Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

New Technologies, New Etiquette

Our world is transforming into one where we are more and more involved online and in virtual communities.  Science has allowed, as Vannevar Bush writes in the article “As We May Think,” for, “the swiftest communication between individuals” (2).  This fast communication is seen in the evolution of the computer, and as Bush further writes, “knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual” (2).    This made me think that if there is such vast knowledge that can spread quickly because of the fast communication that the computer has now provided, then how does our etiquette online impact and influence people?  Also, how aware do we need to be of what we are doing online because it does affect more than just us?  I think that we need to remember that what we are writing online impacts and influences more than just us, and that what we write can spread quickly with the development and efficiency of the computer.  Where we are at with technology is probably not where we will stay because new technologies are evolving that we may not know about yet.  With these new technologies, there will be new implications for how we should act online with the development of new technologies.  Even though Bush was writing this in 1945, he surely is ahead of his time, with the prediction of a machine that can store and access all types of information easily and quickly, which would later become the computer.  Now with the computer we can access information in ways that we could have never imagined and create worlds that were once unthinkable.

Now we can easily and quickly access all types of information and be a part of various virtual communities while taking on different identities.  This is one of the points that Sherry Turkle discusses in her article “Who Am We?  She talks about the lives of people who assume different online identities that are different from their own real life selves (1-12).  Turkle says in the article that, “the Internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities” (1).  Because the Internet links us to so many people in many different places, we need to be aware of how we act, depending on the people we are interacting with.  Different communities elicit different etiquette practices.  If you were in a professional online community, you would want to be polite and talk about such things as work, where in an online SIM game you may talk more about personal issues and be more informal.  Also, the ideas of people creating different identities (that may or may not resemble their true self) also lend to the issue of etiquette practices online.  As Turkle mentions, “slippages often occur in places where personal and self merge, where the multiple personae join to compromise what the individual thinks of as his or her authentic self” (6).  So, people may create multiple online identities to showcase the different parts of themselves or to create personas to act in ways they wish they did in real life.  Do people feel that they can behave this way because it is in a virtual world?  How should we act in a virtual world?  Is it acceptable that people are deceiving others through different identities and how much do other people really care?  As Margaret Atwood says in the article “Atwood in the Twittersphere” that “you’re always saying things you shouldn’t have said” (1).  So, with new technologies etiquette practices may change, and because of way the Internet links us to so many people around the world, we need to be careful and conscious how we act online.

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Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

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