The human race sometimes astounds me until I remember I am a member of the human race. I get frustrated and discouraged like every human being and today is one of those days. I am amazed at the number of people who, even in the biker world are self involved, self centered, rude, hurtful and yes even down right hateful.
And then it hits me...
I realized this morning, that I must be getting old, the changes I see in the biker culture - well some dismay me heartily. I must be getting old because I am old enough to remember the true Biker's Code. What happened to Honor? Honesty, Kindness, Compassion, Caring...what happened to Integrity, to Acceptance? The Internet has done a lot to change communication and while much of that is a good change - in the riding world - I am not so sure.
Bikers, at least the ones I am accustomed to, generally are straight talkers. That doesn't make them great writers. The skill of conveying feeling on the Internet is just that - a skill.
If, like in riding, you don't learn and master the skills necessary for survival, then you are going to go down, and hard. Our community has a hard enough time with persecution that it amazes me how a group of people who have been criticized and in many cases condemned or tarred the way we are - how quick to sling mud, throw stones and generally be unthinking and unfeeling many are.
The internet is a great tool on many fronts but it can also be a detrimental one.
I have learned, the hard way, that people read what they want to read, Or not in the case of directions or instructions.
People can not see your body language, hear the intonation of your voice. They can not hear the evil little giggle of teasing or the deep tones of sadness and hence, unless you are an exceptionally talented writer - it can be very, very easy to hurt someone's feelers or to bring them to the point of hostility, anger and resentment.
The next time you write something on the internet, think first. Think of what you really want to say, what you want to convey and write a draft or two before you send it...
Oh and if your anger and hostility - or your frustration, confusion or embarrassment get the better of you, instead of telling the world about it - why don't you exercise a little discretion and common sense and tell the only person who can explain or rectify things - FIRST. The person whose written words angered, or hurt you.
Telling me and 3-400 other people about person XYZ who hurt you might make you feel better and vindicated but it is not going to get you the results you really need.
I can tell you from experience that the written word can and will be taken out of context.
As effective of a communicator as I can be - I HAVE and probably will again, put my foot in my mouth or hurt someone. Not because I intended to, but like the usually dry humored and often misunderstood British - people did not understand, could not understand the intent of what I was saying. Generally a phone call solves the issue, sometimes it does not.
Like the accusations that were leveled at me, by a person who considers themselves a biker, over alleged misappropriation of funds - he wrote it, sent it out to about a 1,000 people - it was completely untrue and had the person who shot their mouth off ever come to me - asked ME about what went on - I could have relieved their fears - but I was never given that chance.
Nope, there was no honor there. The Biker's Code was completely ignored and I was blamed for something I DID NOT DO. Why? Because this person didn't stop to think about the ramifications of what they had to say or the media by which they chose to say it.
The Internet is a great communications tool, but, like any tool, it needs to be used safely and I am not talking viruses and trojans - I am talking about being smart in what you say, how you say it and what your intent is and WHO you say it to.
To the viscous, the petty and the small - you have just found the greatest way to spew your hatred, self centered ness and your petty ness.
For the rest of you - use it for the good it can do and if the words some one writes hurt you - take it up with them. If your words hurt someone - pick up the phone.
Like everyday - I welcome it when you jump in on the topics of the day...talk to me people!
The news is quiet this morning and the slave driver I work for tells me it's time to get invoicing done so until Monday - be safe, think before, during and after you write something and have a great weekend.