I’ve been with Ning for some time now, writing freelance for a fairly popular site based around the Ning social networking platform. As well as writing articles for the site I also have to deal with various running aspects and ensure new content goes up daily, thus keeping the userbase happy. Given some recent events at the site, it got me to thinking about the idea of peace as an ethos in online spaces. This ties in nicely since “Ning” itself allegedly means “Peace”.
It seems there are a few ‘rules’ in online spaces and they seem to be a bit of a dichotomy within and of themselves. On the one hand you have the individual who will use this public arena to free themselves of things as far from peaceful as they can, generally in another users direction. The other side of this rather unsavory coin is the agreeable user. This user will go out of their way to agree and be agreeable. We get both of these on Ning and it is fascinating to observe them and the patterns that arise. Anonymity online lends the user the chance to be free, to be vile and awful to strangers, or to put forth a persona that is agreeable and liked by the midline user.