Being vulnerable

18425537072_954d4b0e1d_oI’ve had so much fun over the last 18 or so months. Ever since I happened upon rhizo14 and then discovered other such events I have been making the most wonderful friends. I’m not going to list you all – there are too many of you for that – but I hope you know that I mean you  – that’s right – you. It’s been glorious – I’ve laughed so much, and learnt so much, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it (whatever “it” is).

Then something happened a couple of weeks ago that hurt me – a lot. It still hurts. And Helen wrote this blog post asking how we share our human side online. And it made me cry, because I saw that she understood.

I knew about trolls, and how they could hurt – I’ve been hanging about in left-wing, feminist spaces online for long enough now that I am mainly immune to them – but I didn’t expect to be hurt by somebody I counted as a friend.

So – my questions are – if we reveal our human sides in digital spaces, and in so doing we make ourselves vulnerable, then how do we prepare ourselves for the possibility that others, also being human, might do things that hurt us? And how do we attempt, being human ourselves, to model our behaviour so as not to inadvertently hurt others?

And how would we go about helping students work through these questions?

Picture of vulnerable black-handed spider monkey: flickr photo by goingslo http://flickr.com/photos/goingslo/18425537072 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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17 Responses to Being vulnerable

  1. mrsloomis says:

    More later, but first thought : isn’t that the same risk we take in f2f relationships?

  2. Simon Ensor says:

    Low expectations. Carpe Diem. Develop Dalek Armour. Reduce numbers of friends. Say WTF. Avoid conferences. Go to pub. Keep knitting.

  3. Just read a tip in a book about freeing ourselves from expecting the universe revolves around us and thought it only right that my friends should try it first.

    As a kid there were friendships that took more effort than others.

  4. dogtrax says:

    I’m sorry that something like this happened and can only give you the thread of friendship from which to spin a web of positive. It saddens me that you had to write a post like this, but I also know the reality of the world, too.
    Kevin

  5. jaapsoft2 says:

    I like the “spin a web of positive” answer of Dogtrax. Are the other friends worth you staying vulnerable? My answer would be (being not you) living behind walls is the alternative way. And I do not want that.

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      Hi Jaap.

      Yes – the others are worth it. You all are. Thank you.

      Do you know – you were the first person I spoke to in rhizo14 – you commented on my blog the week before it “officially” started.

  6. keith.hamon says:

    This pains me, Sarah, and I’m sorry such things happen, but they do. You have good answers here, and they will likely all work—sort of—but you probably did the best thing: talk about it. Have a beer and talk about it. I’ll have a beer for you, and if we ever go actual, I’ll have a beer with you and talk about it. That always seems to help me.

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