Internet bravery-A A +A
Saturday, June 23, 2012
IN THE olden days, people used to pray to their war gods, drink weird teas and eat funny-tasting mushrooms to increase their bravado. In this day and age, all we need to do is sit our fat butts down behind a computer screen and let it all go on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social networking site you’re into. And don’t lie to me—I know you have a Facebook account. If my technophobic parents have accounts, then you have an account too.
Let’s say your co-worker has been giving you a hard time at work, but you don’t want to walk over to him at his cubicle and cause a stir because you’re afraid that it’ll erupt into a fight—or worse, that you’ll become the subject of office gossip. So instead of making a fool of yourself, you avoid the potential lawsuit that would result from you punching him squarely in the jaw and just begin ranting on Facebook.
Your loyal army of Facebook friends may support you, and if the person you’re talking about hasn’t added you as a friend, then there’s little or any chance at all that he or she will find out about what you did.
Posting on a social networking site is kind of like owning a diary that people can read—which is contrary to the point of owning a diary. Yet when a hundred people support your point of view, it feels like you have your own personal army. And if a hundred thousand people would like to see you personally rip out the hearts of your enemies, well . . . they say encouragement is a powerful thing.
Even if the person you’re ranting against does read what you posted about him or her, you’re not going to let go and walk away like you would in a civilized social environment. Oh no, you’re gonna fight the guy right there on the chat page, because you know he can’t touch you until you see each other again when you punch in the next day. And then it’s “uh-oh” when you get back to work the following morning.
Internet bravery comes from the anonymity and impersonality of the Internet itself – it feels like you’re playing a computer game, and sometimes you forget that it’s a real person you’re talking to through that network connection. There are some who win so many arguments on the Internet that they think they’re as tough as the Hulk on steroids, but when they try to say the same things they did in real life, they freeze up and become as timid as kittens because they simply don’t have the massive ’nads they did behind a computer screen.
The Internet is full of tough guys who would turn to mush in real life, simply because an actual human gaze, if coming from the right individual, can make some persons wet themselves in fear.
And it’s not just bravery in fights. People become so much braver when talking to their crushes or members of the opposite sex in general over the Internet because of the lack of the human factor. A person who would normally have problems breathing next to a beautiful woman could be virtually screaming comments at one over the Internet. Others become vulgar or rude, but are actually more mouse than man in real life.
And then there are the chat rooms—bottomless pits of anonymity. You can role play a completely different human being, like say, a mercenary who served in Afghanistan and is in perpetual grief from all the lives he’s taken, or a struggling model with an unsupportive family who’s barely making ends meet.
All you would need to do is lie through your teeth and, if you’re good enough, people would actually believe you—and that’s what makes chat rooms so dangerous. A person looking for a friend could just as well be a predator. The bravado that comes from being on the Internet can be coupled with deception, and that’s a dangerous combination. To avoid people who would take advantage of this, it’s very important to keep your contact information to yourself and to only give information out to people you absolutely trust. It’s also not advisable to meet any strangers you meet online on their grounds.
Courage begotten from the impersonality of the Internet gives you a feeling of invincibility, but the feeling is fleeting, and you can be brought back to the real world when you realize it’s your self-confidence that you need to work on in real life and not your witty banter.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 23, 2012.