Words can still hurt, even if you’re just typing them…
So last night’s Ravenwood Radio was a great show as always, and thanks again to Leesha and Steve for hosting such a wonderful webcast! Miss Narrator and I truly enjoy being a part of it, and it’s great to know through all the feedback I get that many other people enjoy our segment too.
So last night, as with pretty much every episode, Miss Narrator and I were listening in and, of course, participating in the chat room, because that’s one of my favorite parts of the Ravenwood Radio experience – that great chat room community. It’s always well moderated of course, and thanks to the excellent work of IcyWiz and the other mods it’s a fun and friendly place to hang out during the live webcast.
Anyway – so last night ‘The Daring Adventures of Ditto’ segment came on and many people cheered (thank you, we love that!), but there were a few who said some pretty negative things, mostly directed at Miss Narrator. I’m not going to say who or what was said, that’s not the point of this. The point is that she was right there, in the chat room, listening along and having a good time participating as these things were said about her. Of course the rest of the chat room immediately jumped to her defense, which she really and truly appreciated, but the initial attacks still stung.
I do a LOT of social media (being the #1 Fabricated American gaming blogger on the web, of course…) and I see this all the time on Facebook and other web forums and communities. People think they can type whatever they want about whoever they want and there’s no consequence, because ‘it’s just Facebook, everybody does it’, and then when there is a backlash there’s the eternal excuse ‘I was only kidding’. But unfortunately, by that point the damage has already been done. ‘Only kidding’ doesn’t really fix it.
So what’s my point? Well, it’s simple, really – if you’re talking to someone, or ABOUT someone, on the internet, always assume other people are going to see it. Always think about what the words really mean – not YOUR interpretation but what the words actually mean to other people reading them. Assume people don’t have the same background or frame of reference that you do, so they aren’t going to understand that you’re ‘only kidding’. Assume any conversation you have online is no different from a conversation you have in the middle of a room full of people who can all hear you. Assume that if you’re saying something bad about someone else, that they WILL find out about it. Think about how YOU would feel if someone said the same thing about you, or your friends, or your mom, or your wife.
‘But they started it!’ – See, I already knew what you were going to say. One benefit of the internet is that if someone ‘starts something’ on Facebook or a forum it’s very easy to walk away. Delete the comment, block the user, or just turn off the computer and step away. We don’t need to make things worse by blasting back and saying something in the heat of the moment that we’ll regret later.
So to close – just because you’re typing something on a computer using the name ‘Elmer Fancypants’ instead of your real name, don’t think that those words are any less ‘real’ than if you were saying them to the person sitting across the dining room table from you. Because actually, they are MORE real – because a lot more people can see them, and it’s very, very hard to take them back once they’re out there.
Thanks for listening…. Be good to one another, and I’ll See you in The Spiral!