As people become more and more accustomed to being online, there are so many things that we can do. We can connect with old friends, shop from the convenience of home, and do just about everything and more. Along with these good things, there are obviously bad things, too. One of my biggest concerns and deepest fears is the behavior I see happening online. A behavior of passive aggressiveness. A behavior of insult without concern of the consequence or even the hurt caused to others. Today I want to share with you some tips on how to behave when online and how to think before you act.
*Think before you speak. Period. It’s always good to give yourself at least a few seconds to consider what you say or do prior to saying or doing it. A few seconds can save you a lifetime of regrets in many situations.
*Consider the other person(s). Remember that the person (or persons) you’re talking to online are REAL people. They may stand behind a blog or Facebook page, but they’re real people. They are someone’s mother. Someone’s son. Someone’s parent. A PERSON. Despite what they’ve done or are doing, they still deserve to be treated like a real, living person. Because they are.
*Consider your own feelings. It’s easy to focus on how you feel and any hurt that you may be feeling. There is also the flip side to this- how would YOU feel if someone responded to YOU in the way you plan on responding. Would it offend you? Would it hurt you? In the same regard, keep in mind that we can base and excuse everything on feelings alone. If this was the case, many of us wouldn’t stay married past this first year because we don’t always “FEEL” in love.
*Ask if you’re helping or hurting. Is what you’re saying offering any advice or helping in any way at all? If what you’re saying is being sad to simply hurt someone, it’s not worth it. We should never say something just to hurt someone else, no matter how bad they make us feel. When we hurt someone else due to hurt they’ve caused us, it doesn’t make us any better. It just puts us on a level playing field, making what we’ve done no better than what they’ve done.
*Ask how you would treat this person in a face-to-face conversation. So much passive aggressiveness is based on the fact that you will never, ever see this person. Further more, they don’t seem “real” because you don’t know them. Well, my advice is this. Pretend like you’re going to see the person the next day at work or this Sunday at church. If you couldn’t bear the idea of running into them knowing you said or did something to them, then don’t do it. If you wouldn’t treat a “real” person like that, don’t treat an online person like that.
*Think about the model you’re setting. We ALL have someone that looks up to us, whether we know it or not. Would we want someone else to act the way we’re planning to be? I would imagine not in most cases and would advise you to change your mind on a decision you’re making before you set an example for others to follow.
These are my bits of advice for online behavior. Any suggestions?