Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Internet and driving

While witnessing a well-warranted and funny episode of road rage today, it suddenly occurred to me how similar surfing on the Internet is to driving.

Every intersection is akin to a forum or a chatroom, where there's the possibility that someone will oblige you with a nicety, but more (or less, if you live among kinder folk) likely, you'll see someone not let you in, or someone will block you, or cut you off, etc. Visiting destinations is like visiting points of interest. Road-tripping is very akin to online collaboration, the likes of which will increase thanks to Google Wave. In the big picture, the main similarity is this: just like how people often forget that the people who post on forums and in chatrooms are actual people, so do drivers forget that people in other vehicles are people. People aren't perfect and they make mistakes.

On the net, nothing's THAT important that we should forget that other people are actually sitting in front of computers on the other end of those conversations. If you acknowledge their humanity, you end up being less misanthropic and angry towards them, or so I see it.

Driving is a bit different because if someone makes a big enough mistake, then it becomes a life or death situation. Does that truly justify our anger, or are we just pompous about how we drive? We can't possibly expect everyone to know we're in a rush. And, if this kind of anger is justified, the what justifies our anger on the net, the situation being so far from dire?

Everyone makes mistakes, right?

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