Welcome to the first in what will most likely be a long series of Think Canadian Thursdays!
What do we all know about Canadians? They are polite! That’s right. I’m promoting the best of all stereotypes: the apologetic, well-mannered, wouldn’t-say-an-unkind-word-to-the-man-robbing-him-blind Canadian.
Having been to Canada, I would like to say I found this stereotype to be comfortingly accurate. I didn’t have one rude encounter. Not one. It was awesome!
Which leads me to this series. Have you noticed a tendency for people – people you may know and love – to become lamp-shade-on-the-head crazies when they are on the internet? Have you noticed that your own friend count on Facebook is trending down? How many comment-thread-debates gone awry have you been apart of?
For some reason, it is easy to stop thinking of others as people when they are on the internet. Many lose all sense of boundaries and manners when they start engaging in social media and the cyber world-at-large. We need some help. So, here for your edification and amusement:
Think Canadian Thursday: The Do’s and Don’ts of Commenting, Eh?
And for the grammar-heads hyperventilating because of the punctuation. It will be ok. Find a paper bag and breathe.
DO: Be opinionated.
DON’T: Be a Troll.
Okay, I know actual, really icky trolls are not reading this blog, and heaven help me if they ever discover it! But trolling can happen somewhat unintentionally. If you go to ILOVEALLTHEGUNS.com and start calling everyone idiots, wishing them ill and talking about their IQs or their mothers, then you are trolling….. and very likely endangering your own life….Boo! Boo to that! We want you to live here at Reason to Laugh – even if you are being a cyber-turkey. If you go to some site that horrendously offends you, that is your prerogative, but don’t start a fight. You can offer your opinion without being a jerk. I can’t imagine what purpose it would serve, but you can do it. Being the “little guy” on the internet is no excuse for bad manners. If you want friends, go to IHATEALLTHEGUNS.com
DO: Meme it up, yo!
MEMEs!!! POST ALL THE MEMESSSS!!! Be clever! Especially here. You will always get points with me if you post a meme. I mean, literally, I will award points. Yes, you should feel inspired. However, self-serving, check-out-this-super-secret-magical-potion-I-found-and-its-totes-free! posts. No. Never. Not on anything.
DO: Keep it real
DON’T: Be Dwight
Commenting is awesome. People love it when you comment on their post. I know I feel like a rock star when people comment on my posts, status updates, instagrams, tweets and what have you. It’s even better when genuine engagement happens. It’s like when you tell someone happy birthday on Facebook. It is GREAT to tell someone happy birthday on Facebook. Do it! It’s AWESOME to tell someone happy birthday and re-hash the time you were playing Mario Kart and the TV exploded or you write them a birthday song to the tune of the hokey-pokey – because that’s what it’s all about. You are keepin’ it real, BUT things can go awry when you start trying to be the Holy Spirit on someone’s facebook page or when your comment essentially turns into a deep, long-winded, one-sided conversation. It’s just awkward. If you have a friend who posts a story about how their toddler helped them make cookies for the first time, it’s probably not a good time to leave a comment about how that particular brand of cookies was discovered to cause brain-exploding-super-cancer-death in rats. It’s also not helpful to remind them of that diet they’re supposed to be on… Awkward.
DO: Be enthusiastic.
DON’T: POST EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS
Posting in all caps is like a bullhorn. It can give POP and CLARITY to certain parts of what you are saying, OR, IT CAN MAKE SOMEONE FEEL LIKE YOU ARE YELLING AT THEM AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. (<–ya, see what I did there) It’s Also Annoying To Capitalize Every Word. I Don’t Understand. Why. Each. Word. Is. Capitalized?!?!
DO: Throw a party
DON’T: Throw mud (cause it’s annoying and gross!)
I know it is hard to imagine, BUT it is possible that the person who believes differently than you has a valid and perfectly reasonable explanation for why they think that way. Additionally, it’s possible, JUST POSSIBLE, they are not motivated by some secret, greedy, villainous agenda. They probably do NOT want to kill puppies, crush the rainbows and destroy all happiness everywhere. MAYBE….just maybe…. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try to understand and get to the truth of the issue without all the rhetoric. This is especially important when engaging something political…. and I will leave that there. If you comment on an article, post, whatever, you are joining the party. You are keeping company with the people whose forum you’re joining. You can disagree, but make it fun. It’s a party on the internet!
DON’T: Engage in an endless comment debate.
DO: Let is go with a laugh.
Let’s all take a lesson from the Dowager Countess here. you can do your best to interact with people in a kind, conscientious way on the internet, but you, yourself will still run up against people who have not read this post. (How horrible for them!) When someone tries to pin you down, push you around or insult you on the internet, let it go. Comment one more time with a little wit. So what if they think they “won.” They were always going to think that. Might as well give anyone else reading the thread a chuckle. ORRRRRR, you can send them this post! Great idea, right?!