Thursday, 9 February 2006

We interrupt our usual schedule...

Thursday, 9 February 2006
So I can ramble on about some stuff that I've been thinking about for the last couple of days.

This internet thing is amazing when you stop and think. Forget the twisted dark side that we hear about so often (and that AOL seem to want to petrify us with in their TV ads) and think about the people that you have met that you've formed some sort of connection with.

I have friends that I met on the internet, I have people I actively dislike who I've met on the internet. Some of them I've met in real life and still like or dislike as I did before I met them which has led me to think that I can pretty much judge people through their writings on this here www and know that my instincts are right (but I am prepared to be proved wrong of course).

As I have mentioned before I cross stitch. Because of this pasttime I found a bulletin board on the www and became part of an online stitching community about four years ago now. Throughout this four year period I have seen the best and the worst of people on the internet. I have played my own small part in some events, good and bad, and I'm sure there are a number of people out there who have strong opinions about me, also both good and bad.

Sometimes I do sit on my hands and try and ignore things, sometimes I post things that maybe I should have thought twice about but I have never posted something that I didn't totally believe in and I have never posted anonymously about anything. As in real life, if I have something to say, I say it and, if my mouth (or my fingers) get me in trouble then I take the consequences.

However, there are some that use the internet as their personal playground, they have multiple identities, create fictitious personalities, minipulate others, write hateful things and generally abuse the system that we all like to think of as 'nice'.

Take for example eBay. I love eBay, I've bought and sold many, many things on eBay and will continue to do so but it amazes me that people are actually surprised when buyers / sellers are fraudulent. How many people do you know in real life? Now categorise them on a sliding scale of who you'd trust with your life and children and who you'd keep hold of your valuables around.

MILLIONS of people use eBay. If you apply the sliding scale from my last paragraph that means THOUSANDS have the potential to be untrustworthy. So why are we all so surprised when it happens? Yes it's horrible, yes you never want it to happen to you or someone you know but it is a fact of life, like it or not.

Going back to the stitching communities, you can apply the same sliding scales there. Generally, most people are great, friendly, pleasant, trustworthy and all-round good eggs. But still people are surprised when something not so nice creeps in to the daily round of 'look at what I'm stitching'. I'd say the active stitching community that I'm aware of is probably around 800 - 1000 people (mainly women) with maybe that many again who look around but don't join in.

So, put that many people in a room and work out how many you'll get on with. How many will have a different opinion of things to you, how many you'll hate on sight and how many will make no impression on you whatsoever.

This internet thing can bring people together from all corners of the globe but what it can't provide is the tolerance you need to remain part of a huge community and not get upset by someone else's ideas and opinions once in a while.

It can't give you the intelligence to not post something in a public place that is likely to hurt and upset people.

It can't give you the wisdom to stop typing and hit the delete key until you've counted to ten and calmed down.

I'm as guilty as the next person of posting without thinking, I'm sure in the last four years I've upset some people and, whilst I stand by every word I've typed and I've never written anonymously there were times that I might have done things slightly differently if I'd thought about it longer.

But I'm still here, I'm still posting and I hope all of you do to as, even though I may disagree with you, vocally or non-vocally, I still get a kick out of this thing called the internet



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