Do your online interactions bring out the best in you?

Do online interactions bring out the best in you?

I’m fairly new to the online world. Not in using the internet, I actually starting going “online” back in the days of BBS’s, thanks to my childhood friend and neighbor, Dan. But until around the turn of this year I had never actually viewed the internet as a way to make actual personal connections. Prior to this year, I viewed the net as mostly for games, throw in a lot of emailing and social networking sites for friends I made offline, and you have my limited use of it in a nut shell.

But at the beginning of February I joined Free Agent Academy, an online community / school designed to help you start your business. This was the first conscious time that I joined a community online primarily to interact with people I had not first met offline.

Since then I have come across numerous blogs and podcasts that are crammed full of USEFUL, INSPIRATIONAL, and / or ENTERTAINING material. I have also made numerous new contacts with people that I would have never interacted with if not for coming across these people online. Several of these new connections have blossomed into friendships that I am very grateful for.

Of all the interactions with other people, be it through forums, comments, emails, chats, etc I’d say 99.9% have stayed positive and been beneficial. It’s the 0.1% and I want to talk about today.

And not even the 0.1% that I’ve experienced. Because honestly, I REALLY haven’t had very negative experiences online. I think once or twice there was the potential to get into an argument through the net with someone, but I didn’t see the point. So regardless of what was said to me, I let a negative conversation die. If need be, I’ll go so far as to block someone, but that hasn’t had to happen yet.

However, last week I came across two instances of people being unnecessarily rude online at other people’s sites. These two instances are what spurred this post. Both instances revolved around a follower of a blog spewing acid at a blogger. In one case, the follower left a stinging comment condemning the writer, and then explaining how the writer doesn’t live up to another blogger. In the second instance I didn’t actually see the email, but a follower decided they would take the opportunity to verbally dissect and destroy the blogger’s life due to a perceived slight from the blogger (in actuality, the blogger never slighted the follower, the follower simply didn’t read what was actually written, got offended, and then went on the offensive).

To top it off, the follower that left the comment was so BOLD and BRAVE that the comment was left under an “Anonymous” name on the blog.

Now I understand that as a blogger I am putting myself out into the public domain. And in doing this I open myself up to both constructive and petty criticism. Ok, I get that.

But what I want you to think about today is do your online interactions bring out the best in you? When you’re interacting with the online communities you participate in the most, are you providing people with a courteous, respectful you? Or do you just say whatever you want, however you feel the urge, because it’s online. Who care?

Because of your interactions with others online, do people get excited when they find out they’re going to get to meet you personally at an upcoming event? Or are you considering hiring security for yourself because you’re likely to get punched in the face because of vicious comments you make daily?

Do you consciously realize that you are dealing with LIVE HUMAN BEINGS on the other side of your comments or emails, or do you put down the first acidic thoughts you have with the thought of, “Take that you ASS!” when you hit send or post comment?

Because if you are participating online in an attempt to build your community I REALLY hope you make sure that your online interactions ARE bringing out the BEST IN YOU. Not the worst.

So please, please, PLEASE, before you hit send, before you click post, read over what you’re saying and make sure that it’s bringing out the best in you!

~Ivan

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About Ivan Bickett

I want to help people see that there is a better way to conduct business and life. If I can help, let me know.
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8 Responses to Do your online interactions bring out the best in you?

  1. Mary DeMuth says:

    Amen! Such a good reminder for people. With the wall of the Internet between us, we somehow become more brash, and let our kindness filters go. It’s sad. I have been very hurt by comments in the past.

    • Ivan Bickett says:

      Fortunately, I’ve not had any personal run ins with hate mail or overly rude people. I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t do well with criticism… Yeah… something I need to work on.

      Personally, though, I think I come across NICER online. B/c in person I’m fairly sarcastic and blunt. I’ve messed up and put that in emails before and let’s just say it DOES NOT TRANSLATE WELL! So I do my best to cut WAY back on it, so my message is heard, without upsetting someone, or putting them on the defensive and then they ignore me.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mary! I REALLY appreciate it.

      ~Ivan

  2. destinybooze says:

    Unfortunately, there will always be bullies among us. Just like in any other situation, our reaction should be the same. We won’t tolerate it. đŸ™‚

    • Ivan Bickett says:

      How true, Destiny! I just had a conversation about bullies just the past weekend! How to deal with them was the REALLY fun part of the conversation.

      Thanks for taking the time to not only visit, but leave a comment. I REALLY appreciate it!

      ~Ivan

  3. Erin says:

    Great advice! Yes, it can be SO tempting to lose it, especially if you feel like someone is attacking your character. It’s almost as if there are no consequences or like there’s an invisible safety net because you’re not looking the other person in the eye. I see this lot with Facebook, particularly with teens. Bullying, gossip, you name it. And for disgruntled adults? Facebook status updates are the passive aggressive communicator’s safe haven.

    • Ivan Bickett says:

      I definitely think there’s a HUGE disconnect for most people with the internet. It’s like they forget that they are talking to another human being. Just some dumb computer put these thoughts up here so it’s OK for me to take out all MY past problems on it!

      And some people are just mean, the internet is just another way for them to spew their poison.

      As for passive aggressive, that KILLS me! I’m just aggressive (but not necessarily in a bad way). I always do my best to only say things online that I would be willing to say to your face. Again, my online presence is typically more tame than I would be face to face, because in actual personal interactions you’ll be able to see my body language and my smirks and know how to take what I say. B/c again, I can be a little sarcastic at times.

      And I really appreciate you stopping by, Erin! Let me know if I can help you out in any way or if you have any questions.

      Thanks.

      ~Ivan

  4. Alana Mokma says:

    great post, Ivan! Sometimes it is pretty tempting to lash out, but you make a great point – what you share online is what people know of you until they meet you in person… and then that meeting either confirms their preconceived ideas or at best makes others wonder who is the “real” you. thank you for sharing đŸ™‚

    • Ivan Bickett says:

      Alana! Thanks for visiting.

      CRAP! I just realized I have not replied to your email. I’m awful. I’ll try and do better!

      And that’s the thing, I have seen and actually KNOW people who are one way online and a completely different way in person. They use online to get out their venom and to dish out the pains they have been dealt in everyday life. But why? Why not be the same person both places? Why not be a BETTER person online than you are in person, then your everyday self will improve to catch up. Ok. I might be dreaming there, but I’m ok with that.

      Thanks for being so AWESOME! Looking forward to meeting you at the Speak it Forward Boot Camp.

      ~Ivan

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