Saturday 16 June 2012

Not A Different Person

The same person, always
I have always found myself saying, “I am not an Internet-Schizophrenic,” that, has a tendency to mean many things to many people.
This phrase was coined when I used to be active on Internet Relay Chat forums, something that predated instant messaging systems that we use today.
I don’t know if I can say that I am an Internet veteran, but I first had my Internet connection in 1994 when I subscribed to CompuServe (Absorbed by AoL) and it’s rather stodgy interface and the voyage of discovery began in terms of information for technical things I did and then for meeting people all around the globe as well as arranging clandestine encounters that could be dubious at best.
Let us be our own responsible adults
Sadly, CompuServe failed to adapt quickly to changes that came with having simple email addresses instead of numbers or granting unfiltered access to the developing phenomenon of the World Wide Web and other exciting things, I was soon using a local provider who I had to approach and tell that as an adult, I expect to be able to access all information on websites and Usenet forums – I could do my own filtering, I do not want to be nannied.
I could see him go red in the face when for what restrictions he had imposed expecting customers to be embarrassed to ask for them to be lifted; I had no qualms about letting him know that he had exceeded the bounds of his responsibilities and egressed into areas of expression and liberty. As he stammered into coherence, he lifted the restrictions and I sent him a thank you note.
The same happened when the over-zealous gatekeepers to the Internet at a large oil firm blocked access to DejaNews (Became Google Groups) which at that time was the best search engine for Usenet news groups just because someone thought it could also access porn sites.
I made the case for having that restriction lifted by saying as many cities as one would dare to visit for their notoriety could have Red-Light Districts, but apart from the curious and the determined people generally have other things to do without having to go there. I lived in Amsterdam for 12 years and probably hardly walked those streets 10 times and only as a tour guide.
Be truthful, always
We innately have filtering mechanisms that are part of the make-up of our personality and that is what tempers our curiosity, manages our extroverted or introverted tendencies in terms of how honest we are in what nominally is an anonymous world of interaction.
Therefore, in every place that I project myself for professional, social or even emotional purposes, you will find an honest, truthful account or what is shared, which is not to mean one does not have certain inhibitions, one should, but what you choose to share and remember you have control of what you decide to share; must never be a misrepresentation of who you are, you might be ambiguous or non-committal but never untruthful.
That is why, “I am not an Internet-Schizophrenic.”

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