Seven ways to handle your dysfunctional online situations.

I base that thought on an article from Monster online, which is all that Monster makes itself useful for nowadays. (Seven ways to handle your dysfunctional office.) There is a lot of advice out there, and relatively little of it is good. I feel that this is some of the good stuff.

I point out this excerpt:

Step Away from the Action

Start looking at your office as though it were any dysfunctional organization from movies or TV. “Sit back as an observer and watch,” suggests Donna Flagg, principal of learning and productivity specialist The Krysalis Group. “Do not participate…because the thing that makes dysfunctional behavior thrive is the participation of dysfunctional people. If you separate yourself, you remain on the ‘functional’ side of the line.”

Remain in Control

One way to stay functional is to avoid returning fire — no matter how under siege you feel. This allows you to control the people trying to control you, says Joel Epstein, author of The Little Book on Big Ego and CEO of Friction Factor. “Most ‘ego monsters’ want you to fight with them,” adds Epstein. “It makes them happy.”

The solution? Throw the game and lose on purpose. “Let the ego monster think they’ve won,” he advises.

Stay Focused

Concentrating on your job performance while others are engaged in less-productive activities can be an effective way of coping and advancing, says Heather Millen, a Boston-based marketing administrator. “Act how you think a professional should act, no matter how enticing it is to come to their level,” she says. “I once had a boss who thought things could only be done his way. But by sticking by what I thought was right rather than giving into his every whim, the working relationship grew stronger, and we each had greater respect for the other.”

Bolded parts for emphasis.

So I’m catching up on the matter from this week, and it called to mind those general rules I had given, some time ago, about not posting on “unmoderated” BBSs–by which, of course, I mean BBSs where the moderator doesn’t hold to a standard. As the people who had read me long ago know, my blog started in the days when local politics BBSs were in the early days of their short-lived existence. Hoofin was a screen name, based on my habit of taking walks in the suburbs, where people generally didn’t walk. I know some other people got the idea that it meant I go from country to country–but that’s way off the mark. One of the things that made Tokyo great for me is that it is a great walking town, so much of it being flat or reclaimed land.

The idea in 2003 was that, through a blog, I would be able to communicate my thoughts to you, the reader, unfiltered. (That is, without having three other posters, or one person using five different screen names as socks, trying to interfere with that.)

I have found that that method works really well. I have a comment thread set up, but most people like to use the e-mail. That’s fine by me, because I really don’t want to have to moderate comments. I know this meant that I would stay small by choice, and that’s fine. I try to write both to the dedicated readership, and to the people who are interested in one specific topic on a search. It is hard to do both.

As a result, this method can be misconstrued as that I “see only what I want to see”. But that’s not true. It’s my opinion, delivered to YOU. The feedback, if any, comes to me by e-mail (response to ME, eh?) and so things happen in the tiny life of the blog that go over others’ heads, if they read it searching for controversy or a soap opera. I’m not that kind of blog.

Also, some of what comes to me by e-mail is requested to be confidential. I almost always adhere to that, and those other times, I let the person know. This comes from professional training, where certain things must be confidential. And confidential means that you don’t get to know that I know it. So I have to act like I don’t know it. Right? See? So, for example, if say, that a novel (like, ehem, “In Appropriate”), was “probably a solid first attempt”, it may not mean that I haven’t read the book, but that someone gave me enough of the book that I can make a statement like that. The part that you don’t see is that not everyone buys a book to read it. Why should I have to tell you that? And I know, for most of my readers, I don’t have to explain that.

Other things that turned me off to the BBS format in the 2000’s had to do with, well, arguing with an idiot. For example, I recently was discussing the concepts of “extraterritoriality” of a federal law, and “equal protection of the law“. Everyone who is a Japan-side foreigner (or naturalized, or what have you) should understand these concepts. But then, suppose you’re nudged into having to explain them to the resident know-it-all of a BBS? This, I call having to “fix the internet”. You cannot fix the internet. Some people spend their day (their workday, too) messing up the internet. How are you going to fix everything? So I just demur on that project.

You have these people who don’t want any bitching on the internet. Then, off they go, again. Bitching. On BBSs, under assumed names. Most of these people bitch about someone else’s bitching. They even set up BBSs for groups of bitchers to bitch. When they get tired of bitching at one target, they shift their attention somewhere else. Or when the bitching isn’t enough, they throw in gossip and falsehoods, too.

They’ll say things like “that website posts everyone’s IP address, it’s so Orwellian!” What, mine? Where? Surely not mine–my Sitemeter, below, is locked. I can point you to sites that let the public see you’re viewing them. (They’re the ones that pretend to get millions of hits, but most are visits every 6 minutes from computers in Third World countries. Deception and the internet go hand in hand, ne?)

Usually the moderator of these [yet other] kinds of BBSs will jump in [to criticism placed into the blog] to say, “I really don’t want to drag so-and-so into this,” with the “this” in place of saying “an uncalled-for series of personal attacks and lies” for whatever reason the mob had in mind. It then makes you wonder who is more disreputable, those that sit down to drink, or the host who sets the dinner table?

The bad internet drives out the good. It is the toxic workplace of the online chattering classes. You can’t argue dysfunction with a dysfunctional person.

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