Align values with behavior online
The programming: Act one way in person, but let your inner child run loose online. Bully people, complain endlessly, pick fights with strangers, leave nasty comments. What’s the harm? It’s not you. “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”
Oh wait, it IS you. You ARE the person you act like online.
When you complain online, your real-life experience sours. When you obsess over doom-and-gloom news stories, your worldview darkens considerably. And when you’re mean and juvenile and nasty to perfect strangers, you’ll find your thoughts becoming sharper about the real-life people that you love.
The counter-programming: You aspire (hopefully) to be a kind, generous, emotionally stable, pragmatic, thoughtful, intelligent, purposeful and motivated person. So act like it. Don’t fill the web with cruelty, snide judgements, self-deprecation and immaturity. Letting your inner child run free is dangerous business, especially in this era where online and real-life identities are thoroughly merged. Regard your public face on the web like your public face in real life.
Of course, nobody’s perfect. It’s about recognizing when you stray and getting back on the path.
There are no points for winning fights against anonymous strangers. Yes, they disagree with you. Yes, they’re horribly ignorant and stupid and wrong. So what? You’re not going to convince them over the internet. You’ll just give them what they really want: a reaction. So don’t do it.
BE POSITIVE. Don’t ever complain online. It’s pointless and narcissistic. Nobody cares about your complaints nearly as much as you do. Yes, I know that when you’re swelling up with righteous outrage, it feels really good to scream it to the world, but please — save it. Mom was right: say nice things or don’t say ‘em at all.