Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thumper's Rule for On-Line Etiquette

When I am researching a topic, or helping a client with a communication plan, I often research the on-line chatter to discern what the issues might be that are not often communicated in formal communications, like news releases. Reading some of these comments can be akin to watching a train wreck.

These days, there are thousands of ways to get an opinion out there in the blink of an eye. I am often taken aback by what people will say without understanding the impact their words might be having.

Expletives are not the worst of it. I have read comments that people should be fired or publicly humilated in some way.  The comments that make me wince are those that demand we end a person's life, or assume people are lazy and deserving of suffering.

In the world wide web of never ending access to information and communication, it is important to remember that what we say on-line lives on forever, and chances are, the commenter does not have the full picture at hand to make an intelligent, helpful comment.

Regardless of the fact that we may be interacting with the world in a room by ourselves with a computer and keyboard or a 1 x 2 square inch screen on a smart phone, it is important to remember that we are all connected as people and what we say may be personal and hurtful to someone. I wonder if the people who leave these comments would say the same thing if the person they were affecting was sitting in front of them.

There is a rule of thumb in communication that I learned when I was about five years old.  It precedes the Internet and it goes like this:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all".  - Thumper


Anonymous said...

Amazing how your childhood VHS has come back and how true that Thumper says it all.The Social Media is brutal.Rude,demeaning comments would never be made "face to face".

Lynn Armstrong, Lynear Thinking said...

We actually had the record which we listened to at bed time, and we would get to go see the movie at Thom Collegiate on Saturday morning movie matinee. Now you know that I was born before 1980.