Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
Home PageSend Comment

Internet Rudeness

On Not Being Courteous

The other day, my sister sent me a nice email with a question. Well, I responded with the answer and hit the "Send" button before I had realized that I didn't even ask how she was doing or what was going on in her life. Where were my manners?

It is pretty jarring when I think about it, but since communication via the Internet is so efficient, it almost starts to border on rude. We can quickly get information from someone else so easily that we often forget the little rituals of conversation that make human communication so pleasant…

Granted, if I began every email with the formal introductions of the 1800's, I'd never be able to get through the hundreds of email I get a day. However, if I haven't talked to a friend or family member in quite some time, I would prefer some niceties prior to the request (the purpose of the email).

Perhaps the Internet will get us used to less and less formal manners to the point, where it will be overly formal to begin an email with, "Hello." I guess we'll have to see.

On Being Mean

What is it that makes people on the Internet behave so badly. I'm not talking about hackers or perverts in the IRC channels… I'm talking about how someone will say things through email or on a website they they would never say to them in person.

The internet has a de-humanizing effect, I suppose.

It is the same behavior we see on highways. People, enclosed in a contained box, will yell, honk and shoot other "cars" and wouldn't if they ran into the person on the street.

Is this because the "other" is not human? That is, it is a car or a website, and not a person. Or is it because we can not see their minute facial expressions that give us feedback before we even finish our sentence?

Or do we feel more than human (Nietchze's super-man) when we are empowered in a huge SUV or masked behind an email address?

Sometimes I just want to say to people, "Do you send messages to your mother with that email account?"

Tell others about this article:
Click here to submit this page to Stumble It