Over the past few weeks I've had some extensive conversations with my hubby about the internet. You could say he's a newbie where all of this is concerned. So, of course, he was pretty unprepared for what goes down in groups/forums/online. In other words, he got introduced to 'those' people.
You know who I'm talking about. If you've been on the internet longer than fifteen minutes you've, more than likely, met someone who chaps your butt.
They know everything there is to know about everything and have no compunction about telling you A. Their life story, B. Why you're wrong in every single way, and C. That their kids/coon dog/show rabbits are ten times better than yours.
So before you run screaming from your laptop/netbook/PC, give it a second or three. Take a deep breath.
Sit back and listen to your Crazy Aunt Heather. She might have a bit of wisdom or two. (and Yes, you probably will find out my life story but you're probably more right than I am and I never raised show rabbits, thankfully.)
Around the time after Sadie was born I wandered into the great big wide internets and found the world of fanfiction. Most of you should be familiar with it as you've read 50 Shades of Grey. The author, as my understanding, had originally wrote the story around Twilight's lead characters of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. That's right. They originally wrote a whole story around those two characters creating what us fanficc'ers call an 'Alternate Universe'.
Well, back in the day, the fic that I waded into was Harry Potter. There was an epic fic entitled 'After the End' that was published before the fifth book in the Harry Potter series had been published. But, this story took place in Harry's world after the battle for Hogwarts. I know for some of you I'm speaking absolute gibberish, but bear with.
So, I've read this long and epic and amazing story and lo and behold there is a forum for folks that have read this story. And there are more stories. And more. And more.
With great trepidation, I registered on this forum as prplhez. Now, for those of you not aware of where 'Hez' came from, there it is. My hubby, bless his soul, nicknames everyone. And early in our relationship he used to sing to me 'Purple haze all around my brain...." (Yes, my fave color is purple...durrr) Get it now?
Anycrap, my very first post on those forums came in the 'Divine Mums' thread. I posted with a shaking finger on my mouse and sat back and waited for either everyone to ignore me or for them to tell me to get the hell off and please to be giving back my internet license. They did neither. I actually got honest, caring, and thoughtful responses.
I was and still am a member of that website although it has been frozen in time as much of the interest in Harry Potter has gone by the wayside after the last book was published and the last movie shown.
Thankfully, I've had another online journal that I've used on and off for eight years. Yup, eight years. In that time, I've friended and been befriended by some pretty amazing women. These women that I've come to know over time have been there during all of life's little moments that have gone on in my life during these long years. They sent me hand-crocheted booties and hats when we had Jude. I had a virtual online baby shower when she was born. They've also been that voice on the other end of the phone. I've heard them holler at their kids or significant others. I've been there for their heart breaks, for everything that goes along with life in general. And they, mine.
I can honestly say that there were moments I wouldn't have gotten through without them.
Now, with all of the good comes some bad, too.
There are 'those' people.
And with 'those' people, I've learned some life lessons and some lessons about me.
So, without any ado, here are some 'rules' for the internet:
1. Don't be a dick. You know you're being one. Don't do it.
2. Be kind and err on the side of caution. Reread your post. And then read it again.
3. Don't fight with idiots. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience every single time.
4. Be nice. It doesn't cost you anything to be kind.
5. Sometimes it's just best to get up and walk away. No one will call you a chicken shit and if they do, screw 'em. Are they someone you wanna play with? No. Grab your pail and shovel and find a different sand box for the time being.
6. Be true. No one likes a liar. And trust me, someone will always find out your business anyway.
7. Like in life, less is more. You don't have to be the danged prom king/queen.
8. There will be those one or four people who are totally cool and are the 'big name fans' and when they friend you, it's totally okay to do an internal squee/minor jig. Some of them will be cooler than you originally thought and some will be epic douches.
9. You will meet some of these folks in real life and some are amazing, some not so much. It's life.
10. Keep in mind that your experience will be what you make of it. The Golden Rule applies here too, kiddos.
and lastly: Don't be a dick. Include people. Engage folks in honest conversation. Everyone is bringing something valuable to the table. It's all in how you are going to view it and whether they bring positive or negative, it's still your experience.
And in true geek fashion I will sign off with what Peter Parker's Uncle Ben once uttered: With great power comes great responsibility.
(or was it Yoda? IDEK)