For the last few weeks I have been reflecting a lot on what I do. My work. In particular the work I do in the community. Some of you might know I have spent the last few years building online communities.
I truly believe that in this day-and-age we can bring people together and build stronger, more well connected groups of people. Just think about it. You are sitting in your house right now (probably) and you have possibly three direct neighbours. Do you know them? Have you checked up on your elderly neighbours recently? Do you manage their property and/or feed their pets when they are away?
Most probably, none of the above.
I put this down to a few things. Mostly we are too busy. Busy at work, with our families and the commitments that come with those responsibilities. The rest of the time we are busy living within the realm of our technology devices.
Because of this, I think online communities are a good solution in this modern age. Through online communities you can keep everyone up to date with what is going on in the local community and connect with people in the area around you. Through doing this some people have made fast friends.
However, unfortunately, over the years I have watched as people online have changed for the worse. I compare this change to a disease because it starts with a few people and then it slowly infects others. Rudeness. Some people online have become rude, less understanding, less patient, less empathetic. These people start acting like judgemental, self appointed know-it-alls.
Am I out of touch with the real world thinking that people should respect each other? And that we should be patient with our youth, and that youth should respect their elders? (Not necessarily agree, but disagree respectively.) Have we lost that mutual respect so crucial for healthy society? If we have lost it where are we heading in the future?
Yesterday I was talking to a local about my thoughts and he laughed, “The world isn’t all rainbows and unicorns Pauline.” While he giggled some more at my fairytale, I realised it doesn’t have to be rainbows and fairytales but by god we should have some common courtesies.
Be polite, respectful, patient, understanding and compassionate. Online and offline. Surely these are the common courtesies we deserve to show each other.
I dont want to believe we have lost those core principles but when I am online, I’m seeing more and more comments from people who, truth be told, are acting like spoilt teenagers. Some emotional maturity wouldn’t go amiss.
Next time you are out about in the world or online, think about those core values in everything you do. Online communities reflect real life communities so our behaviour in both spheres should follow suit. Employ good, core values and it might even help you have a happier day.