by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 15th 2007 6:49pm
This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, but saying potentially embarrassing stuff in writing is a hell of a lot easier than saying it in person when you have to watch how people react. That's why people can sometimes be such jerks online. But, it also means that for kids these days it's much easier to have potentially embarrassing conversations, such as asking someone out or dumping them. They just do it all online and don't have to deal with the immediate reactions. Some people, of course, find this horrifying, that people may never learn how to talk directly to others about potentially uncomfortable subjects, while others (mostly those who are uncomfortable talking to others about such things) find it to be quite liberating. Like most things, it seems like the type of thing that is useful in moderation -- as long as people recognize the signal that it sends out as well. For example, when it comes to dating, someone who is attracted to more confident people will actually find it a turnoff to be asked out this way -- meaning that as liberating as it is, it may actually be hurting some people's chances to become too reliant on hiding behind the keyboard. In the end, though, it really is just a tool -- and as people learn to use it appropriately it's hard to see how that's a problem.
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