Love’s labour’s lost

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Haters gonna hate – Sure they are but let’s call a spade a spade, hate is a strong word. And I’m not sure how much longer I can clap eyes on that meme with the cat struttin’ across the floor looking a bit bolshy.

It just feels like there’s still an abundance of room for opinion, which needs to be separated from the heathen digital word ‘hate’. There’s something wholly untrustworthy about all-out gushing – something a little Sally from Home & Away sinister. Sure, seas of weeping emoticons peppered with hearts and kisses is by far the preferred conversational route – it’s positively life affirming on a bad day (‘that lady in Tescos thinks I’m a dick, ah but these guys…’)

But like with real life, a bit of honesty goes a long way. One of my best mates will look me in the eye, arm-squeeze and all, telling me how proud she is, while informing me there’s a bogie in my nasal passage; a veritable bat in the friendship cave. Life can be a stream of loving, applauding, can can-dancing brilliance, but much like a holiday without the previous slog, it needs to be tempered by occasional reality.

Fearne Cotton whacked a photo up on Instagram of a rather sorry-looking pot of stew. In so many ways it was endearing, but there was the inevitable ‘it looks like a crock of shit’ line from @amazou1988, which then turned into an all-out bean stew war, with her followers defending this lacklustre culinary show-and-tell and the ‘haters hatin’’ all over that heartwarming sludge.

Fearne deleted it. I thought that was a shame. The reason being it wasn’t pure hating; the stew was no Deliciously Ella triumph, but ultimately Fearne’s culinary honour was defended by her swathes of fans who love the fact she slaps the good, bad and ugly on Instagram. She was always going to come out of crock-gate the winner because ultimately love triumphs. But it was, perhaps, useful for her to consider if a bit of chopped parsley next time might liven up that steaming, beige mass.

“I never worry about my clients because the followers sort it out,” says Dom Smales, head of Gleam Futures, the biggest social media management agency, who counts the likes of Zoella, Pixiewoo and as his main talent. “The debate runs for a bit and then is generally shut down by the majority – which for Zoella is roughly 7 million people.” He doesn’t refer to ‘trolling’ just debate.

My main experience has been with our ‘parenting the shit out of life’ jumpers with Parent Apparel. For every ‘this is brilliant, need one NOW’, there’s been an equal number of ‘are you serious? My kid can read – I’d feel really uncomfortable wearing that jumper in the playground.’

At first there was worry – ah, have we done a bad parental thing. Should we sit on the merchandising naughty step? But it became one big natter session – nothing nasty, just a debate – and there was no one was struttin’ about hatin’ like that irksome feline.

Ultimately it’s about opinion; it’s each to their own – as many people who were worried about Botox on @mothersmeetings recent feed with Dr Mayoni, there was a stack of people who wanted to bathe in that stuff until they resembled their pre-project procreation dewy selves. And that’s ultimately life – it’s a tale of two halves; it’s a stack of very different people working stuff out together and it’s not fair to expect that to come with gurning emojis 24-7.

As long as it’s not ‘you are a massive bell-end and I hope you never find your unicorn’ (that’s hate right there), the opinion stuff is infinitely useful Intel. Once your followers have scrapped it out a bit, there’s room for you to consider what they’re actually saying. Should we, perhaps, go for ‘parenting the s***’? Nah, that would feel like eating vegetarian bacon. Ultimately it’s better for you but doesn’t taste as good.

Anna Whitehouse

Founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse likes super hero cape-making classes and dislikes the naming of celebrity couples (TomKat, Brange etc.) She tries (and often fails) to parent the shit out of life.

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Turns out I’m not an afternoon person either.

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