Had a bit of a family flame war on Facebook today. Oh, n00bs… So I wrote this letter to my FB friends, old and new alike. Thought I would share it on here too.
I have been an internet nerd for over a decade now and I am excited to see such an influx of those who “aren’t good at computers” joining the connected world.
As a online community person, I know that there is a trajectory that a user goes through, no matter their age, as they are introduced, learn and soon, master this brave new world.
I wanted to take this chance to remind my newbie FB “Friends,” as you climb higher up the ladder of knowledge about these new playgrounds, there are somethings you might take for granted or forget in your haste to assimilate into this new environment:
- Take control and use your blocking and filtering tools. If you don’t like something, almost every site (including FB) has tools to help you not see those things – and you can always leave too.
- FB has very few content rules, meaning anyone can post whatever they like – esoteric, prolific, insane, benign, professional, inspirational, etc – it’s the beauty and drawback of social media.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they WEREN’T mocking you. Maybe YOU read it wrong. Usually, it is text, after all. you don’t have the benefit of body language or tone to help you out.
- You can liken it to a playground for kids – Just because you want to play a fairy tale princess game on the jungle gym, doesn’t mean everyone else does. There are also: kids who want to play tag, kids who want to read, kids who want to kiss up to the teachers, kids who want to tell dirty jokes…
- Don’t be a hater – there are too many of those already in the world online and off. And noone likes them. Anywhere.
- The internet is a relatively public forum. Social networks are a bit more walled, but they are just the same. If you wouldn’t rip on your nephew at the summer bbq, in front of the whole family, don’t do it online. Online is almost worse as it’s now documented.
So, my newbie friends, if it feels like I am giving you a lesson that I would an 8 year old, it’s kind of because I am.
You are new here in this digital space and we will have patience with you while you learn the ropes. But don’t use up your newbie cards to soon, because the internet is like the real world and people will just stop dealing with you here too.
Now if you can’t manage the offline space either…