My Rules for the Internet (and other things)

Last night, I linked to a post by Merlin Mann over on tumblr, where he laid out an off the cuff list of rules for the internet. It struck me, so I quoted it here because (a) it was too long for twitter (b) I wanted to comment on it (c) no one would see it on my tumblr account.

But it’s not really my list, if you know what I mean; I just kind of liked it. While chatting about it in comments on that post, I decided I’d enumerate a list of my very own to hug and squeeze and call George. Here ’tis:

  1. In any argument, you can be right, or you can be happy, but you can’t be both. Be aware of which you’re choosing.
  2. You get back what you send out.
  3. Keep an eye on the line between “debate” and “argument”. Try not to cross it.1
  4. Everything you say online is public and permanent. Everything.2
  5. If you care about people at all, then their perception of you matters. That perception is built on the stuff you create in #4.

    (And when I’m feeling cynical, I add:)
  6. Everybody lies, but that’s okay, because nobody listens.

Note: these are my rules. They means things to me. They may be of little or no use to you. That’s how it works. Comment chatter welcome.

1 – The line may move on its own, or someone else might move it. You might even move it by accident. You are not going to be the guy who finally convinces that one guy to change his mind. No. You aren’t.
2 – Except for the one thing you wrote that you really want to find a copy of.