AMANDA FERGUSON in Belfast
Sunday, January 1, 2023
I hope you enjoyed Christmas and New Year, or at least survived it with the least amount of trauma as possible.
I am grateful to have had a really lovely festivus. I appreciate that not everyone had the same experience.
I am in fab form. 2022 was positive, personally and professionally, and I am looking forward to the months ahead. To enjoying myself. To improving myself. And to doing more good work.
Like all decent people our hearts go out to all those suffering at present. My thoughts are with everyone going through difficult times. And I think about Natalie McNally and Bruna Fonseca's devastated families trying to come to terms with their loss.
Travelling to Lebanon late last year was such a transformative experience for me. To witness such suffering first hand was humbling and has given me renewed fire to use my job as a journalist to help others.
I feel so lucky to be cosy and content. A quick sweep of online abuse today gave me a fast reminder that being good at my job, being a woman with opinions, and being a happy woman in general, really bothers some very unhappy, miserable internet people.
I had to add to my block list on Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook. Now, I have zero interest in communication with these people so Greta Thunberg was right, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
My block policy should be well known but for the uninitiated here it is:
I block people who are abusive and tell lies about me online, people who like and retweet those posts, and also bots. And sometimes I block, but mainly mute, those I think are tiresome or a**holes. I consult police and lawyers when necessary.
A reminder that we don't owe anyone a response, a reply, a particular tone or style of communication.
For 2023 I am going for a 'no oxygen' for nasty attention seekers policy (as much as is humanly possible) again. I have losers I have had blocked for years trying to be relevant by posting nonsense and defamatory content about me. You would think they should have something better to do with their time...
I cringe for them when I see it. It's the same tired rubbish they have been churning out over and over again for far too long. Anyone with sense knows the score. And on that note, don't let the angry noise makers make you think they are the majority. They are not. Most people we interact with online are wonderful humans, dead on people, and not hateful weirdos. I maintain that most people are sound. While I was typing this I got a Twitter DM telling me to "keep being the fabulous journalist that you are in 2023". Very sweet. And I intend to. Thank you.
So, what's in store for the year ahead? Who knows. There will be highs and lows, but hopefully more of the former than the latter.
So, I am going to try to deal with it with good grace, and if I can, humour.
We have to take care of ourselves and each other. Keep being fab. Stay engaged. Try to do no harm. Be ourselves. And all that other start of the year good vibes stuff.
Good luck to all of us.
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