You know, whenever I visit someone’s blog, I try to maintain some semblance of civility, especially if I’m visiting said blog for the first time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so why go out of one’s way to be an ass and ruin your one chance to be considered a nice person? (Plenty of time for proving yourself a genuine ass later, I always say.)
Recently, someone dropped by my wife’s blog and dropped a rude-bomb on me, suggesting she should dump me for another hubby. (Okay, that’s not bad advice, but it’s still rude. Hello! I’m in the ROOM.) It was just a joke, and probably not intended to be a barb, but it still offered me a slap across the face. The funny thing is, this person didn’t even know me, had no knowledge of me, didn’t visit my blog, nothing. Just … poof. It was a drive-by rude-ing*.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but mother taught me if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If I’d lived by that I wouldn’t speak much, but still, the point can be made there’s no cause to say something rude. In other words, try not to miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. You might benefit from it someday. (Yes, I say things I shouldn’t say all the time. I just try not to say them to strangers about people they might like.)
Then again, there’s an anonymity to the Internet which affords many the opportunity to fly their freak flags and release their inner a$$hole like no other medium has before. Unlike our cars, which provide the illusion of anonymity, the shield of the Internet and cyberspace is real and definitive. It’s difficult or impossible to track someone to their home without court orders and a lot of time. So people feel free to drop the pretense of both brains and courtesy and let go with things they might not normally say in polite company like a pigeon drops crap – without thought or aim.
What is it about people which makes them think there’s no purpose, no reason, to be courteous and polite in pixels as they would be face to face? I’m willing to bet most of those dropping rude-bombs and being caustic pigs on the ‘Net wouldn’t dare act such in real life. Can you imagine our world where people acted like they do on the Internet? The murder rate would skyrocket. (Go ‘head, try being an a$$hole like that in Texas or Arizona and see if you don’t get a lead lobotomy for your trouble.)
How about you, o courageous readers? Do you have the cajones (cojones?) to be abrasive and disregard the feelings of others on the Internet? Do you try to remember there’s a human being on the other side of that cyber-wall reading the things you write? Do you keep in mind how difficult text-only communication can be, wherein there’s no facial expression or body language available? (I fail at this in epic proportions.)
Sound off and tell me what you think. Am I too sensitive and wussy? or should some of us make a last stand for human decency and common courtesy?
* – Had she done a similar thing on my blog to my spouse her comment would’ve been deleted post-haste, joking or no, and her IP banned from my blog. NO ONE insults my family on MY blog – the only one with a right to free speech here is me.
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