On the internet, we often come across groups that seem suspect, weird, wacky, elitist or any number of other things. If you’re like me, you do a little research and then form a personal opinion of said groups. Often it seems, others might have the same opinion of these groups, which forms your opinion even more.
I had an interesting experience recently, when I ‘met’ someone online who belongs to a group that I had formed an opinion of. What I discovered is that all is not as it seems. Yes, part of my opinion was reinforced in some ways, but I realized a lot of other things too. We all have our own way of thinking, our own ideas, our own opinions and even though we don’t like to judge, we do it anyway, even when we don’t realize we are.
How often do we judge people based on who they are friends with, what groups they are members of, or what paths they follow. Sometimes, we assume people are ‘nice’ or ‘good’ based on these criteria and sometimes, we think they are ‘not nice’ based on the same criteria. This isn’t fair, because people are so much more than that. It’s not something I do often but I do it on occasion, although usually with good reason.
I’m an avid reader and my way of looking at books is to not write off a whole book because of the author or because there is stuff in it that I don’t agree with, but to read the whole book and then take with me what I agree with, what I feel is good and ignore the rest. That has served me well, but it is not really something that I have let follow through into my dealings with groups and communities in cyberworld. I am broad minded and generally give the ‘benefit of doubt’, but its often been a case of, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck….(and in a lot of cases, is proved to be a duck).
However, sometimes in among all those ducks, is an ‘ugly duckling’ that can turn into a swan. Not everyone likes swans (and I’m not talking the donor type of swan here) but even though they can be kinda scary at times, and maybe not always so nice, they do have a certain amount of beauty to them. The same can be said for groups and the people in them, we may not agree with everything they stand for, in fact, we might vehemently disagree with some of it, but if we take the time to really find out what they are all about, then we may sometimes be surprised.
I know this probably doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are one of those people, who sometimes judges people based on their groups or friends, then take my advice and find out for yourself first, before preventing yourself from maybe making some awesome friends (or some bad ones 😉 ). Not all people are who you might think they are and not all groups are what you might think they are too.
So bite me!