Everything Wrong With 'Gossip' Forums


I remember discovering a 'gossip' forum a few years ago now and I won't lie - I stumbled upon it because, well, in a way I was looking for it. I'd found myself irked by a YouTuber and I was just interested to see if other people felt the same way. A quick Google led me to a forum which had a 'Trash a Guru' category full of threads on each and every blogger/YouTube personality you can think of. The problem was, the more I read on this site the more negative about it all I felt and the more I wished I could have unread it all.

I didn't post on the site nor did I even register an account, I'd just scroll through the 'Trash' threads and was absolutely flabberghasted by what was actually just bare-faced cheek of people thinking they had a right to comment on other people's lives to the extent they did. It was the online equivalent of car-crash television.

Although the comments were insulting, offensive and down-right nasty the worst thing about the whole saga was actually how the frequent users of these sites mocked anybody who dared respond to them telling them to 'get a life' or 'stop watching the videos if you don't like them'. They'd 'laugh', call people snowflakes and carry on with their 'gossiping'.

As I said, my first experience of this was a few years ago and I'd actually forgotten all about these forums and threads until recently one of my favourite YouTubers Emma aka BrummyMummyof2 admitted she was feeling extremely low and the reason for it was due to stumbling upon one of these websites and reading all kinds of awful comments about her and her family. Within seconds I googled the name of the website along with her username and found an entire thread of people tearing her apart.

Despite what they might say and despite how they might protest, it is somewhat true that the people posting on these forums have no lives - at the very least they might have lives but just not a very fulfilled one. If you're content, happy and feeling positive about yourself and your own life then there's absolutely zero need or pleasure in seeking out a place where you can anonymously criticize someone else for their choices.

In my opinion, people like to think they're more complex than they are; they like to think that saying 'oh please, I have a life but she posts hers on the internet so I'm entitled to comment on it' will distract us from the fact that person gets up in the morning, probably goes about their normal day like the rest of us, most likely goes to work and then logs onto a website and proceeds to slate a 41-year-old woman and her young family. It's either jealously or just plain nastiness, there really isn't an in between nor is there any other excuse that makes sense.

I would just like to know why these people watch videos they simply don't enjoy. It makes very little sense, for example, in the way that I don't particularly enjoy Clive Owen movies I just won't watch them, I won't sit there each evening and watch a different clip of Clive Owen and proceed to slag him off. Why? Because I'd rather spend my time doing things I enjoy. It's a much better use of time and I do not believe for one second that those negative thoughts and feelings can be switched off when you log off the forum, surely you make take it elsewhere into your lives?

I appreciate those people have a 'right' to post what they like about Emma or anyone else for that matter and I'm not arguing that fact. I suppose this post is just me wondering why on earth you'd want to? Emma puts her life on the internet, she opens up to people about her family, her shopping habits, her struggles with mental health and with this comes opening yourself up to criticism, of course but does that criticism need to be funneled into a forum which just ends up reeking of bitterness and negativity? Sometimes you'll watch a YouTuber and be like 'oh please, as if you actually bought that/went there/said that' but that's all I'll do. Maybe I'll show my friends or my boyfriend but then I'll forget about it and move on. Isn't that what we should all aim to do to make the internet less of a breeding ground for negativity?

At the end of the day, I know these websites aren't going away, they're always going to exist in one way, shape or form and I suppose the solution is just a case of rising above it, I hope Emma from BrummyMummyof2 can take comfort in the fact that every click on her videos and click on her blog is a view, regardless of whether it's from someone who supports her or not as she can only gain from that. For every 10 people who post regularly on these forums there are most likely hundreds more who will watch someone's videos and genuinely enjoy them without feeling the need to bring anyone down in order to drag themselves up.

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