I say, “All sushi restaurants should stop making it for other people because I don’t like it”? No, I would not because that makes NO SENSE. If you don’t like a writer, don’t read their books; if you don’t like an actor, don’t watch their movies and so on and so forth. The people who are making art, successfully or unsuccessfully, have a right to do so and I can guarantee you that none of them are spending time making the things that they make for people who hate them.

So, why would someone go on a message board like a weird little sneak and write a bunch of mean stuff about someone? There are certainly artists that I don’t particularly care for, but do I publicly go and say mean things about them? No, I do not, because they shouldn’t care what I think, because they’re not doing it for me and if I don’t like it, then I am simply not their crowd. If people are supporting their efforts then I deduce that they have an audience of people who enjoy what they do.

It’s wonderful that people have different tastes. The word “opinion”, intrinsically, has no “right or wrong”, only “yours and mine”. People can buy into, surround themselves with and immerse themselves in whatever suits their fancy! So why rain on other peoples’ parades?

This leads me to my real point: what I want for our 1-month-old baby website HelloGiggles.com. I think negativity is the enemy of creativity because it stops people and shames people and that is not what I want for our community. I want this site to be a place where people feel comfortable and safe. I want this to be a place where people encourage each other instead of bringing each other down. And mostly, I want this to be a place where people identify themselves and stand up for the things they say and inspire each other to do better; write more, draw more, make more music, create more and share more. I will be darned if we don’t.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/algers Alger Shen

    I just watched the Little Mermaid today. BEST movie ever. I also tried to imagine you being Ariel in a remake of the movie but I couldn’t. I got dizzy thinking about it because of how awesome it would be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KAndersonLA Karen Dufour Anderson

    I dunno. I just sorta hate rants about rants about people who rant and say mean things… But I do like you. You look just like my daughter. And that’s nice :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rockinItalmajor Robyn Pennington

    I agree! It’s sad because people don’t seem to understand the difference between a negative comment and a constructive critique. I love your website and I love that you don’t want any negativity on here. You should do a campaign against cyber bullying because it’s so easy for kids to cyber bully other kids today and that’s just sad and you’re so awesome and I think people would respond to you if you did a thing against cyber bullying

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellycrafton Kelly Crafton

    Agreed! I actually just posted this for others to read on a Facebook status posted by InStyle. They were asking about who’s style you are more like, Kate Middleton or Pippa? And people were leaving negative comments regarding them. Ok, so you don’t care about Kate. Well, some people find her interesting and enjoy reading articles about her. So your comment saying ‘Who cares about either one of them’, makes no sense! (as Zooey said) Don’t ruin it for other people who are enjoying it please. Seriously, why even waste your time posting about something you hate if you really don’t care? I wouldn’t. I’ll probably get more hateful comments in response to me posting this to that status… but I don’t care. People need to learn to be more kind and respectful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1572517577 Ana Herco

    Word, Zooey! I am completely disgusted on how bloody immature were on Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook and thought I’m going to lose faith with the humanity. But I hope it won’t happen though. I love how you share your thoughts and opinions like this kind of matter, that is why I would vote for you as a president in the next election lol! I love Hellogiggles and you and people who operate this site. You guys rock! 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/tinykitten Lauren Nelson

    it really should come down to this: no one likes a douchebag. if you’re going to say something of the douche variety, its best best to yourself 😉

  • http://cvxn.tumblr.com Heather Watson

    Well said, boss lady. As a longtime internetter and a contributing member of Team Hello Giggles, I’m so proud to see how the level of discourse on this site has struck the proper balance between gentility and exuberance, and I think it’s clear that has everything to do with the human beings here (both behind the scenes and in the comment boxes) who are authentic, respectful and full of warmth. Just look at this page if you need proof. Tonight, I celebrate my love for all of you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hailey.m.johnson Hailey Johnson

    I love this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dourememberthat Pao M’ Cisneros

    People can be so mean sometimes, I hate that, everyone can have their own opinion about anything and that’s how it works, I mean, what would happen to the world if every single human being would think the same way?
    I really love this article, and I’m so happy “to be a part” of this site, I feel safe :) Thank you so much! 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/amsheffield Amber Sheffield

    (without typing you a novel, let me just say)
    This is why people are so attracted to you.
    It’s not the roles you play, or the spotlight. It’s more than your talent-both vocally and on the stage, or in front of a camera.
    It’s that you’re genuine that so many continue to adore you. thanks for posting this. It makes it a little easier being your biggest fan. /a

  • http://www.facebook.com/pinkgrapefruits87 Lauren Nespoli

    I love the positive message of this article! I’m fine with other people voicing their opinions, but they don’t need to put other people down to do so. One great thing about this site is that everyone (both in the articles and in the comments) seems to be really supportice of each other and they aren’t negative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/traceylynnehill Tracey Hill

    As an artist & restauranteur, I am at the incessant mercy of critics. Lucky for me I was born with the uncanny ability to shrug-off Negative-Nelly-Nay-Sayers and trudge through life unaffected by what people think. PS, my art sells and my little Montreal café is doing just fine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658232639 Katelyn Burgess

    Brilliant, Zooey. Couldn’t of been said better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706860785 Mandy Buechner

    AMEN! People need to focus on bettering themselves rather than tearing others down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/olivia.e.richardson Olivia Erin Richardson

    Thank you, Zooey! as an actress, dance, singer, my world is filled with criticism. I love HelloGiggles because it’s a place where I can come to be uplifted, enlightened and have a few giggles :) Thank you for keepin’ it real!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1674264063 Toni Matthews-El

    If you want an actual term for it, it’s the “Online Disinibition Effect”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beyonceclown Alex Gabor

    online discourse, dummy.

    I think you are unfriendly (from experience) and I also think you are a mediocre singer and your film choices are laughable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=736925077 Bhagya Ramesh

    LOL Clearly Zooey’s been bashed WAAAYYY too many times.
    Yeah Zooey you tell those nasty kids how MEAN they are on the playground… I mean internet. -_______-

    and also, everybody on this thread…………………….. -_______- Come OONNN?? lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000069243973 Kili Goodrich

    I would have to TOTALLY agree with this. There are always enough haters that bring us individually down in our lives, why have people on the internet do it too? How can someone think they are “cool” for bringing someone else down. Well guys it doesn’t make you cool, not at all. Plus all the negativity that sweeps through the internet and all around us is toxic. It starts to feed off of others and brings more people down. No one really deserves to be brought down. C’mon, is bringing others down productive? Is there something I am not seeing? Its foolish to hurt someone and words are very powerful. Just stop and think about what you are going to say publicly and ask yourself if it is something you should really say. Who wants to spend their life making other people hurt. Spread the love. Let’s get rid of all the hate.
    “All You Need Is Love.” The Beatles. (They’re some pretty snazzy guys)
    -Kili Goodrich

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000069243973 Kili Goodrich

    Oh and P.s….I love coming to this site because A) There is NO negativity here. Its a very uplifting place to visit. If I feel down it picks me back up. Its a safe house.
    Just bringing my cursor over the three heads on the logo makes my day when they giggle.
    Cheers to many more moths of hello giggles.
    -Kili Goodrich

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000069243973 Kili Goodrich


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