Why Is Caroline Bedol From ‘Below Deck’ Getting Trolled so Hard on Twitter?

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Celebrities and reality personalities receive glowing adulation on social media. But also bear the brunt of some pretty harsh criticism and personal attacks. For instance, cast members from Below Deck seem to be receiving strong commentary from Twitter followers. Comments appear to be written as though the posts are being hurled for sport.

Certainly, all cast members from the show receive their fair share of social media criticism. However, social media followers seem to be holding bosun Chandler Brooks’ and third stew Caroline Bedol’s feet close to the fire. Bedol, in particular, seems to be on the receiving end of some pretty personal attacks. Which appeared to grow during the season.

So why is Bedol getting trolled so hard on Twitter? And why do strangers feel compelled to make angry and often personal attacks?

What does Bedol think?

How did Bedol feel about what was occurring? The Cheat Sheet reached out to her but she wasn’t interested in getting any further involved in the negativity. Thankfully, Erin A. Vogel, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Psychiatry provided insight into social media interaction with reality personalities or celebrities.

“That’s totally understandable and really sad,” Vogel remarked regarding Bedol’s apathy for going on the record about the social media hate. “People often forget that they’re hurting real people with these comments. They may justify their comments by saying that high-profile personalities open themselves up for criticism when they agree to be in the public eye. But with nasty comments on social media, high-profile personalities may get more than they bargained for. I’m sure many celebrities are really surprised by how cruel people can be, and it does affect them.”

But getting involved can make things worse

Both Bedol and Brooks appear to the target de jour for social media fodder. However, comments about Brooks, while significant, seem to fizzle quickly. Why? Bedol responds to comments. Whereas Brooks does not.

“It’s difficult not to respond when someone says something horrible about you publicly, but I agree that ignoring the comments may be the best course of action,” Vogel observed. “Just like kids who bully other kids, most commenters are probably looking for a reaction. If they don’t get a reaction, making nasty comments isn’t going to be entertaining or satisfying.”

But sometimes there’s no right way to field the hate

Vogel says sometimes women may end up in a no-win position. Especially if they try to defend themselves on social media. Men and women are perceived differently, especially when conflict is involved. Women who stand up for themselves are likely to be perceived as too sensitive. But cold or uncaring if they don’t respond.

“On the other hand, some commenters might need a reminder that they’re talking to a real person who has thoughts and feelings too,” she explains. “If they didn’t really mean to hurt someone, they might regret their comments and stop the attacks.”

Regardless, harsh criticism on social media is harmful, Vogel says. “It’s true that some people seem to be magnets for harsh online criticism, for whatever reason,” she says. “The internet gives us a sense of anonymity that makes it very easy to lash out at others. People often say things online that they would never say to someone in person.”

This is the one thing people may forget

The most important thing to remember is that celebrities and other internet strangers are people too, Vogel says. “I’d encourage viewers to think about why that person’s behavior bothers them so much. Did that person really do something terrible, or do they just remind you of someone else who annoys you?”

Also, is watching the show really worth your time and energy, or would it be better to watch something else until you’re less annoyed? “We would all benefit from being more mindful about our social media use and how our words affect other people,” Vogel adds.

And, when we’re not criticizing someone face-to-face, it’s easier to feel like we’re not doing any harm. “When we don’t see or hear the person we’re criticizing, it can feel like we’re not hurting a real person,” she says.

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