The Internet is an amazing place. You can log onto your e-mail and find you got a facebook message from your old pal in high school about an offer to meet up at a place you can fin on mapquest and drop by a blog to see some reviews of the restaurant.
But there is a seedy side to the internet (and no I'm not talking about all the porn or Trekkies). What you had to do before in face to face you are more and more able to do hiding behind a screen and the words "anonymous."
Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of discussion. Sometimes I like to play devils advocate just to see if I can understand better another persons view of life (though I do have my limits). I have an unquenchable curiosity and fascination with things I just can't experience (I annoy my poor husband to death trying to understand the male side of things). It's also rather boring to just see the same "That's great" over and over again when you were hoping for some discussion.
But there's a right way and a wrong way to offer up criticism. It's one thing if someone has created or posted something and needs honest opinions on how to tweak it or if they need help, it's another when he just make a simple comment on his life and dreams to have someone come in and piss all over it.
We seem to more and more forget that it isn't 1's and 0's on the other end of that Ethernet cable, but a real person. Someone with emotions that just got trounced all over because "anonymous" felt as though his opinion was more important than empathy.
Sure sometimes you may not realize you just crushed someones spirit by being a bit too blunt and misunderstandings take place (the written word can never replace body language especially when humor is involved), but when someone takes the time to log out so they can be "anonymous" to say something mean spirited they know what they are up to. Mr. "Anonymous" knows they want to cut someone down to size to make him feel better.
I had that recently happen in one of my comments (in the last post I would have ever suspect, I figured the cheese one would have brought much more bile from those anti-dairy pirates), but it wasn't about me. Instead it was about someone who had no way to defend herself as this is not her blog and I doubt she's much aware of the post I made for her. The fact that this person felt they had to hide themselves in order to state their hurtful opinion speaks volumes in my mind.
Some blogs enforce a comment policy. I really don't want to do that. About the only thing I go out of my way to delete are crystal clear ad posts (they've gotten rather creative as of late with some coupon site). I want to encourage anyone who is stopping by and doesn't have a blogger account to feel safe to leave something and know if won't get lost in the shuffle (I also had no idea I had that evil word verification turned on til Jenna pointed it out, it never showed up for me when I left comments. Go figure).
So this post is my little warning, play nice and get along or I shall be forced to get out the big stick.
And if you do have something mean to say, have some fortitude to link it back to your own blog and name. No more hiding behind a mask of "anonymous" because as much as we'd all like to think we're internet ninjas IP address are incredibly easy to trace.