Your Diary is Being Read from Stage. Prepare Accordingly.
There are a lot of communities that are built up online and every where you look there are new ones created. You can find them on Reddit, Gitter, Discord, Slack, Facebook, etc. The list could go on and on. They aren't all created equal but they all serve the purpose to help us connect and communicate in a like minded fashion or with like minded groups.
There is one thing that I feel is the same for all of them:
We don't have a true perception of the reach of the group.
Think about it. They all look the same. Apps on a phone or a browser on a computer. We don't process the 2,000 people that will read this or view this message. It doesn't process in our mind.
I saw this play out today a Slack group I am involved with in my community. It is a software development group that has over 3,000 total members. These are everything from CTOs to jr developers to CS students and they are all local. These people are your potential bosses and colleagues.
Today two specific companies began to get targeted for discrimination in hiring practices and (as with most open online social avenues) there was a lot of plain old gossip and assumptions. In fact, the CTO of one of the companies came out and made a statement about the discussions which crossed over 3 or 4 different Slack channels.
As I watched this unfold, I began to wonder if these same statements would be made by these same individuals on stage in front of 1,438 people in the crowd that are in this channel.
Would they still do it?
Would the statements be as bold?
Would they be as direct and confrontational?
I think we feel that these communication channels are our own small diary and we lose complete grasp of the scope or reach these statements and conversation can have. I am not going to show all the things said and the conversation but you can get the idea and it is more of an "insert your own adventure here" scenario. I am sure you have seen something similar.
I know there are people in that Slack that have now noted how these people respond and accuse. The people that began to attack those companies have no idea who has read what they posted and how they are viewed. Again, maybe some of it was legit but lets be honest, most of the the things we type when we feel no one is watching are blunt and unfiltered. Also, it is not the avenue even if it gives you the perception of being intimate and small. You are up on stage in front of everyone in that group making these claims.
It made me think about the balance between having a voice and when you should use it. Also making sure you are speaking up for things that are worth your time and worth living beyond your personal journal. Because when we post these things they are going to reach people we didn't even think about.