Instagram @scotsman.co

“We have a lot more in common than we think.”

Southern Living
January 5, 2018

In the final moments before welcoming daughter Helen into the world, Home Town’s Erin Napier was busy thinking of ways to make the world a kinder place.

Earlier this week, Erin, a self-described “extreme introvert” took to Instagram with a new idea for combatting online bullying—an issue she and her co-host husband Ben have been forced to deal with since their show debuted on HGTV last year.

In a lengthy caption written alongside a short clip of Ben, Erin proposed a bold real-world approach for confronting internet bullies: approaching them in person, no matter how awkward it gets.

WATCH: HGTV’s Erin and Ben Napier Announce They Will Soon Be a Family of Three!

“I've been thinking about resolutions this year and the way social media has become such a hugely positive part of the way we communicate as friends and families and communities but then I also think about the downside of it all,” the post begins. “The false sense of anonymity it gives people who want to bully or harass or stir up cruelty, those keyboard cowboys and girls who enjoy creating tumult, thinking online is not the real world and no one will call them on it.

She says that’s when an idea came to her. What if all 105,000 of her followers agreed to start “real, kind, grown-up discussions” with these keyboard cowboys in real life? Perhaps, she mused, it would make them “think twice when they're caught awkwardly in public,” and understand they're “really not so safe or anonymous being cruel on social.”

 

I've been thinking about resolutions this year and the way social media has become such a hugely positive part of the way we communicate as friends and families and communities but then I also think about the downside of it all. The false sense of anonymity it gives people who want to bully or harass or stir up cruelty, those keyboard cowboys and girls who enjoy creating tumult, thinking online is not the real world and no one will call them on it. And it got me thinking. If all 105k of you following me here committed to something with me, we could make a heck of a change wherever we are: what if when we bump into those keyboard cowboys in the real world, we started a REAL, kind, grown up discussion about the things they were so "brave" to say online, to make them think twice when they're caught awkwardly in public about it, to make them understand they're really not so safe or anonymous being cruel on social? @scotsman.co did this recently and it made a world of difference in that person's attitude, they saw eye to eye, and everyone was humanized by it. I have a feeling if we all start gently calling them on it in real life in 2018, on the sidewalk, in the coffee shop, even if it's uncomfortable, our corners of the world might improve once we see that online cruelty isn't brave or victimless at all and we have a lot more in common than we think. -- sincerely, a real life human who is on TV and still sees what folks write on social ❤️ (amazing t-shirt made for @scotsman.co by the amazing @lrtedford 😂) #LETSGETAWKWARD

A post shared by Erin Napier (@erinapier) on

Erin revealed that Ben attempted this recently, and it “made a world of difference in that person's attitude—they saw eye to eye, and everyone was humanized by it.”

She concluded: “I have a feeling if we all start gently calling them on it in real life in 2018, on the sidewalk, in the coffee shop, even if it's uncomfortable, our corners of the world might improve once we see that online cruelty isn't brave or victimless at all and we have a lot more in common than we think.”