Above: Eden is a TPH brand ambassador and the VP of Awesome at My Barn Child! Find her on Instagram at @eden_mybarnchild. Photo courtesy of Eden Pessin.
By TPH Brand Ambassador Eden Pessin
I have had my Instagram account for 5 years now and have over 17k followers. People ask me all the time how I deal with mean people on the internet, especially since my account is public. Here are some of the things I have learned that I hope will help you have more fun (and less drama) on Instagram:
Be happy! Happy people attract happy people. I have bad days, just like anyone else, but I try to use my social media to make me and the people who follow me smile. Try posting a selfie with a fun caption or quote! Have fun with your followers. Leave sweet comments on other people’s photos.
Create positivity! I have a happiness project on Instagram, @cuteponyalerts. Every day, I post a couple of pics of ponies I have found on Instagram that I think are adorable. Most of them I don’t even know, but I hope it makes someone’s day better that a total stranger loves their pony. And all of my followers get to see lots of cute ponies!
Ignore negativity. I am very lucky and I have never really experienced negativity on my Instagram. But I see it happen on other accounts and have noticed the girls who respond to negative comments get more and more and more, until their account becomes a place people go to fight. Try deleting and ignoring negative comments. People who come to your account just to be mean aren’t going to suddenly become nice people because you comment back. Ignore or delete rude comments. Block people who are repeat offenders.
Avoid controversial subjects. I love thoroughbreds and I love warmbloods. But I don’t post on the internet which I like better. Certain subjects will always cause arguments.
Be accountable. I do not use any apps that allow people to ask me questions or make comments anonymously. And I never ask questions anonymously. If the question you are asking is kind, you should be able to put your face to it. Anonymous apps or profiles give bullies a home.
Be understanding. Everyone thinks they have the best horse in the whole world. And everyone is right. Try to be understanding and thoughtful of everyone’s feelings. When someone says their horse is the best horse ever, remember that they are just speaking from their heart and aren’t trying to make you feel bad about your own horse. If you read something that seems rude, give them the benefit of the doubt. Most people are awesome!
Share the space. I always try to remember everyone deserves equal space on the internet. My voice isn’t any more important than anyone else’s. I try to be respectful of the perspective of other people. We have a rule in our house that extends to the internet: “You are entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t allowed to hurt people with it.” I might think my opinion is right, but being right isn’t as important to me as getting along with people.
Have resources. I am really lucky and have gotten to know a lot of adults and business owners who mentor me. When you run into trouble with other kids on the internet, have people you can go to for advice. Whether you are trying to decide how to handle a snippy comment or dealing with a bully, there are lots of adults you can talk to. Never feel you have to deal with a bully alone.
Always remember that the internet should be fun! It is a great place to meet new friends, make professional contacts and build your personal brand. It can be tricky, sometimes, but it is possible to have a really good experience getting to know people! Have fun and I’ll see you on Instagram!