Most of us get nervous when we have to stand in front of a crowd and have to make a speech, or just when we think everyone is looking at us. We don’t like to be scrutinised.
Learning lines for the school play, knowing that if I mucked them up a whole audience of Mums and Dads would know, I had felt sick.
Musical performances, speeches, presentations; we practice them over and over again so as not to make a mistake and embarrass ourselves in front of whoever may hear them.
Books get drafted and edited and drafted and edited until the writer is blue in the face, before they are published – so there are no mistakes.
So why on earth do we go online and post whatever we feel like, unedited, without this feeling?
The biggest audience we have is online, millions of people can access and read whatever you have chosen to put on your blog, or Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn…yet we don’t get worried or embarrassed.
I work in a job where I am scrutinised every single day, and not by my boss or my colleagues – but by the thousands of followers and subscribers interested in the sport of cycling.
I have to think about what I am typing, who I am writing too – and one tiny slip up, one tiny typo and there is always someone to say something about it. There is never any room for error with an online crowd.
But yet you see people lose their temper online, make constant spelling mistakes, embarrass each other, tell the world where they are going and who with or declare their love for one another (it isn’t all bad…) And why?
You wouldn’t stand in front of thousands of people in your town centre and shout at the top of your voice saying “I am going to the gym” whilst pouting.
You wouldn’t walk up to someone in the street (who you are friends with on Facebook but would never speak to normally) and tell them they are ugly.
I am no saint however, and the “see your memories” feature on Facebook makes me cringe – a lot of what I posted back in 2010 has no informational or news value whatsoever – I read it back and think who cares?
It is probably only because of my job that I question what gets posted on the internet – I sit down and think, does anybody really care about what I am going to say? And also, does this really shed me in the best light?
I may sound like a boring old fart, but looking back – I wish somebody had given me the same advice five years ago…
Originally posted on the Evening Times on 1st October 2015.