Hello, friends. This post is rather atypical of what I usually write about. But I thought it was very relevant in our associations with people on the Internet–particularly in a social setting.. In a roundabout way, this would apply to communicating with other writers, agents and publishers. I thought it was important because I see so much of it. I’m sure you do too.
Drawing a comparison to penpals and dating sites:
So you found somebody you like on the Internet. That other person likes you. You just started something wonderful that excites and fulfills you. You might even develop a symbiotic love for each other. A man might be searching for that electronic girl friend. You know, a cyber cutie–an email female–that pixel princess? A woman might be looking for that goofy Gmail guy, that Internet intellectual, that cuddly computer hunk.
Why is it that we can say the meanest and most cruel things to each other in Internet emails? Words that sting, doubt, question, threaten, accuse, belittle–name your poison. It’s because we think we can spout off and avoid any confrontation. We don’t need to own our words. We are detached. Even phone calls to potential mates can become heated and cause disagreements, ending in short or long-term rejection. The calamity can happen quickly, unexpectedly. It can happen as a result of a simple miscommunication. A few words interpreted the wrong way can start a firestorm of anger and hatred. You can commit a word-slip and hurt someone’s feelings without knowing it. So it is with a social media setting. Only it could involve regular posters, comments, and private messages. We’ve all been attacked in one form(um) or another. I know that I have taken some insufferable abuse online. I’ve been stalked–hunted down like some dog that needs to be shot. It tore me to pieces. Being critically ill, the last thing I need is misplaced and deliberate damnation from a friend or even someone I hardly know.
It helps if you remember that people always look for the best in others regardless of most circumstances. All human beings seek peace—they all want shelter, sustenance, good health and a loving family. These are universal expectations and truths that every human being on this planet strives for. We are all connected, like an umbilical cord that has not been severed. Like a mother and baby, we can feed off each other and attain the nourishment of life. The more we feed, the more we grow.
Here’s no surprise: people deal with each other exceptionally well face-to-face. They are too busy scoping out characteristics and admiring the presence of another, hopefully seeking out an interesting human being. They are polite and respectful, and desirous of learning and becoming close to the other person. They oft times want to share and travel. They are curious about the wonders of life’s nature and feel comforted when they search out the wonders together. BTW, nature is a prime magnet for discovery. Wonder and discovery brings people together in such an innocent vein. People don’t do so good when they are physically detached from each other. There is a massive hole in the relationship. The love and respect core is missing. The Information Highway can have some disastrous head-on collisions.
Contra-wise, there is a certain thrill upon meeting your virtual friend/s face-to-face. It is the last step in the process of bonding together, and it is necessary to complete the cycle. It is crucial. True, unconditional love cannot flourish unless two bodies meet and merge in a slow and mutual relationship. People can read magical compatibility in the eyes of another. The eyes never lie. Without meeting in the flesh, you are blind and unaware of spiritual truth. “What God has brought together, let no man separate.” That means a physical union where it is eventually intended, friends. And guess what? Two souls can merge into each other and plug up some very big holes. Disputes can be settled easily if a calm dialogue is opened up.
Some of the worst case insults and fights I’ve seen are in the comment sections on the YouTube movie or documentary channels. Take your pick, it could be any movie network or discussion site. I’ve never seen more foul and racist language than I have on these commentary sites. It’s the lowest, dirtiest swearing I’ve ever seen/heard. It can be two groups of posters–the pros vs the cons. It can be group swarm attacks on a few or individual posters. You could swear that the floodgates of hell have opened up and let loose. What kind of damaging effects can this have on someone’s psychological persona? It can have a devastating effect, even terminal. We have all heard of the cyber-bullying that has taken place within the younger crowd and resulted in suicides. This is how deadly the freedom of speech issue can evolve. Notwithstanding, the depression and anxiety it causes can contribute to existing terminally ill afflictions and depression.
My suggestion to all of you on the electronic airwaves is to be kind, understanding and tolerant of your friend/friends, even though they might raise the bristles on the back of your neck. If things begin to break down because of suspicion and mistrust, stop right there and discuss the problem honestly and out in the open with gentle, soothing, kind words. Discussion is the triage for minor or major differences. Or would you prefer a major trauma when things have gotten too far out of hand? The choice is yours. If you don’t confront your differences in good spirits, you might lose the potential love or friend of your life. The other alternative is to ignore the comments completely, and this is sage advice for bad reviews and nasty comments on Amazon. Us poor writers!
Sending explicit photographs through the airwaves is a whole different ballgame, but it falls within the territory of censorship and invasion of privacy. Just don’t do it. Both women and men use this tactic to draw favoritism, in such a twisted way, that it is insulting, crude and lewd. This isn’t the kind of example adults should set for the little ones or the underage.
Try laughter and jokes to salve some of your disagreements. Humor takes the edge off and delivers some needed comedy relief…Or else? Or else you might end up needlessly heartbroken and feeling alone. Learn to forgive and heal. Redemption is a precious commodity that everyone can afford. It costs nothing to put love and kindness first over mistrust and negativity. Remember the song: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”, theme from Blast to the Past. Yeah, corny.
Live easy and love hard.