Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Coward By A Cyber Name is a Bully or a Troll

Anne R. Allen's recent blog post The 10 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette for Writers got me thinking about how the Internet is the quintessential double edge sword. For every brilliant, cool mind-boggling advance there's a foolish, nasty, or dishonest person waiting (and in my imaginings drooling and sweating profusely) in the wings to take advantage. 

For example, I love the ability to use my debit card instead of having to carry cash. I love spending minutes paying my bills electronically as opposed to the hours I spent reviewing my paper bank statements, writing checks and addressing envelopes. The amount of time I save, not to mention having up to date data about my bank and investment accounts (the sorry state of my investment accounts is another, and much more tragic, story),has created for my household, a much smoother and easier state of affairs. 

The problem is that every time I pay a bill online or use my debit card, I'm at risk of having my identity stolen, my bank accounts empties, my credit ruined, sending my husband and me homeless, penniless, and tragic onto the street, which is not a good look for me. 
Whoops, as usual I've weaved so far out off topic, my wheels are spinning. What I want to discuss is the bizarre abundance of neo-sadists, or would they be new age sadists? Who knows. I call them cowardice creeps among other names further down (or up depending on your viewpoint) the ratings scale.

What other term should we give to those who viciously attack a classmate, old boy/girlfriend or even a complete stranger while hiding under the veil of anonymity.  

I teach a technical writing class to college students and on the very first class day, I discuss the perils of the internet. I also give them three tenets I like to call Gabby's Guides to a Stress Free E-Existence. 

These are:

1. Your comments, pictures, reviews, posts last forever so think before you press the enter key. 
2. If you had to put your name after your post would you still write it? If not, erase and move on. 
3. Remember the golden rule - Do unto others as you wish to be done to you. 

We all need to remember these three simple rules. Please, before you post anything, remember there is a living, breathing, feeling human being on the other side of that comment and follow my simple tenets.


January Bain said...

Very good advice, Gabriella, same as I give to my own students! Best, january

January Bain said...

Very good advice, Gabriella, same as I give to my own students! Best, january

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

This is so true. It's easy as you are exchanging information with a new "friend" to forget the world is watching.

And when did it become out of date to be kind.