Your Mother Said So.

So there seems to be an epidemic of people apologizing for something they said on the internet and seeing as how I was in that same chair a few weeks ago (and yesterday too….whee!)…let me help y’all out.

I have some rules that I made back when I first got on the internet back in the mid-90′s when chat rooms were not nearly as fancy as they are now. As long as I’ve followed them, then I don’t piss off the people in the life I have when my iPhone is not attached to my hand, or my computer glued to my lap. (This life is also known as “reality”.)

I’ve amended them several times, with the invention of social media and leaving AOL….but without further ado, the rules you should follow if you use the internet ever (and do it, because your momma will thank you):

  1. If you wouldn’t say it directly to the person’s face, don’t put it on the internet. THIS INCLUDES EMAIL.
  2. Read what you post/email/tweet before you send it. Would you say this out loud into a megaphone in a crowd full of people?
  3. Don’t email/tweet/post angry. If you want to, write it out and put it in your draft folder. Calm down, and then re-write.
  4. Messenger is a horrible thing. Don’t use it unless you really have to. Instant communication is a great way to instantly tell someone you think they’re an asshole and then instantly regret it.
  5. Don’t do the internet while drunk. Then you wake up the next morning and find webcam pictures of your boobs and have a hard time explaining to your mother what a webcam is and those are not really your boobs.
  6. Don’t send naked pictures to anyone you’re not married to. Unless that’s your thing. Then you go. Otherwise, make sure you delete that ish off of his hard drive before you break up with him.
  7. Don’t ever assume that nobody else can read your emails. Inevitably you screw up and leave your email or your Facebook or your Twitter open and that communique that you worked so hard to keep from whomever is right there on their computer screen and then they’re irrevocably angry at you.
  8. Not everyone has a sense of humor.
  9. Tone is hard to read in the written word. If you’re being sarcastic or pissy (i.e. “Would it be illegal if I kicked someone in the face?”) make sure to say so. (“I would never actually do this. But I just want to know for future reference.”)
So just to review – if you’re questioning if what you’re about to hit “Send” or “Post” on might get people to hate you in your real life, don’t do it. Sleep on it.
Also, don’t worry about pissing off the trolls on the internet. They’re inevitable and just a sign that you’re awesome.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Crystal
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 13:50:14

    Good advice! Had this kind of thing on my mind the last few days, too.

    Reply

  2. ARDELLd
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 14:18:59

    I boiled it down to one simpler rule. Do everything in your life as if the people you care about are watching it on a webcam. The people you don’t care about? Well we have to vent somewhere. :)

    Reply

  3. kitchenmudge
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 14:26:32

    Many people draw up rules about using email and similar media. The one I have the most trouble getting people to understand is:

    Plain Text. Google it if you don’t know what I mean.

    Learn it. Use it. Live it. Love it.

    You might have to figure out how to change a default on your email client. Boo hoo.

    Reply

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