People tend to think that when they say something online, it’s more or less the same as they when say it offline. They don’t realize that online tools don’t care who they thought they were talking to. As casual communication moves online, we’re beginning to see problems arising from the difference between how online tools work and how people think they work. People are trying to whisper and don’t realize they’re shouting.
“The problem isn’t just that I’m stupid (but that’s a good guess), it’s the tool”, says Steven Wonder. “Using it, even using it properly, leads me to shout when I thought I was whispering.”
Context is an important part of what we say in the real world, but it’s largely absent from the internet. The next generation of internet tools should provide ways for writers to control the context in which they’re heard.
Tip from Unreasonable Man Ian Yorston