Image Credit Twitter
The Rise of the Keyboard Warrior
Chancellor Rishi Sunak shared a picture on Twitter saying “Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew”, posing with a bag of Yorkshire teabags.
There was then a series of angry messages from people who didn’t like the MP for Richmond (in Yorkshire!), presumably because he’s a conservative MP. One said “@YorkshireTea you can tell a lot about company by the people that endorse it. Parasitic hedge funds.” Others said it should be boycotted.
The Yorkshire Tea press office said they had also dealt with angry phone calls, and they said on Twitter: “’So it’s been a rough weekend. On Friday, the Chancellor shared a photo of our tea. Politicians do that sometimes (Jeremy Corbyn did it in 2017).
In 2017, Labour leader Mr Corbyn posed with a large bag of Yorkshire Tea, along with the caption: ‘Well that’s tea for the rest of the day sorted.’
Yorkshire Tea said; ‘We weren’t asked or involved – and we said so the same day. Lots of people got angry with us all the same.”
They said in a series of Tweets: ”Speaking directly now, as the person who’s been answering these tweets, I know it could have been much worse. It’s easier to be on the receiving end of this as a brand than as an individual. There’s more emotional distance and I’ve had a team to support me when it got a bit much. But for anyone about to vent their rage online, even to a company – please remember there’s a human on the other end of it, and try to be kind.’
Laurence Fox disagreed with an academic on BBC Question Time who said that the press’s view on Meghan Markle was ‘racist’. The academic then said he was a privileged white male, he said she was racist, and the discussion went on. Two people having different views, right?
On Twitter someone identifiable as Chris L then posted that he would “laugh and laugh” over the death of Laurence Fox.
The actor and father of three shared the threatening post, saying: “I’m not sure Chris is a very nice man.”.
The academic also said she had received a barrage of hate messages on Twitter and email.
Will Hodgman resigned as Tasmania’s Liberal Premier on 14th January 2020 after six years, citing social media attacks on his three children. Mike Baird resigned as New South Wales Premier in January 2017 saying his daughters were being bullied on social media.
We remember at work when a problem occurs, and someone decides to write that ‘fire mail’ and copy in everyone and their grandmother. Why?? Often our instant response is to reply with anger because we cannot believe a person would do that deliberately, often to get one up on someone or make themselves look good.
We used to call these people “Keyboard Warriors”, as they were only brave hiding behind a keyboard and would never have the courage to do it face to face. Now they are called trolls – from the social media world.
Social media makes it much easier to blast out vitriol, whether on subjects where there is a genuine difference of opinion (Brexit being a great example, where it appeared that the definition of racist / woke / moaning / stupid was anyone having a different point of view!) or just to lambast someone standing for something you don’t like (see the Yorkshire Tea example above).
At the end of the day is there a deeper issue here. Do those people really mean to do it to prove a point, go ‘one-up’ or just to get back at you or have they more deep-seated issues of frustration/ anger either with work or life etc?
They often say the person you’re sat next to in the office will become a different animal when out at a party, football match or sat at home alone. There are probably more ‘fight-clubbers’ out there than we think.
We know 76% of people have some form of mental health issue at some time and maybe this is the reason why they want to abuse someone, take their anger and frustrations out on people that sometimes cannot fight back. Or they could just be plain nasty and have a sour soul!
Today more than in the past everyone has an opinion about everything, and they think they are right and will be abusive and belittling to anyone who disagrees with their opinion. Well I look at this way: there are a lot of opinions out there but that’s all they are – opinions. It could be right and it could be wrong.
How do we deal with people like that?
How do we stop them or get them to realise the damage they cause either in the workplace or at home? Bullies Out is an anti-bullying charity that has help and information on trolling.
Caroline Flack recently committed suicide and a friend Matt Richardson said she would “obsessively” trawl through trolling comments in ad breaks on her phone. Samaritans offer a 24 hour phone service on 116 123 if you’re feeling that bad, or you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a keyboard warrior why do you think you need to take on life’s battles and ‘injustices’? Or as we might guess – you don’t think you are!
Have you ever been a victim or a bully and how did you change?
Let us know what you think
Just because it’s easy to write something horrible and post it on to social media, it doesn’t mean you should. The term ‘keyboard warrior’ was coined to mean that the people relying on this form of attack were really cowards, and wouldn’t dare say it out loud or face to face.
That’s not walways the case – there’s plenty oh hate going around – but people should consider the effect of what they’re saying.