Sunday, 17 April 2011

Online 'Politeness'

I have a habit of winding people up.  I don't mean to but never is it more present than when I'm online.  I am a member of a couple of forums and my style is forthright and perhaps occasionally opinionated.  This sometimes leads to problems and I never mean it to.

Earlier in the week I offered a solution to someone's problem.  They had a child who would only eat biscuits and rusks.  I suggested my recipe for pancakes (thinking as they're sweet yet sugar free this might be a gentle change) and also pointed out that as someone else had suggested cheese on toast this was a bit high in salt.  I had a rant in return on how "there is nothing healthy about pancakes" (from the mother who feeds their child biscuits).  She felt the need to tell me how qualified she is to talk about nutrition as she is a nurse.

So how do you respond to this.  In fact do you respond?  Here are the different responses I considered:

"I've worked in food for 9 years and have several food and food safety qualifications.  I'm not an expert on child nutrition but then are you?"

"Look love, you may be a nurse but you feed your child biscuits!"

"Oh shut up and feed your child salt and sugar if that's what you want."

Of course I did none of the above.  I'd love to say I didn't rise to it but I did but (hopefully) in a more even tempered way.  It did make me wonder though; what is it about me which precipitates this response in people?  I can't say I don't rub people up the wrong way in 'real' life either.  Is it being opinionated?  Is it being intelligent?  Or am I just arrogant?

It made me think, perhaps because I'm reading "blueeyedboy" at the moment how people create an online persona but, in fact I think I'm very similar in 'real life' to how I come across online.  I wonder if you can ever really hide your true self.

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