Yesterday ManuDS wrote a post about listening, or more accurately how we don’t listen. I agreed wholeheartedly with it.
I have always considered myself a good listener. In fact my job’s primary function is listening. I work in a call center. But on the internet, listening is translated into reading comprehension.
And I think the issue that ManuDS brings up are amplified on the internet when reading someone’s thoughts. I hang out in places like wordpress, tumblr, twitter and reddit where you can interact – leave comments. But I also am not as good a “listener” on the internet as I am in real life.
On the internet, I can skim. Or I can read until I get to place where it sparks a thought I want to express and I can just skip down and comment. I’ve done that.
I just caught myself condemning someone who started his comment with, I didn’t read the whole post, but I wanted to comment on… And then I stopped myself and thought – well at least he’s honest about it. I’ve done it before and not confessed.
Everyone wants to be heard. Its a form of validation. And humans NEED validation. People often condemn it, but its just nature and its necessary to our self definition, to our feelings of security, to our sense of place. Everyone does it.
The internet, or at least the places where I live on the internet, is one large attempt to gain some validation. To have our identity recognized through our thoughts, our humor, our fandom. But it is also a place that can slowly degrade your identity, because people may not really be seeing, reading, comprehending.
I think I will attempt to be more aware of the person on the other side of the words on the screen. To read the words like I’m listening to the person. To not comment unless I have fully comprehended the ideas and views of the person who wrote them. There is enough static in the ether to fuzz out most of us, my refusing to try doesn’t need to add to the fuzziness.