If you can’t…
When social media first came on the scene, I didn’t see the allure of it. ‘TMI’ seemed rampant and I really didn’t understand how to build a community.
Flash forward, I’m a competent user. Have I launched any global meme’s or been a run away hit? No-not really. Instead, I’ve built a community filled with people with whom I like to interact.
All that being said, when I jumped into the social media pool I made the decision to live by the ‘golden rule‘ – Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. It’s simple really, I do not post things that I can’t stand by. I respect the opinion of others and do my best to be respectful back. If I can’t say anything nice, I don’t say it.
The internet is not as ‘anonymous’ as people think. Court cases of defamation, libel, bullying, and more have been won on people counting on the fact that their Tweets, posts and blogs posts will remain nameless. I just saw a news report the other day how violent fights were erupting due to ‘twitter fights’. A reporter for the New York Times was suspended for four weeks for a Twitter spat that raged into something where no one was a winner. Adrian Chen from Gawker.com exposed one of the most prolific internet trolls, as he followed the story he re-posted a blog entry from John Scalzi discussion regarding free speech and anonymity where Scalzi makes several good points:
- The “free speech” aspect of this is largely nonsense. Reddit is not a public utility or a public square; it’s a privately owned space on the Internet.
- Anonymity/pseudonymity is not inherently evil or wrong.… It’s not anonymity or pseudonymity that’s the issue. The issue is people being assholes while anonymous because they don’t believe it’s ever going to get back to them.
- If at this point in Internet history you think you’re really anonymous/pseudonymous on the Internet, or that you have a right to anonymity/pseudonymity on the Internet, you’re kind of stupid.
I’d like to add to Scalzi’s points, NOTHING on the internet ever goes away or stays hidden. Unless you can wipe out every cache on the planet, what you post will stay around. What we say can impact others for good or bad. Just because you might not be face to face with someone does not give a freedom to post spurious claims or bully other people.
It all boils down to this – if you think you are about to do or say something that will harm someone, picture yourself in their shoes. If you don’t want to hear it or see it, then nobody else does.