Disclaimer time: For the most part, I've encountered nothing but great folks in the blogosphere, and am constantly amazed with the kindness, generosity and just plain niceness of the people I've "met"...but there are always exceptions to the rule....this post is about those exceptions. Nobody reading this should take it personally, as it is not meant as an attack on anyone I know, or anyone who reads my blog, however, if it hits close to home...well, then maybe you should look within, and ask yourself why. End of disclaimer.
So, here's the thing, I've had something on my mind for a bit now, and I think it's time I get it off my chest. Ready? Okay (said like a cheerleader, clapping her hands)...
What is it about the internet that causes so many folks to lose sight of their manners? Is it the security of anonimity, or is it that in real life they're actually that rude as well?
I ask this because something happened recently in an internet setting that I was witness too. It did not affect me directly, but as an indirect observer I was shocked at the crass manner it was handled by an individual against another (or group of others). Without getting into many details, because I really don't want to put anyone on the spot or call anyone out, plus, what I'm talking about is not necessarily anything most (if any) of you have anything to do with, I'll just tell you that it had nothing to do with those "spam" or anonymous comments that are rampant throughout the blogosphere. This was an entirely different situation. The point is, after I read the exchange, I couldn't help but wonder if this particular individual would actually use that tone of voice (the implied tone of voice in the written message) and those exact words were this a face to face situation. If so, then I have sympathy for those who know and deal with this individual on a daily basis, and I feel a bit for the person as well, because how sad to go through life so unaware of the cloud of gloom they create. But if not, (and I want to believe this to be closer to the truth), then what is it about the internet that allowed "the ugly" if you will, to come out of an otherwise rational being?
The thing is, with this particular individual, this is not the first time I've had a negative reaction to their "written" word. There have been several occasions where I have been taken back and thought to myself "wow, that was rude", so perhaps, it is the person, and not the context.
Still, this isn't about one individual, they were just the catalyst for my line of questioning. See, in this day and age of technology, when we do spend a lot of our time emailing, text messaging, and blogging our thoughts to one another, something has been lost in the art of etiquette and manners.
If I send you an email in which I am telling you about my weekend, and I ask a few questions, or share a few anecdotes, and you respond with an email that ignores everything I told you, and proceeds to tell me only about your weekend...something is lost there, isn't it? I always make it a point to address everything you've said in an email to me FIRST, before I move on to the portion of my email where I tell you about me. This is how a conversation flows, right?
If I send out an invitation to a party, via email, and ask that you RSVP, and then receive confirmation that you have indeed read my email, but don't receive a response from you until you show up at my party that night...well, that's just inappropriate, isn't it?
If we are having a discussion through written means, and something I say doesn't sit quite right with you, knowing the dangers of misinterpretation in the written word, do you get mad and write me off, or do you question what I truly meant? In person, you would have asked me "well, what the hell does that mean?" wouldn't you? Why is it any different in writing?
If we are text flirting (ah yes, you knew I'd come to this at some point) and you ask if I want to see you this weekend (already breaking some unwritten rule, because who asks a person out on a date via text anyway?) and I tell you I have plans already for this weekend...do you text me back (at the very least) with alternate plans, or do you fall off the face of the earth, sulking in your corner? (FYI, yes, we are speaking of Lawboy here, no, I have not heard from him since the week of New Year's, and no, I don't really care, I'm just using this as an example of the downfall of etiquette).
There are so many other ways in which I have witnessed a disregard for the basic decency of treating your fellow man and woman, these are just a few examples. The question is...why? How is it that we have allowed basic manners to fall by the wayside simply because we are at our keyboards, instead of sitting at a dinner table? And how can we fix it? Because technology is only getting to get grander, and infiltrate our lives more and more each day. So, how do we keep ourselves from becoming a generation of humans who show no respect for each other?
I don't have the answers, I only know what I can personally do as my part...what do you think?