Jeffrey Marsh is a prominent LGBT Viner.
We all know the Internet is filled with haters. Websites will sometimes drop their comment sections altogether because of the incessant and adolescent trolling, trolling, trolling. Vine is no different. Each video you publish has an unfiltered, wide open, shooting range-style comment section. Another popular Viner and I have this joke: What do you get when you take the most vile, evil, personal, disgusting thing you can imagine ever thinking about another human being, and multiply that by a thousand? Vine comments!
I'm not complaining. I love being Vine famous. The joke is an exaggeration. Ok, only a slight exaggeration, but still. I wanted to write to you today and give you some good news, especially as it pertains to LGBT-ers on social media. There are far fewer hate comments than there are love comments. As Ms. Swift said, haters gonna hate. But it may be nice to know that lovers gonna love, too. I'm serious. We see article after article about how hateful social media can be, but few talk about the love, and the connection that's possible.
When a kid in a rural town who has no idea that there are people like them, people who are gay or gender different, and they see my Vine... Woooo! They don't hold back. They pour out a million thank yous and, "Please don't ever stop doing what you're doing"s. The quasi-anonymity of Vines comments is an advantage for a hater. But, it works for lovers too. If a kid (or adult!) is afraid to come out, they can chime in on the comments. They can message me, without fear of losing their job or having their loved ones reject them.
Vine is a video sharing app, but you can have an account and never post a video of yourself. You never have to show your face, and that seems to be a godsend to teens, many of whom are in a process of discovering things about themselves and how the world works. What better way to get clear on where you stand, and what you believe in, than to watch videos of all humanity scroll before your eyes? I trust the people who see my Vine page. I trust them to figure things out on their own. Vine allows you to delete any comment on a Vine you publish. And, I know a lot of Viners that try and delete all the hate. I never do. I think the hate tells an important story and should remain visible.
Many commenters are working things out right there in the comments. Some people will transform before your eyes. They start with a: "Wtf, kill yourself fag," and five comments later, take it back in some awkward, half-hearted way, like, "Well, I used to think this guy was weird, but he's cool." I think of that as a step in the right direction, and an example for us all. I'd like to think there's some growth happening through Vine.
And, I love those lovers who just get it immediately. They are from all over the world, and they just love the fun and vibrancy I'm trying to put out. And there are a ton more of them than there are haters. There's love mixed with the hate, and I'm so grateful for that love. Actually, at the end of the day, haters have no idea how they're helping other kids. They dump hate on me, and there I am the next day making another vine that is still from the heart. I don't ever change into what a hater would find more acceptable. And, from time to time, I'll get an email or message from a struggling kid saying, "Thank you, I got it. I'm getting bullied at school, and if you can let the hate go, so can I."
It's beautiful. The haters will hate, and we will rise above, and people are watching. People are picking up on the crusade, on the ability to let it go, to keep hate in perspective. And then they try out that crusade for themselves.