This isn’t typically the sort of thing I write about, though as someone who’s been in more that his share of Twitter fights, I find this video fascinating.

And that’s because it shows a very mean-spirited behavior in real time, though it also shows the role of etiquette, which I define as the often culturally-determined, typically unspoken rules that governs relations between people.

In the real world, if I am going though a door, and someone is following closely behind, I tend to hold it for them.  Or if I sneeze or yawn in a public space, I cover my mouth (or if my hands are occupied, at the very least bow my head).

In the latter example, both not only help prevent the spread of germs, but are also respectful of others around me.

In reference to the video, it’s worth repeating that the Tweets don’t originate with the men that are reading them, though their reactions are interesting.

Quite a few of them are so ashamed of what they’re reading that they can barely speak (one or two even seem like they’re going to break into tears), though I think that that’s less to do with the words themselves than the fact that the person those words are designed to denigrate are right in front of them.

When I’m entangled in such a situation online–while I try to give as good as I get–I also understand that that approach is often like throwing gasoline on a conflagration.  Best case scenario, I might be able to shut down the aggressor; though what’s likelier is that even if I ‘win’ I’ve made a bad situation worse, and the feeling you get for it is quite unlike anyone you’re likely to experience.

In other words: heads you lose, tails you lose (like Aliens vs Predator, though for entirely different reasons).

This is where etiquette comes in.  I try not to say anything on line that I wouldn’t say to someone to their face because it they were present the likelihood that we’d be fighting over something really stupid would be remarkably high (like the anticipated box office of Captain America: Civil War).

And unlike what many of our parents tell us about sticks and stones, there have been many times that I would have preferred a punch or two to the vitriol that emanates from some people’s mouths.

Or keyboards.


2 thoughts on “Etiquette

  1. The video does a good job of making its point. Sadly, I don’t think the people who are tweeting these kinds of things are going to be swayed. Though, I think it’s good at starting the dialogue about this behavior and perhaps keeping would-be trolls from developing the habit.

    1. Indeed it does, but I think that the problem–which I expanded on a bit–is one of proximity.

      Now bear with me a moment. In war–or politics for that matter–what’s often done by the people in power is the demonization of their opponents.

      Treating an enemy as lesser than human enables you to a lot of things, though killing in particular is made easier, psychologically speaking.

      Strangely enough, the Internet works on a similar logic in that the feelings of people you can’t see–and probably never meet–essentially don’t matter to what I suspect is a huge amount of people.

      And when these unseen multitudes are literally invisible, then why not insult them?

      But when they’re present, that line of reasoning quickly weakens, if not falls apart, which is what we see in the video.

      Though its effectiveness is questionable–though that’s not to say it was a wasted effort–if only because if you weren’t cognizant that that there’s another person at the other end of that forum or Twitter session, it’s because you CHOOSE not to be, as opposed to being unaware of it in the true sense of that word.

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