I love that the internet is a small town. I love that I know people through certain channels, then run into people in real life where we share friends. probably the best example of this is when I met Alex Hillman of Independents Hall at a meeting about Blog Philadelphia and Podcamp Philly, and found out we were both friends with one of the best people on the planet, Eric Skiff.
As such, there’s a fair amount of the benefits and burdens of small towns as well, this time spread digitally over the world. This means gossip and speculation, things getting blown out of proportion and becoming a “big deal” when in real life, the incidents are at best minor and barely worth a mention, let alone passing along the gossip chain.
But this also means accepting a sense of responsibility for ourselves and others. It means acting like a grown-up. Managing your digital footprint so it doesn’t cause problems for you personally or professionally. Erring towards being kind and generous with others rather than keeping score or tabs on other people all the time.
Like any small town, news travels fast. There are people you trust, and people you don’t. You aren’t always sure who’s just friendly, but not necessarily your friend. And then people will surprise you by their extreme generosity towards others and willingness to help at the drop of the hat.
I find this analogy is most helpful when I think about the ‘net and social media- what’s your point of view? Is it a small town, or more like a college dorm? how do you view things?