Let me more specific...WTF with Bad Internet Manners?
Does anyone have any manners anymore? Seriously...I may say "f#*k" too much but I know how to set a mean table and always haul out the Emily Post behavior when required. And I have been sure to teach my spawn the same--though he is still challenged by proper spoon placement, but I digress. Call me old-fashioned but isn't there a "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule for the internets? Or at least a five-second rule? Like if someone drops a thought on social media, shouldn't you wait five seconds to pick it up? OMG it could have kooties!
It is my opinion that people, lots of people, say things on-the-pomcuter-interwebs-with-the-keyboarding-fingers that they could:
1. choose to say privately or
2. choose to ponder before the-keyboarding-of-the-fingers or
3. choose NOT to say at all
I personally believe any of those three are a better option than being a flame throwing internet DB. Sorry...
I am still stunned when I see this on social media. People (adult-like people) who you know in person, who seem fairly aware, intellegent and even nice, suddenly and inexplicably say stuff you can't ever imagine them saying in person. I am obviously naive because I am stunned into 'Scooby Doo' face every single time I see/read it. Look, I'm not saying that we have to be perfect or not express opinions or censor ourselves, I'm simply asking where is the civility? Where. Are. The. Manners?
I think the screen creates a weird sense of separation from others when we typify our thoughts, criticisms or opinions. And that separation can make it easier to be mean-er, unkind-er, or express-ier than we would if we had to deal with the consequences of saying them to someone in person. It makes us less mindful. With no immediate consequence to deal with or, armed with the ability to just delete a response we don't like, we blurt. We react rather than thinking the statement through. This also speaks to the much larger issue of how technology isolates us from each other rather then bringing us closer. But that's a different, more involved blog.
I have a general guideline...if something you say online has a significant enough impact on me or I have a question about it, I am going to call you. On the phone machine. I rarely respond to things of personal importance with an email. I'm not saying never, just very rarely, in specific circumstances. I would rather deal with the conflict and hammer it out than deal with texts or emails. If I don't respond at all...well...
So is this about right speech practice? Is it ahimsa? Is it right thought? Is it satya? Yes, yes, yes and yes, and it's a whole bunch of other things too. But to simplify, doesn't it just come down to plain old good manners? Or...with vulgarity, just don't be a dick.
Thanks for your attention. I'll return to my regularly scheduled Buddhist practice now.