I don't have much to add to the wise statements already made in this thread, but can tell you that jerks have been part of the Internet since Day 2. Not Day 1. Day 1, for the general public, was the CompuServe CB forums which had clearly-labelled adult channels in which anyone identifying herself (or himself) as female was bound to be propositioned - because there were so few of us! But the overall population was so small that we knew each other, at least as a familiar CB-style handle, and sometimes even met up in person.

Day 2 was the proliferation of CompuServe members, and Internet denizens in general. On CompuServe I was once asked for a private chat in a technical forum. This had never happened before, so I figured the person had some deep, dark technical question to ask me. "I can suck my own cock!" he immediately announced. I was so startled that I just dropped out of the chat, but soon regretted not having demanded that he prove it. ; )

Anonymity causes that kind of weird stuff to happen. Videobloggers turn anonymity on its head: we are putting our real selves (or some facsimile thereof) right out there, and inviting everyone to see and interact with us. Whatever we do can be easily traced back to a real person - most of us are even very open about where we live etc., so presumably anyone could "get to" us. And yet we all seem to feel pretty secure about that. Perhaps because of our non-secret identities, we're mostly pretty nice to each other (yeah, we have our moments, but compare what goes on here to the average Usenet group!) and to the world in general.

So - thought for a sleepy Sunday morning - maybe videoblogging has a hope of bringing civility to the Internet.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

www.straughan.com (personal)
www.tvblob.com (work)

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