Adjust Your Senses!
I’ve been wondering, watching Internet relationships — how they are virtually the same and different from those in the real world. I’ve found patterns behaviors and looked through my experience to see whether those patterns hold up when I test them out.
My conclusion is that folks bring behaviors to the virtual world that don’t always make sense here. We do the human thing of continuing what we feel has worked for us before — without considering whether, in this new situation, it’s still the sensible thing to do.
Some foolish folks are getting this Internet thing wrong. That’s dangerous and annoying.
Read on if you are one of them. Better yet, read on anyway, we never know when a wave of foolishness has taken over us.
Here are the 5 senses that folks need to adjust to stop being dangerous and annoying the Blogosphere.
- Sense of Security Living online is more complicated than living in a real-world community. People here haven’t agreed to one single set of laws. The people can more easily falsify who they are, where they are, whose picture we see. If someone pulls a “fast one,” what you believe and have learned to be your legal right probably won’t mean a thing in this “world with no border.” Either way, it will probably be too expensive to enforce. If you know that, you’ll be more secure.
- Sense of Reality I can route my calls through Montana and answer them in Madagascar. I could be 93. You won’t know for certain until we meet. Most importantly, unless you have and have verified my street address, if I go offline, it’s possible you’ll never find me. On the other hand, you might find people who can trace back to my IP and the route my computer took to get to your to your computer’s door.
- Sense of Privacy Sitting at home locked in safe doesn’t make what we say secret. Writing in the middle of the night alone can feel personal and private. Remember the Internet is public and always open — forever. There is no eraser. In times of high emotion, stress, or other serious consequence, type into a word processor not your blog. Anything can wait 24 hours.
- Sense of Entitlement The woo of a “free” Internet can make us think everyone should serve up what we want — get over that. Re-read the story of “The Golden Goose” again. Or to put it another way, everyone has their own. It’s annoying to be asked or to be told to fulfill a request by folks who can’t bother to be polite or finish a sentence. First impressions last and last . . . and often are the last some folks will want to know of you.
- Sense of Humor Words in text don’t have the same context as words shared verbally. Tone is implied and easily goes askew. Here where many cultures meet, sensitivity means we use humor carefully. Make sure that everyone knows when you’re going for a laugh. It’s sad to say something seriously not funny when it was intended to be.
These five senses are critical to a successful experience in the Blogosphere. What other sense can you add to the list to make the Internet less dangerous and less annoying?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!