Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Own your words.

I don't think this one will be especially long, chiefly because it's a bit more stream-of-consciousness than my usual blog posts. There'll be a point to be made, but right now I thought it might be interesting to at least open the discussion in the hopes of finding like minds or even contrary opinions to help either confirm my own opinion or see it challenged.

I'm 34 years old. Lots of people as they creep into their middle thirties tend to deny their age but hell, I'm just happy to be here. Every gray hair on my head and line on my face I wear like a badge on my sleeve, and the state of my life taken on the whole is one that I've earned. Decent job, good friends, burgeoning creative venues. . .I'm proud of what I've accomplished and hope to do more to build from what I've already established.

As an aging fanboy coming up in the '90s and the early '00s, I noticed the growth of Internet culture; particularly in the form of Internet Forums and chat rooms. The premise of these online social watering holes is pretty simple; register in the forums, create an online name or alias, and then sign-in and talk with like-minded bodies. I used to do it a lot, and still do from time to time, though primarily I tend to utilize social programs like Facebook, Twitter, and yes Blogger for my own social hub/soap box.

The online culture is prevalent with aliases and online handles. In many ways I sometimes think it's like X2: X-Men United when Magneto asks the young kid his name, he replies with his given name and the Master of Magnetism simply states no, what's your name. To which the kid sheepishly grins and says 'Pyro'. It's an extension of our identity, or perhaps a protection of our original persona. It's intriguing stuff, to be sure.

But part of that online alias/perceived anonymity engenders standards of behaviour that are baffling at best and outright demoralizing at worst. Things are said online and from the safety of a keyboard that would never, ever be spoken in real life.

Recently I've taken to making most of my online handles reflections of my name, StacyD being the most common (though Twitter apparently already has a StacyD on hand, so I'm now StacyHD. Hugh Dooks, not High Def). Simply put, and knowing full well how corny this is going to sound, I think it's important that we own what we say. For better or worse our words reflect who we are, both in terms of what we contribute to an intelligent dialogue and who we are as a person. In an age where we can do the things our distant ancestors only dreamed of and communicate with people all over the world in a manner of moments, do we really want the epitaph of human dialogue and intelligent discussion to be 'd13 n00b?'

Gah, this is entirely too mature a topic given my usual fare. I'll be back debating Superman vs. Captain Marvel in my next post or something equally light and fluffy, promise.


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