Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bringing out the beast by Lindsay Clandfield

Dear Readers,
It is my honour to invite you to read my first guest post written by Lindsay Clandfield.

Bringing out the beast

I’ve been a part of the ELT blogosphere and twitterverse for only a year now, so perhaps I’m not making a new point here, but I wonder if this medium doesn’t make us act in occasionally extreme ways. Okay, well maybe extreme is an extreme word but I’ve come across some pretty intense blogposts and comments (both on my blog and on others) that are, at times, rather aggressive and contain thinly veiled character attacks. What’s stranger is that sometimes they are from people who, face to face, are nowhere near like that. I’ve also felt myself get the urge to rant about something too (and no doubt I have, both on my blog and elsewhere).

One argument for this because people experience more disinhibition on the Internet, and feel free of adverse consequences of their words. You could say that the internet brings out the beast in some of us.

But this is only one side of the story. There is another characteristic of this social media which is precisely the opposite: that of extreme affection. On twitter, blogs and other social media I see lots of verbal stroking, encouragement, “you’re the best!” type stuff as well. Sometimes it looks like a veritable love-fest. And yes, before you ask, I’ve also caught myself getting carried away with what one colleague cynically called the “happy-clappy” spirit of it all.

Has anyone else noticed this or is it my imagination? Is there an explanation for it? Is it a man-thing or woman-thing? Does all this web 2.0 stuff give us all bipolar tendencies?

This is a little post I’ve been meaning to write for some time, and it never managed to fit into my six things format I set for myself on my other blog. So I’m glad that Anita invited me here to do a blog post for her. 

Lindsay Clandfield is a teacher, teacher trainer and author. He is also a fan of lists and a godfather of L_missbossy's ELT playground. Lindsay's blog Six Things is, in my humble opinion, one of the best in the blogosphere. 


  1. Lindsay, I have just said something very similar to you over in Jeremy Harmer's blog...

    Yes, I do too sometimes have similar feelings and have expressed them over there.

    Keep writing.

  2. Marisa, I just spent a very fruitful time reading those posts and comments, thank you! Great minds think alike eh?

  3. LindsaY, I don't know about yours.... I know about mine... :-) ho ho ho...

    I think maybe it's a stage in social media... I read somewhere about it...when anything anyone writes just begins to bug you?

    I could be but I do hope we get past it.

  4. Hey, be careful of that Lindsay geezer! He once told me that he liked my blog, and NOBODY gets away with abusing me like that, I tell yer!!

  5. Ha, ha ... I like what Marisa says;

    when anything anyone writes just begins to bug you... I think that happened to me (last month) but simply took a break and it worked like a treat.

    But on to what Lindsay has said, I think because we're not able to hear "tone of voice" see the twinkle in someone's eyes to signify that really they're just "messing with your head" or body language to know what's really going on people tend to simply read words and make assumptions about what they think they've read but unless it's communicated back to the commenters... it's very hard to know what's really going on (if that makes any sense).

    Also, to take this up a notch or two, while I understand Lindsay's point about people not behaving the same way in their real lives as they do online, in many respects - correct me anyone if you will - while online though people can give out false impressions, sometimes I think one that accidentally one can also give out more honest an impression of their true natures than they do when in physical company.

    It's a strange one... I know I can be pretty strong-willed and argumentative online (especially when I perceive myself as being backed into a corner) while in real life people may strain to hear what I am saying (I can at times be very soft-spoken) however I also know that in other facets of my personality are being unleashed, the social networking side ...I'm not much a networker or socializer in Real Life... I find that interesting and wonder how this will develop as time goes on.

    Anyway, phew - that was all a bit long.

    Take care,