10 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Idiot, a Gear Diary PSA


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10 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Idiot, a Gear Diary PSA Listen to this article


It’s that time again– time for your friendly neighborhood technology-obsessed Gear Diary team to offer some thoughts and suggestions in the form of a public service announcement. Today’s PSA: 10 Ways To Avoid Being An Idiot Online.

Gizmodo the Gadget Guide


Number 1. To avoid being an idiot online make sure you don’t use gratuitous cursing in your posts and your comments. It doesn’t make you look cool, it isn’t funny and it really adds nothing to the conversation. It just makes you look like an adolescent… and a rather immature one at that.


Number 2. To avoid being an idiot online correct people’s mistakes in private. If you see a mistake in a post, comment or other article don’t publicly comment on the mistake or tweet it. There is a reason for email, IM, Direct Tweets etc. Publicly pointing out someone else’s errors doesn’t make you cool or a better technology writer. It just makes you look like a moron. The only exception one can imagine here is the case of someone has never ever made a mistake for him or her. In that case feel free to build yourself up by putting others down. But keep in mind that if you think you are one of those people who has never made a mistake… you’ve got bigger issues with which to deal.

Old joke that was NEVER funny

Number 3. Avoid being an idiot online by using the blind copy fields in your email if you are e-mailing more than four or five different people. No one wants you sharing their email address with 75 people when you distribute the stupid joke that’s been around for five years. Email the joke to yourself and send a blind copy to everyone else. Or better yet, don’t email the joke at all. It wasn’t even funny the first time it made its way around and that was five years ago.

10 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Idiot, a Gear Diary PSA

Michael Anderson:(Commenting on the initial email having a ton of typos)

That stuff is WHACK! And jeez, you misspelled tonz o’crap – just another one of those things in this age of auto-correct, to the point I had to tweet it out and post on Facebook to point out how much it happens!

But hey, auto-correct PHAIL is the chink in the armor of mobile technology …

(c w0t i did tehre?) 😉

BTW – totally agree. Last week there was an article on some mobile tech site where the author swapped usage of ‘then’ and ‘than’, and the comments completely devolved after someone went on an abusive rant about it …

10 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Idiot, a Gear Diary PSA

Number 4: Avoid being an idiot online by remembering this: In every encounter in life you can choose to either be the person you always wanted to be … or be the person you hoped you would NEVER become.

10 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Idiot, a Gear Diary PSA

Number 5: Avoid being an idiot online by not speaking in ‘absolutes’ in a discussion. This is something they tell you for relationships in general – ‘always’ and ‘never’ are the quick route to ending a civil discussion. NEVER do it!

Universal Truth  42 Tshirts from Zazzle com

Number 6: Avoid being an idiot online by remembering that there are few universal truths, and since the person you are writing to or about might be living in a very different circumstance from your own.

Number 7: Avoid being an idiot online by reading and re-reading what you wrote. Think not about that you want to say but rather think about how what you wrote will be heard and, more to the point, misunderstood. Also read and re-read the other person’s opinion. They might be right and you are missing it … or you might be right and they are missing it due to lack of clarity.

Travis Ehrlich:


Number 8: Avoid being an idiot online by not posting pics you don’t intend your boss, mother or significant to see. That goes for writing too. And if you have a problem or fight, do it in private!!!!

10 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Idiot, a Gear Diary PSA

(image courtesy Engadget)

Doug Moran:

Number 9: Avoid being an idiot online by remembering that *anything* you say *can and may* be associated with your real-life persona at any time by anyone basically forever after you send it out, and word your posts/emails/responses accordingly. If you think hiding behind an alias will protect you, you’re wrong. You may be forced to stand behind anything you post at any time; keep that in mind all the time.


Judie gets the final word:

Number 10. Remember that anything you put online is only a “right-click and save as” away from becoming the next internet meme. If you don’t want to be known as “that girl who …” don’t post it.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.