This has been quite the journey from the beginning of the semester to production of my end product. On a personal note, I feel that the course You Are What You Tweet has really changed my perspective about the Internet. Before this course, I considered the Internet a relatively simple tool that I was competently utilizing. The course applied theories of psychology, sociology, philosophy and economics in ways I never would have considered applying to the Internet. I was amazed at how applicable some of these disciplines were in relation to the Internet. I think given the scope of the Internet and the diverse nature of its users, it is necessary to examine from an inter-disciplinary approach in order to better understand its function.
In particular, exploring the psychology of online behaviors and identity seems extremely important for a future with the Internet. I feel this newfound information gives me a much more informed understanding about what makes certain webspaces function and how to use them more productively. Principally, I expect this to apply mostly to the world of social media. As social media savvy is considered a marketable addition to a job résumé, I consider education in the psychology of online behavior invaluable both for a future career, as well as an informed net-citizen.
In this final blog post, would like to thank any potential readers of this information. I hope that any aspect of my findings can help whatever goals you would like to accomplish and that you may have a newfound perspective on your Internet usage.
The following strategies about online socialization will all be included in a pamphlet I intend to distribute on my campus. In this post, I would like to have my findings presented in a public manner, so that any interested readers might have a space to discuss them. If you feel what you have read in this space is helpful, please spread this information wherever you can. Even if you are not interested in distributing my personal content or disagree with some of my findings, I hope that you discuss the ideas presented here with whomever you can. I hope that this information promotes some online-goodwill, empowers your Internet usage, and encourages users to examine online behavior in a critical fashion. Thank you for reading; I hope your experience with my research has been as enlightening and educational for you as it has for me.
- When sparking a topic for conversation/debate, communicating a clear goal helps centralize input. If you want to responses pertaining to a specific idea, let people know!
- Communicating a conversational tone is key to inviting input. Articles that use self-assured or aggressive rhetoric tend to attract either blatantly combative audiences and/or self-assuring audiences. The beauty of the Internet is the diversity of voices, take advantage of access to both!
- Do not shut out disagreeing voices simply because they disagree. Respond to dissent/criticism with an open mind. Gives you an opportunity to prove your point, or expand your audience through persuasion.
- If dissenting voices are not constructive and/or problematic, you have both the choice to ignore them and remove them from your space. If you take ownership of your webspace, you do not have to tolerate behavior you do not approve of. If you do not have the authority, ask a moderator of the webspace.
- In an open discussion, it is very possible that people may disagree and voice their opinions. If you exclude certain voices from the conversation, you should not identify your space as "open" as the discussion is not open to all voices.
- Avoid verbal attacks against disagreeing audiences or voices. It usually results in "flame wars". If criticism is unavoidable, keep it constructive. Look to bolster your own argument, you should not have to "bring down" someone else to prove your point.
- If possible, establish parameters and standards for your webspace. Gives you the authority to dictate what behavior is tolerable in your space. If you are in webspace where there are established rules or guidelines, use them to your advantage.
- If your content is attempting to sway an audience to change their behavior or their thinking, it is much more effective to offer concrete demonstrations of what changes you are looking for and how it will affect the reader. I.E. If you are looking to convince an audience to agree with feminist ideology, explain how your suggestions will affect them.
- There is a big difference between "Open Spaces" and "Closed/Reserved Spaces". In an Open Webspace, any and all voices have equal weight and consideration. In a Closed/Reserved Space, not every voice is equal. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but clearly defining your webspace can prevent a great deal of potential arguments.