Tag Archives: empathise

Act in haste, repent at leisure

I just found out first-hand what that means.

I posted a comment to an article on a popular UK newspaper’s website. (Don’t ask – I’m not tellin’!). The thing is, I empathised what the writer was writing about in broad terms, and, as a good leftie, wanted to add my un-expert three pence worth. So I, gulp, signed off with a phrase from my bad old days on the placard carrying, peacenik, socialist demonstration circuit, you know the one, which assumes anyone with a credit history is somehow deserving of the suffering the economy rains down on him/her. I won’t repeat it now in case you’re clever and decide to google it, you cheeky monkey!

So I posted it, and several hours later reread the article and my comment, glaringly including my full, real name and blatantly condemning both the government and several important companies to enforced manual labour and severe caloric deprivation. … and a few typos, which, to be perfectly honest, were my first concern, stickler that I am for such things.

“Do I really want to stand by that statement”, I asked myself, and was also asked by my partner, and would I have said exactly the same thing to the people it was directed at, to their face? No I wouldn’t, of course. I would have been more circumspect, diplomatic and, polite. Yeah, polite, something you don’t see a ton of in open discussions on the internet. The more I read my comments, the more I empathised with their plight (even if it was self-imposed and arrogant) and could not stick to my initial statement. Not to mention, there was my NAME, right there, in Verdana 14 px! A name they could google and find out about me with, something I could no longer be faceless and anonymous behind.

So I sent email, after email after email as if it were a complaint (there was no facility to edit my own comment, but at least they let you reportit to avoid libel charges) and asked them to remove my full name so I didn’t have to look at it anymore. 12 hours later, the name was removed and I withdrew back into the crowd, thinking deeply on what it really felt like, and ultimately what it was that was achieved by being able to shout so easily, so anonymously (or not!) and get away with it.

In my first post here I talked about the joy of quick contact with others in the world. Yesterday I experienced the flipside, the embarrassment of having my knee-jerk effluvia dross instantly published and attributed. Fortunately the internet is noisy enough that my words will soon dissapear into the background of the white-hot white noise