We live in a digital, connected, age and more of our lives are being spent online. For a growing number of people, this is their main source of communication, information or entertainment.
Please don’t get me wrong. This is a wonderful thing, and opens the door to an incredible amount of opportunities and experiences. There is, however, a dark side of which we need to be aware. Thankfully, with a little effort, we can do something about it.
The problem stems from how we regard the time we spend online. For some it provides a space in which they can take a break from their daily lives and adopt a new persona, in effect becoming someone else. In person someone might be polite and respectful, only to adopt an online alter ego through which they vent their pent-up frustration anonymously. It”s the lack of empathy in these online interactions which is worrying.
It”s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment but we must always strive to treat others with respect. Regardless of whether we are communicating and interacting with them online or in person. Growing up, we are taught to treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated. It is now more important than ever that we remind ourselves of this.
We all have the power to brighten up the world around us and to bring happiness, but it is through our interactions with others that we can achieve this.
We all have frustrations and annoyancestors which build within us, but there are better outlets for this, such as exercising or spending time outdoors in nature.
Our ultimate aim should be to leave a positive impression on everyone with whom we interact. It is simply not possible to do this every single time, but that does not mean that we should not at least try. We should aim to;
- Be mindful that there is a real person on the other end of every interaction or conversation. You are communicating with a human being who has feelings which can be hurt by your angry comments.
- In your online interactions, only say that which you would be prepared to say in person, if the two of you were to meet.
- Be yourself (unless, of course, you are an entertainer, actor, comedian, musician…). Drop the alter-ego and just be you. This opens the door for genuine interactions which could lead to wonderful new places.
- Be kind. You have no idea what demons others are fighting, and how much of a positive impact they might experience after some positivity or encouragement from you.
One thing, above all, worth bearing in mind is the permanence of our online interactions. Increasingly, a prospective client, employer, business partner or date will turn to Google and carry out a quick search of our name in order to get a feel for who we are before meeting in person. So don’t sabotage your future success by saying something online, just to vent your frustratons, which you would never say in person.