If you're like me, you spend a great deal of time surfing the web reading everything from the latest weather forecast, to business news, to funny stories about all sorts of things. There's certainly no shortage of information and entertainment on the web, but there sure seems to be a complete shortage of manners!
Want to see the problem for yourself?
The next time you read a great article, scroll down to the comments section and take a look at how people are treating each other. We're not talking about skipping a "please" or a "thank you" here and there. We're talking about full-blown personal attacks to and from complete strangers! Would these people really talk this way in an elevator, in line at the coffee shop, or out at the mall?
No matter how tech savvy we get, the Golden Rule should still apply. Whether you're eating at your favorite diner or posting on your favorite forum, you should be treating others the way you'd like to be treated. The anonymity of sitting behind a screen and using a keyboard instead of your actual voice shouldn't make your manners fall by the wayside.
So, how can you make it easy to mind your manners online - even when you come across a giant-sized jerk?
- Envision your comments being used as "Exhibit A".
Maybe you're responding to comments on your blog. Or, maybe you're chatting on a LinkedIn discussion group. Or, maybe you're having a discussion on your favorite forum. Regardless of the situation, imagine how you would feel if your words were used as "Exhibit A" in a courtroom? Would the jury think poorly of them?
Think before you speak (or, in this case, type). If you'd be embarrassed for the world to see what you're about to type, keep it to yourself!
- Remember that some people are trying to grind your gears.
Maybe it's the joy of hiding behind a keyboard, or maybe it's because everything's written instead of spoken face-to-face. Whatever the reason, some people like to go online and intentionally stir up trouble. So, the next time you see something outrageous and inflammatory in a blog comment or forum post, keep your cool. Letting your manners fly right out the window could be exactly what this person WANTS you to do!
- Pretend like you're having a conversation over lunch.
The web can be a pretty impersonal place. Most of the time, all you get are written words - which are much easier to type from afar than saying something to a person who's in the room with you. So, before you type anything, picture yourself saying your comment to someone over lunch. If you wouldn't say it then, don't say it now!
Above all else, take a hint from Mom - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. It really is that simple!
It truly is, and it's not only Mom that said it. In his article on constructive speech, Wallace D. Wattles wrote:
"Never mention that you dislike any person or thing."
Not only is that the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Why? Read "Constructive Speech" by Wallace D. Wattles to find out. Click or tap the links below to get your copy today.
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