There are endless benefits to being online, in our world top of that list is it makes the world a smaller place. Having the ability to Skype family and have them in the room with you is a million times better than seeing them once a year! Then there is the bringing together and keeping in touch with friends that just wouldn't happen based on today hectic schedules for all its faults Facebook has revolutionised our world.
Then there is work, can you imagine a day at work without the internet? I struggle to imagine a day without email – in fact my current job would not exist without the internet – imagine eLearning without the ‘e’. I’d be back in front of a classroom – how old school :)
There are of course the downsides. The fact that you actually have to physically take yourself away from technology to be away from the internet and it’s constant incessant chatter. It’s almost strange how it is now so ingrained in us that we can happily lay in bed checking updates without it ‘over exciting our brains’. Remember when there was all the publicity about how you should turn your TV and computer off at least half an hour before bed to let your brain calm down?! How are our brains no longer overloaded by this anymore?
The other downside is the hatred and anger that is so often easily put into the world via email, tweets, posts, texts etc! Can you imagine a day when you felt angry or annoyed and had to confront someone face to face to sort it out? It wasn't all that long ago - right?!
It was this example that actually reminded me to write this post. I weirdly started it a month ago after a discussion L&I had on car journey but then promptly forgot to finish it. It was round the time of this: Is it ever appropriate to hate love? We were surprised at the level of hatred and abuse. It’s the same when I get a work email (maybe not on the same level) but the rudeness of some people really surprises me. What surprises me more though is the fact that these are perfectly nice people in real life. We’ll never know with half the commentators on FB posts but my money is on the fact that they would never say half the stuff they write.
Maybe some of them should follow these simple rules:
I guess the ability to be ‘Anon’ is also a benefit in these cases. Often we’ll have an Anon question and they aren't complimentary, in our world though Anons are easy to ignore and delete, move on we don’t know them but imagine if we were young(er) and impressionable – it’s horrible to think about.
Recently there was an article about ‘Online bullying has more than doubled within the last year, with 35 per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds becoming victims of such abuse, a new study finds.’ Source: http://www.channel4.com/news/cyber-bullying-teens-online-snapchat-tinder-ranti-bullying
The problem is when individuals aren’t caught then there is nothing to stop them from continuing. It’s why I always like to see people standing up for each other on feeds when something mean or down right idiotic is said. I am still reeling from ‘Stone the gays’ put on a WEDDING website – who goes round thinking that stuff?!
In my Mum’s world her ability on a phone when making a complaint has seen her rewarded with things that we would have never been achieved going through an ‘email complaints form’. It turns out companies (in the main) appreciate being told about their mistakes and having the chance to apologise if you speak to them rather than sending angry TYPED comments. It's obvious when you think about it but how quick are you to jump online? I know for sure that Twitter is definitely a place for us to vent and sometimes I feel bad about it. Although it has helped us get results in many situations by getting companies to CALL us to discuss the issue!
This advert I see on the tube every day also got me thinking and I now try to force (as nicely as possible) my customers to meet me face to face if they have any issues. It’s amazing the difference it can make.
It has also helped in a relationship sense. In our world we Skype, WhatsApp and text, we rarely pick up the phone and talk and it is amazing how a lack of tone in text can take an innocent comment and turn it into something else – mainly sarcasm in my case – and how quickly that can turn into an entire misunderstanding. So now we are trying to avoid silly conflicts by talking more, it’s strange how such a simple thing can make such a difference.
And there I shall leave this slightly strange rant. I will get off this laptop and make a call to my wonderful wife, I’m going to be less afraid of the phone and try to start talking more rather than typing more and see if it really can make a difference.