Remember the human

“Remember the human”, the first commandment of Netiquette by Virginia Shea. In the online world it is very important to remember that you are talking to actual people when you post/comment on social media. This is often something most people learn as they get older as, to my knowledge, there isn’t much education on this during primary school in most countries. In my own experience that’s definitely the case and it took me a long time and many years to mature on the internet, but I learned that it pays off to be nice to people, both in real life and on the internet. Keeping a good tone not only keeps threads/posts/chats from derailing but also gives you more respect from other people, especially if it eventually derails and turns into a “flame war”. Keeping your cool in those situations is of utmost importance in the online world.

The best example is any facebook discussion open to the public, people can discuss in relative peace untill someone starts flaming or calls someone a derogatory term. The entire discussion derails and essentially leads to a thoughtless fight between individuals far from the actual topic. The problem has become worse the past 5 years with people living in their own little bubble on social media only getting confirmation of their bias, like having an entire friend group of yes-men who can only ever agree with you and strengthen your current beliefs no matter how ridiculous they are.

The solution for this problem is quite simple and is hopefully common sense for most people; treat other people on the internet like you would in real life, if you had a discussion in the street, a bar or at a friend’s place you wouldn’t throw around slurs to people you barely / don’t know and derail the discussion. (re-working social media would also help, but is highly unlikely to happen)

Written on April 10, 2021