Recently a new law came into effect concerning the use of cookies on websites – with tough penalties for non-compliance. On the deadline for these changes I was in a mild panic trying to fix my site.

I posted online requesting help and a couple of people pointed me in the right direction. I needed a page on my site to explain it all. However, I had no framework or template which I knew would be compliant.

So I panicked and used someone else’s.

Now in one sense there is nothing wrong with that. It’s good to get and use advice from others.

But there was one fundamental error I made. Something I didn’t do but should have.

Ask.

In the midst of my panic to be compliant with law, I copied and pasted text I knew would be compliant without asking. Something I would never normally do.

It was rude. Presumptuous. Selfish.

Fortunately a friend saw what I had done and very quickly called me on it. It wasn’t a nice feeling but it’s what I needed.

The experience reminded me of some very simple but very important truths, ones we often forget.

 

1) It’s easier to forget manners when you are interacting online

The values of love, respect and simple manners apply equally online as they do in the physical realm – and I forgot that.

We must remember at all times that everyone we interact with in the digital realm is a real person. They matter. They are precious and valuable, and deserve to be treated with love and respect just the same as if we interacted with them physically.

We need to remind ourselves of this constantly.

It’s so easy to forget, in particular in the heat of the moment – and, like I did, forget without even knowing we’ve done so.

 

2) Manners always apply – even under pressure. 

People who know me well will tell you I’m not generally a rude person. Whilst I make no claim to be perfect, I try to treat all people well, and be polite and gracious.

However, when the pressure was on, when I was anxious, stressed and panicking, I conveniently forgot my manners.

Regretfully, I was rude and arrogant.

Pressure is no excuse. Manners always apply.

 

3) It’s okay to ask 

Asking isn’t as scary as you think – people will say yes from time to time. Probably more often than you’d think.

When I did ask this guy to use his compliance text, he said yes. If I’d have asked before using it the answer would likely have been the same. I merely let fear of rejection and the pressure get in the way of showing love and respect.

People will also say no occasionally. It happens, we must be ready for it.

But you will find more people say yes. If you ask.

 

My experience has taught me some good lessons. It’s shown weaknesses that I had no idea were there before.

It wasn’t a nice feeling being shown a darker part of my character.

But in the end, it’s what I needed. It will help me grow, and do better next time I’m under pressure.

You see, manners and good behaviour shouldn’t just disappear when we go online. The interactions we have there are just as real, with real people. How we treat people in the digital realm will be how people we interact with there think we treat people in the physical.

There is no difference. Manners always matter.

 

Do you act in an unloving or ungracious way when you come under pressure? Do you think that pressure should exclude us from having to be polite?

Do you act differently online than you do in face to face interactions? Are you more rude or impolite? 

Are you fully aware that those you interact with online are real people?

Do you ask first?

 

 

Hi, I’m James Prescott and I’m a writer & creative exploring digital media & divine journey of life. I’m a regular guest blogger at bigbible.org.uk and other sites, and contributed to Waiting for the Light, a book of Advent reflections. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
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James Prescott

Hi, I’m James. I live near London. I’m a fan of good food, comic-book movies, & books. I love to write, and I coach other writers & creative people. Thank you for being part of my community. read more...