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Friday, April 17, 2009

An Internet Attitude

Now that we have greater access to information than at any other time in history, what should we do with it? The Internet offers instant availability not only to topical information but also to worldwide communication. We love the convenience and the variety the net puts at our fingertips. With computers, we are kindling a new acceptance and appreciation of the art of writing.
Surely, we are putting into practice every writing skill we possess to help achieve our desired outcome. Internet writing is a mixed bag of every conceivable message bent on making its way to an audience. But, we must keep in mind the common good of that audience and our obligation to it.
The net is a tool that allows us to expand our knowledge on any conceivable subject and share our views in informal conversations with ease. Sometimes I simply marvel at the good, reliable information available on the net, but sometimes I frown upon the manner in which the information is shared and the potentially harmful content the information provides.
What tone and content does the audience expect? Unfortunately, some believe publishing online presents little or no responsibility for the writer. To me, putting words in print that may be viewed by the public is very different than speaking in a private, verbal conversation.
This seemingly fearless Internet attitude pushes my panic button. The net has become a haven for those wishing to inject their ego and their brash comments into their writing.
The intense need to be recognized is a basic human desire. In itself, that desire is natural in seeking good, reputable outlets. But, what about those who wish to use the net to promote a darker side? I see a lot of writing that reeks of "it's all about me."
I believe that a critical sense of respectfully addressing audience is lost when writers push personal "take it or leave it" attitudes in their communication. Personally, I find it very distasteful when someone begins a description, a conversation, or a topical discussion with anything less than common courtesy and decent language.
I understand that there are those who take advantage of kindness or who see manners as a sign of weakness. And, I do know about the need for freedom of expression. But, I do not think that we should challenge people with inflammatory remarks of our own. Or, for that matter, I see no need for ornamentation with disgusting language for its own sake.
To know that a person is all-powerful, incomparably beautiful, or vulgarly bold does little to instill my confidence in the caring nature of the human race. I really don't care if certain cultural influences idolize materialistic thug behavior. In the process of writing, I find intentional, threatening aggressiveness to be powerless: it defeats its own purpose. And, what type of response does adhering to low standards elicit? I believe it usually receives a similarly low response.
Some people have been conditioned to believe that society expects us to behave maniacally fearless to achieve success. Hiding behind the harsh words and the challenging attitudes spouting from such shock disciples lies a human being too brainwashed to admit that loving acceptance is the true goal of the communication. To be accepted with common dignity, we must practice goodness in both our writing and in our attitudes.
At the risk of sounding dated and out of place, please let me say this. Whether serious or not, people who must be labeled a "bitch" or a "pimp" or a "ho" or a "hunk" to grab attention do so in desperation or in vanity. And when we carelessly use written vulgarity to signify our approval of the right to free expression, we cheapen ourselves.
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