Friday, April 04, 2003

The Dangers of the Internet: I'm not talking about spam, popup ads, or the sudden appearance of porn when go to visit a site for a company that is now defunct and someone else decided to take up residence. I'm talking about the threats found in chat rooms, bulletin boards, and blogs. This is a very sneaky danger. One that most people might not even realize is there. It's the evil of judgment and assumption. When I first stumbled into chat rooms six years ago, I realized very quickly that I used a certain persona in them. I was often prone to be sarcastic and cynical and quick to play Devil's Advocate. I do have those traits at times, but they are not the primary components of my personality. Since I realized that, I tried to make an effort to have my interactions in these internet communities be more accurate representations of myself. But I know it still never works completely. And, of course, then you have the product of this Internet evil: misunderstanding. People will pounce on one thing you wrote and run to the ends of the Earth with it. And then ignore everything else you've said - even though the words are right there, plain as day. This happened at Melanie's BB today. I relayed my experience as a military brat, two posters took it be gospel for what every military brat must do. I then said in clear terms that it was only my experience. And it was ignored.

These two dangers of the internet often make me wonder exactly what people think of me, what pigeon-holes they've thrust me in to sort out the multitudes of posters and chatters and bloggers, what label they've given me so they can put me in the "read her stuff," "ignore her stuff" piles. And, of course, it makes me wonder how accurately I've made the same judgments and assumptions.

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