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why what you say in a private message may show more of who you are…

I have a good friend that teaches at a US University. He teaches a course called “online ethics.”  Every time he starts a new class he gives a quiz in the first minute of the class to the students. That usually causes a lot of consternation and concern from the students. In the eight years he has taught the class he has had more than 3000 students take the class. Only 140 have passed the first quiz. When he passes them back out on the second day, he tells the students that the quiz won’t count against them. He just wanted to establish a baseline. He wanted to understand where the students were about the concept of online ethics.

His first lesson is who you are.

It is one that I strive towards, and I know I fail. I struggle with the application of fairness in the online world often. I let that influence my responses.

In part I am limited, due to restrictions I cannot talk about, I can’t say some things online.

His second lesson is what you send privately is an indicator of the real you.

That one scares me. He has done studies for the past ten years, in that time my friend has found that people often comment publically one way, but privately they are very different in what they send and say.  He talks about different styles that people understand when sharing online. The reason for our conversation is that he reads my blog (not Virily) and has noticed a couple of things.

First, he said my idea to switch to funny stories was a good one. I had to tell him it wasn’t my idea. He said to share with the person (Ghostwriter) that focusing on happy things is a really good way to move forward.

The second thing he said was that I should be more transparent.

I asked him what he meant by that. He and I have talked many times about some of the messages I’ve gotten here on Virly and MyLot and back in the day on Niume. He talked about the fact that I try to help people regardless of the impact on me. That I let people send me messages that are offensive and mean, and I don’t do anything about them, and that isn’t healthy. He reminded me of the reality of online ethics. It is my responsibility to be the best me whenever.

I showed him some of the Virily posts (we were in an online meeting). He enjoyed the site and the posts of the authors I often read.

Then I showed him some of the private messages I have gotten. He was shocked. First at how many people reach out for help. But also the messages send by some authors that were not nice.

He said you should share those.

I am not, but I’ve decided going forward that I will share messages sent privately and on other platforms by authors if the message does not meet the standard of asking for help, or arguing nicely about a post I’ve made. If they make nasty or personal attacks against me I am going to share those messages.

My friend is getting ready to publish his initial findings. One of the things I learned during our conversation was saying I am Sorry still matters.

  • Question of

    Have you ever posted a comment you regretted?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Say what you mean, but mean what you say right?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you keep emails sent that hurt your feelings?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Did you know Virily had a private message function?

    • Yes
    • No

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Written by DocAndersen

One fan, One team and a long time dream Go Cubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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