(this is a short post from an old WELL topic, when I was but a tender newuser. It seems to me that many people go through a revelation that feelings can be hurt by words online, that there is not a swarm of ascii ants here, but a real person behind each set of words on the screen.)
unclear.58: Angst on the Well: It's just words. It's just a machine. Response #83: Come on in the waters'...YOW! (gail) Mon 4 Jun 90 What a puzzle. How to establish tone, personality... enough so one can be very sincere in anger, sorrow, joy ... in one posting, and very silly and flippant - sarchastic, ironic, goofy... in others. To a quasi-newcomer, the waters seem a little murky. When I first logged on, I had a lot of problems with shyness because of the teasing... I assumed it was being taken very well, with a smile, and that I was the one with a flabby ego since I wasn't sure I wanted to make the leap of faith to take "teasing" as fun and not be hurt. Finding out that many do not take it as teasing is unsettling. In the other direction, I had plunged into the news conf with my own personal :-) mask on, and read several postings into the suicide of Blair topic before I realized this wasn't a joke. So taking it all lightly won't work either. Oh, gosh... you mean we gotta wallow around and fake it and do the best we can to clear up any blunders? (pressed flowers in the envelope, a snapshot of a dog splashing at the beach, careful handwriting... subliminal validation... whatever I can include)
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