Online ettiquette... It's a serious thing.
I know it's stupid to think about sometimes, but seriously, how you present yourself online determines how people on the internet see you. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it should be. But sometimes, people don't realize how rude they sound when they say certain things. When you're typing up an opinion, a review, or just a comment, remember that your words are just coming out in black and white. They're representing you without a smile or personality or anything. They're just there. And you're just waiting to see if they've been interpreted correctly or not.
I think maturity helps. When we can acknowledge our faults and shortcomings, it's easier to have a more gentle online persona. But when we don't... when we think that we are coming off as perfect 100% of the time... we're losing sight of the fact that what we've lost a huge percentage of what we meant to say in translation. What we type isn't always what we mean or how we mean it. It is what it is, and we have to pray it depicts the person we want depicted.
I'm pretty secure in my online persona. I think I've got enough of me in it to say that this is really who I am, but I've also left a lot of me out of it so that it remains professional on some level. Yeah. The person typing this is grumpy, frequently moody, and almost always hungry. But I refuse to let the really bad parts of me online because who cares what I'm like when I'm in a bad mood? You want to know what I'm like when I'm sane.
Sometimes, I don't even know who "you" are. Heck, a lot of the time I don't know who "you" are. And that's okay. Because my online persona doesn't care. She just wants to converse and speak her mind and get to know your online persona. But I've got to tell you, some people have really mean online personas, and it's like they can't even see how ugly they are. How do you tell someone, "You're rude," without flat-out saying it? How do you gently give them the nudge-nudge so they know to quit being so much of themselves long enough for you to enjoy their online presence?
It's something I'm struggling with today because some people are vicious. They don't even know who I am and they're vicious. They can't seem to see themselves, but they're vicious! And I, admit, I almost let it get to me, today, but you know what? I'm not vicious. Not in my real-life and not on the internet.
Why should I waste my time bringing someone I don't know down? Why would I try to hurt someone who isn't going to be in my life when I log off? Why would I attack someone who has lived and will live the rest of their lives without ever seeing my face? I wouldn't. I won't. And I never ever have.
But some people do. Some people will continue doing this until they figure out what's hardening their hearts. Because the only reason they're coming after me is because they haven't found "them" yet. And I can't be mad at people who are so confused within themselves that they don't know how to escape their own hardness.
I'm bigger than that, and I hope you'll be too. Make a pledge to be kind to someone online this week!