Your computer is your Yes Man.
If you are an internet groupie like myself, you visit a lot to see what’s new. You can’t help it; the Internet calls to you with its siren song, similar to Sarah Jessica Parker’s lilting dittie in Hocus Pocus (♪ come little [surfer], I’ll take thee away….into a land of enchantment/♪ come little [surfer], the time’s come to play…here in my garden of magic). You snuggle up close to your computer, listening to its purr as it serves you page after page of beautiful, wonderful Inter—WHAT!? Computer, how could you show me THIS?
You made a face, didn’t you?
You know your computer isn’t to blame. It just brought you what you wanted. You said “more! more!” and it complied. Nevertheless, you make faces at the screen, thinking, “how do I respond to that?” and “THAT was highly inappropriate.” Oh, you use different words, of course, but indignation bubbles up inside you and you find you just cannot gain satisfaction from blaming the messenger. Computer isn’t to blame; it’s that cloud of pixels over there, that spiteful beast who sent those rancid vibes to you on purpose.
STOP. This is the fork in the road.
Making faces and flipping out is the freedom the Internet provides us. But manners, courtesy, reputation, exemplary living and personal pride are all still vital in the wild wild web(c). Last night, a fellow #usguys voice @samfiorella tweeted something that should be tweeted repeatedly throughout the week in Social Media platforms:
Try this: Imagine the person you’re tweeting with is there directly in front of U. Then ask, would I Tweet the same thing? #UsGuys
Remember when blogs, forums and chat rooms were fairly new? How once a community became familiar and tighter-knit, users called “trolls” (or “tr0lls” if you were truly web-immersed) would scamper in to stir the pot and sashay off, satisfied with their shenanigans? It became general wisdom to NOT ENGAGE trolls. You learned to simply ignore or block the offensive pixels instead of satisfying your sheriff instinct.
I’m crushing your head.
Remind yourself that engaging with other users on the internet is like making a scene at the mall. Do you want to be rubbernecked in writing? For….EVER? If you have to air a dispute, make sure it’s worth being spliced into the evening news. Otherwise, practice the time-honored art of making faces at your screen and take a cue from this Kids in the Hall sketch: