Why Do People Lose Their Minds When They Get Online?

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Message attached to a Facebook request to be my friend…

From what I read you have some overly romantic, pop, formulaic view of the creative process.

Yes! I sooo want to be your friend now!

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Would you walk up to me and say that at a dinner party?

Then expect me to offer a chest bump, secret handshake and official Friend of Jonathan card (note to self, have cards made)?

I’m insanely approachable in any setting. I don’t care if you wear aviator goggles and a kilt or a Brooks Brothers suit.

But, if you’re gonna be social, don’t forget the basic lessons your mama taught you.

Be civil. Online or off.

And, if you’re opening shot is edgy, at least use an emoticon or something so I know you’re trying to be funny, not offensive.


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34 responses

34 responses to “Why Do People Lose Their Minds When They Get Online?”

  1. Lisis says:

    Agreed. I don’t think I could function online without emoticons. They are the internet equivalent of “Bless his heart,” in the South. You can say anything you want about someone, no matter how awful, as long as you follow it with “Bless his heart.” Then all is forgiven.

    If that guy had just used the famous winky face, he would’ve had a new friend in you.

    (I guess now that I’m a mom, it’s my duty to teach my son about proper use of emoticons.)

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Love that, though I think I might get hit if I started using it on a regular basis in NYC…LOL 😉 🙂 🙂

  2. Dan Holloway says:

    You’re forgetting that we will expect you to be grateful for the 27 lil green patches and 58 farmville gifts we give you. Every day. The internet is indeed the new alcohol. “I can never pluck up the courage until I’ve had a couple of beers” is fast becoming “I can’t pluck up the courage till I’ve retweeted you twice.”
    Still, it has to save on healthcare. Doesn’t it? Gotta go. Seems someone wants me to be their mafia moll…

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Actually, those don’t bother me, especially the lil green patches, been selling them on craigslist as investment opportunities and making a killing!

  3. Dave Doolin says:

    A friend (HT @autkast) and I were discussing it yesterday:

    “If you want to learn social media, learn to be social. The medium is irrelevant.”

    So simple.

  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by twittybean: Why Do People Lose Their Minds When They Get Online? http://bit.ly/4tsG6j

  5. I simply say: If you don’t like my opinions, form some of your own.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Not even getting to whether the comment was valid or not (says the guy who’s been painting, composing, collaborating, writing relentlessly since early childhood and growing up with a funky, hyper-creative potter for a mom). Oh, sorry, and 🙂 =-) 🙂

  6. Ha! That is truly odd. He must have been joking.

  7. Sounds like someone trying to build a huge fan base using some of the more dubious techniques I have seen online. I will keep checking your stuff out and I don’t care if you follow me or not! ‘Course I could hope you do…


  8. What I hate most about online social inappropriateness is how weak and cowardly it is. Taking faceless and practically anonymous stabs at someone just shows such a lack of character. My sense is that the people who are the most aggressive online are probably the most passive, push-over type in real life, they see the online community as a place to try to “assert” themselves. Ah well, what can you do?

  9. That’s hilarious. It would appear that thought is a limited resource and some people have more of it than others.

  10. Jodi Kaplan says:

    Amazing what people will do on the Interwebs that they would never do face-to-face.

    Can’t wait to see those official “Friend of Jonathan” cards. 🙂

  11. I dunno, maybe some people make friends by getting into a tussle with them first. I remember this race of aliens in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation…

  12. Maybe they meant it as a compliment.

    Nah; I don’t believe it either.

    Since I’ve been practicing your signature for the past month, it shouldn’t be too difficult to create my own ‘Friend of Jonathan Fields’ card.

    (Note to those paying attention: the reason Jodi Kaplan looks like a cartoon character is because, she is one. I’ve been practicing her signature, too.)

    • Jodi Kaplan says:


      Ah, but (for anyone who is really paying attention), Joel has a doppelganger.

      Practicing my signature? That explains the 14 pounds of bacon salt that arrived yesterday. 😉

  13. Gordie says:

    I think people completely lose it when online. Have a look at most YouTube comments and you’ll see what I mean. People hide behind anonymity online to give way to their basest personalities.

  14. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brian Clark, Jonathan Fields, remarkablogger, Scott Taylor, .::WebDoctus::. and others. .::WebDoctus::. said: RT @remarkablogger: RT @jonathanfields Why Do People Lose Their Minds When They Get Online? http://bit.ly/4tsG6j (pls RT) […]

  15. Phil Mags says:

    Totally agree. I’ve seen the same issue in the corp world since the dawn of email.

  16. Sarcasm doesn’t always necessarily translate to text, and sometimes, emoticons don’t transmit 🙁 Snarkiness, is much better 🙂

    • Mick Morris says:

      Matches, That is one reason why they say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit… a little common courtesy goes a long way, and Kristina, yes we should be allow for people with aspergers etc.

      Unfortunately the situation Jonathon describes is far more widespread than the prevelance of aspergers in the community, so unless the online community is excessively overrepresentative of the aspergers population then we should all take heed of Jonathons plee and be a bit more civil.

      Jonathon… on the nail again!

  17. Kristina says:

    Maybe the guy has Asperger’s Syndrome?

    I just got done reading John Elder Robison’s book, “Look me in the eye,” and the inappropriateness or lack of manners fits. Penelope Trunk (http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/) also talks about how people with this disorder just don’t get the nuances of social interaction. I dunno, just a thought that this guy might not realize that he’s being offensive.

  18. Mark says:

    Thing about emoticons is that they are often used to mask something else. Hey, let me kick you in the teeth with a smile, ah the joy of words. 🙂

  19. Karanime says:




  20. Katy says:

    My guess? English is not his (her?) native language. Interesting concept for a book though – cocktail party manners for social networking – a guide for the interpersonally challenged…

  21. Sean Aiken says:

    Without context, or the ability to assess non-verbal communication, I take most comments online with a grain of salt.

    I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But I agree, a smile here and there doesn’t hurt. 🙂

  22. I’ve actually met many people who wouldn’t hesitate to make that kind of remark to someone’s face. Not sure if it’s good news or bad news that bad manners often prevail in the non-virtual realm also.

  23. Sue Dyson says:

    So “you have some overly romantic, pop, formulaic view of the creative process”? Compared to what? NO view of the creative process? In which case, this could be construed as a compliment, no? Hilarious. Maybe the person was under the influence. Fill in the blank…

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Funny thing is, I actually have a very grounded, work ethic point of view about it, but that’s something for an upcoming post…

  24. I think it’s true. Same as with a camera; the moment a camera is pointed at someone their IQ drops with a minimum of 10 points.

  25. Sheryl Sisk says:

    Isn’t it “capisce”?

    Anyhoo – a thousand times YES and DITTO, to this post. I’m amazed at the level of vitriol people feel comfortable dishing out on Twitter, FB, blogs, wherever, just because it’s online and not in person. I keep asking myself, “Would this person be that brave in person?”

    And oddly, or maybe not-so-oddly, it’s almost always the ones who claim to be hugely successful. Hmm. Really? You win people over with that attitude?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Okay, so that’s 3 ways to spell Kapish, now. Who’s got the real answer (FYI – I spell it that way because it’s one of those words people probably wouldn’t get if it wasn’t spelled literally, lol)

  26. Randy says:

    Sheryl Sisk is correct. It’s Capisce. Third person, present tense of the verb “capire” which means to understand.

    Technically pronounced “kah-pee-shay”, by mainland Italians, the Sicilian dialect often omits the ending vowel sound of many words, to give us “kah-peesh”.

    Most Americans have likely learned the term from TV shows with stereotyped Sicilian mafioso characters.

    Probably TMI, but there you have it. Cheers!

  27. Katie Marsh says:

    You just nailed my biggest issue with my friend/foe called technology. It is so easy to say through a computer what you would never say to someone’s face, a consequence not being a hurt or angry reaction, but a delete button, allowing you not to see that words have weight.
    I have met people who do not connect, who make thoughtless remarks, but never have I seen in person the mud I have seen thrown around cyberworld, and it hurts me.
    I have thought of this a lot with two girls soon entering the teenage world of texts, facebook, and it makes me feel afraid. I am working on that fear, asking for wisdom, and I respect you for calling him out.