I would like to admit something to everyone: I love watching Tiktoks. Now, I have no idea what prompted me to download an application of 10 second videos (most of which are about nothing), but I find myself scrolling through this app on my couch, after work, to unwind. Some videos make me laugh, some make me cry, some I swipe up on without even watching, and some… make me angry.
One person specifically puts me in such a bad mood every time her posts come up. This Tiktokker has developed her “platform” solely with the purpose of calling out and shaming other Tiktokker’s whose videos she disagrees with. So much so, that the disgruntled Tokker’s followers end up harassing the daylights out of the other person by flooding their post with mean comments.
Why does this bother me? I realized that this Tiktokker makes others feel less important through demeaning, rude, and aggressive comments and from this, she feels happiness, joy, and an inflated sense of self-importance. She belittles others and this behavior puts me in defense mode for people I’ve never met and at the same time I feel sorry for her, what a life she must have to find satisfaction in others pain. Perhaps the offending videos weren’t great, perhaps they included poor word choice or inaccurate information, but does that give one the right to publicly harass and intimidate another? The simple answer is: it shouldn’t.
I became interested in the psychology behind why some people feel better about themselves when they put others down. Reasons could range from low self-esteem, feeling threatened, reaching an objective, feeling superior, to simply making others like them. It is indeed a complicated world where someone can capitalize on horrendous behavior to amass hundreds of thousands of “followers.”
So, has our attachment to virtual content erased the underlying aspects of being a respectful human? Has the perceived protection of a computer monitor emboldened us to throw civility to the wayside? Whether your job involves customer/co-worker interaction or not, you cannot escape human contact, nor should you try. It is of the utmost importance to recognize that civility and respect are essential aspects to your everyday environment (virtual or in-person).
“Civility and respect is present in a work environment where workers are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients, and the public. Respect and civility are based on showing esteem, care, and consideration for others, and acknowledging their dignity.” 
My gut reaction whenever this “influencer” pops up in my Tiktok feed is to type a comment to express my disagreement. However, each time I stop myself. The first reason being, I don’t want to become the target of this Tiktokker’s next video (as so many have), but I also see that my reaction would be uncivil and that is not who I am as a person. So, each time, I chose civility, regardless of my perception of others behavior, after all, the only person I have control over is me. I also happen to have control over the “block” button and have removed this person’s videos from my view.
Please visit the toolkit on the Positivity webpage to learn about steps you can take to reduce incivility.