When was the last time we talked, I mean really talked?

Yesterday evening I was going to write a post on a similar subject as gapingvoid: 10 things I hate about web 2.0. I agree with most of what he is saying to a greater or lesser degree. Hugh McLeod is always good for an ironical, fresh view on all things web.

I do believe that blogging has made the traditional media more wary of thinking about themselves as the ONLY source of information. I also have concerns that Web 2.0 is in the process of eating itself, starting with its nose to spite its face. A meaningful conversation in the real world doesn’t usually happen when someone is unneccesarilly rude (I can never, ever spell any form of the second last word there. Note to self: memorise the spelling of necessary? neccesary… It’s not called One of these days… for nothing, this blog!) but some bloggers and more so commenters think this is the best way to do it.

I have two rules when engaging someone on a blog:

  1. My mammy was right: if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. However I will add an addendum to her sage words: if you can’t say anything nicely, don’t say anything at all. Feedback is important. How else will we improve? We all learn from our mistakes, but sometimes they have to be pointed out to us. That said nothing will make someone bridle more than “That is sh*t”. Surely it doesn’t take a genius or an extra five minutes to comment “I think what you are doing could be improved if you did X or Y. Maybe I could help you with it?”
  2. If you are writing it, say it out loud first. Would you really say that to somebody standing in front of you? Would you say it over the phone? If you were a contestant on Big Brother would your comment result in your being up for eviction? (Oho timely reference wha’?) Does it sound blunt? Does it sound harsh? Does the issue you have merit such vehemence? If in doubt about whether your witty brand of sarcasm translates into text, go on, use an emoticon to take the edge off.

It costs nothing to be nice but it could earn you a lot.

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