Don’t be a douche online, kids

So if you’ve followed my twitter or Facebook, you probably saw my update last week about a little customer service problem that was brought to the light by the amazing Penny-Arcade.com here and here. Basically, this douchebag who runs a company called Ocean Marketing that helped with distribution of a cool gaming controller, treated someone who emailed for customer service like crap. Read the article for the big story. Anyway, once this came out on Penny Arcade, the interwebs blew up, people lost their jobs,
someone had to change their twitter handle and all hell broke loose.

The whole thing got me thinking about the internet and how it’s really changed how people are able to treat each other.  It used to be that a guy like this jerk would have done what he did and the poor customer would have been screwed. He might have been able to report the incident somewhere, but what else could he have done? Now he tells a few gaming mags/blogs and all of a sudden we ALL know what’s up and we’re tweeting about it, blogging about it and demanding that someone fix it.

What the douchebag forgot is that he’s a “public person”. Just vaguely mind you, but still. He represents a company (his own now, the controller creator has fired him) and so what he says isn’t just about the fact he’s a bully and a jerk. I sometimes see the same sort of attitude online from other public people. They tweet about situations they’re not informed about, they get into twitter wars over the stupidest crap and they make themselves look sooooo bad. Once that stuff is out there, you can take it back or change it just by changing your twitter handle.

The bottom line is, isn’t it just easier not to be a jerk, online or otherwise? Not to use the supposed anonymity of the interwebs to kick the dog because it makes you feel better. Because the thing is that you never know who the dog is online. And also… you just shouldn’t go around kicking the dog because it’s mean and small and petty and makes you look like a bitch when people catch you doing it.

I am not saying that I’ve never said anything online that I’ve regretted. I’m sure you can find some stuff I’ve written that makes me look… well, probably mostly pathetic rather than bitchy. If I’ve been bitchy, it’s probably in a more generic “snarky” way than specifically toward another human person with feelings and a mom.

Maybe it’s all about entitlement. Jerks on the internet (and in real life) think they’ve “earned” something. Whether it’s your business or your respect they’re going to demand it if you do anything to deny it. Only they haven’t “earned” anything. I don’t think I “deserve” your business or your good reviews or your blogs. Not because I’m just awesome anyway. The only way I “earn” that is by somehow catching your eye with my product, having it live up to your expectations and then the rest is up to you. I appreciate the book purchases and the reviews on Amazon, I might even ask for them. But I don’t think you “owe” me.

But this guy, and others like him, whether they be actors, writers or whoever… they think we all “owe” them just because they think they’re hot shit and we should worship accordingly. But nowadays, the only thing you’re going to get out of that kind of crap attitude is a bad reputation, three pages of “the guy is a jerk” on google searches and a new twitter handle.

I guess what it comes down to is don’t be a douche. Not online and not in life. It doesn’t pay. Just ask the jerk in the Penny-Arcade
story.

  • Amen! (she says fervently)

    In some ways I think the internet has allowed more people to be bigger d-bags (or maybe just to show what big ole d-bags they’ve always been). Most of them seem to think they can say anything they want with impunity. But what they forget is the very vehicle that allows them to be big ole d-bags can totally destroy them. Just ask Mr. Penny-Arcade.

    I try to follow the Golden Rule when it comes to the interwebs: Do unto others and if you haven’t got anything nice to say, keep your trap shut! 😉

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