flaming vs. appreciative communication

yesterday, thomas from microsoft posted about blog reactions to some of robert scoble’s videos.

to those of you who don’t spend their day swimming around in the blogosphere (perhaps because your online life doesn’t completely consume all your hours?), robert scoble is a prominent speaker, author and blogger, particularly interested in the social aspects of the internet.

so scoble, once again, has the gall to have an opinion. this time he posts a video on his idea that eventually, google will be eclipsed by applications like facebook. the next day, he lets us know about some of the unfriendly reactions to that post.

what is it that drives people to be rude online? of course, i’m not exactly the first person to wonder that, so i’ll give it over to john suler and his “psychology of cyberspace” site. here are some of the reasons why people forget their manners:

you don’t know me (dissociative anonymity)
you can’t see me (invisibility)
see you later (asynchronicity)
it’s all in my head (solipsistic introjection)
it’s just a game (dissociative imagination)
we’re equals (minimizing authority))
personality variables
true self?
self constellations across media
altering self boundary

one thing i’d like to add is that this is not a new phenomenon. can some of you older folks reach back way in your memory now please … yes … there it is: there used to be a thing called “letters” (now sneeringly-endearingly referred to as snail mail).

people have always felt more disinhibited when it comes to writing. i guess that would play to the invisibility, asynchronicity and solipsism alluded to above. benny temkin and niza yanay made a study of this in ‘i shoot them with words’: an analysis of political hate-letters.

what to do about these rude emails? the people from humiliationstudies.org have an interesting suggestion: appreciative emailing. here is their pledge:

i pledge that in all my online communications, whether by way of email, posting to message boards, blogs or completion of any online form or wiki or editing of any website statement, that i will, at all times, honour the following rules:
– communicate online with respect
– listen carefully to others in order to understand their perspectives
– take responsibility for their words and actions
– keep criticism constructive
– respect diversity and be tolerant of differences

yes, i can pledge that.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

(this post was featured in the carnival of better blogging)

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