(WBIR - Knoxville) What would the Internet be like if everyone behaved online as they do in real life? If the bravery to be hateful online disappeared and we treated others as we'd treat strangers in real life?
So we're going to stop asking "what if" -- and do something about it.
And we're asking you to join us. Please help us #ShareTheLove - beginning on Valentine's Day.
Who knows when trolls first surfaced. Most likely, they arrived around to the time humans created the Internet. Right after they discovered anonymous hate online was an outlet without repercussions.
You know them when you see them: The "who cares?" guy. The person who personally attacks your appearance after you share something on Facebook they don't like. They're people you know. They're people you kinda know. They're complete strangers.
Here's the thing: It isn't virtual. It's as real as if the two people talking were physically standing in front of one another.
The Internet is real life. And it's time we start acting that way. We need your help!
Here are a few ways you can #ShareTheLove online this week:
1. Save the "Have a Heart" image to your computer and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or your favorite social media.
2. Defuse one unkind person today. Go to social media -- or anywhere online -- and give someone a compliment. Tell them you love their hair in their profile photo. Or that you wish they have a wonderful day. Or, simply, tell them to #ShareTheLove. Celebrate the love while defusing the hate.
3. Tell someone online -- a stranger or otherwise -- that you appreciate how kind they are on the Internet by sharing one of these "Love For All Webkind" Valentines.
It's going to take a major culture change for the digital world to be a kinder place -- so it's up to everyone to make that change. And who knows? Maybe this week becomes a month, a year and a revolution.
The WBIR Channel 10 Staff