For most of my life, I have had experiences with people on the internet, both for the good and for the bad.
One thing I found out, was that when it comes to online relations, people tend to be remarkably honest. Even about their deepest and most intimate of secrets.
But there’s one exception.
There’s something that tends to turn otherwise honest, well meaning people, into soulless lying scumbags.
Honesty – Money and Greed
When it comes to money, and someone is trying to get you to part with some of your funds, chances are that you are being scammed. And honesty is to be doubted at all times.
On the Internet, where it seems that everyone wants to grab your $$$, and Nigerian Princes will personally choose you to be the beneficiary of a generous percentage of their inheritance funds, one has to make his due diligence before making deals with strangers online.
Truth is, most people are not scammers. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful, because just one scammer is enough to burn you.
But let’s be real, if you are not greedy and you do your due diligence, most of these scams would not affect you.
Most scammers explore people’s greediness. They offer quick ways to become rich, or solve problems. These offers should be considered with a fair dose of skepticism.
But I am not here to provide you a way to be safe from scammers, because in all honesty, I don’t know of anything else other than:
- Don’t be greedy
- Do your due diligence
- Use Common Sense
Which has worked very well, and I have never been burned too hard, despite all the attempts I have encountered.
Why People Are Honest and Why You Should Also Be
Anyway, apart from scammers you’ll find that dealing with people online is generally a positive experience.
I have thought about why people on the internet tend to be honest, and tried to understand why this happens on a deeper level.
I have come to understand that the following 3 reasons may be able to offer an explanation as to why people tend to be honest online.
These reasons, curiously, also show us how the internet is such a great place.
1 – The Internet is a Safe Place
The web is generally regarded as a safe place, at least relatively speaking. No one’s gonna stab you over the Internet.
And what is the most common reason why people lie?
People often lie to protect themselves.
So what’s the lesson we can learn from this? If you are not threatening to the people you are dealing with on the Internet, even if you are a complete stranger, people will tend to be honest with you.
2 – It’s Easy to Do Fact Checking Online
Is someone telling you a weird story? Things don’t add up? Just Google it.
Rarely will people dare to tell you lies about things you can debunk in under 3 clicks.
3 – There’s a Record For Everything You Say
On the Internet, what you say is for all eternity.
The Internet is a lesson in humility, where if you are wrong, you will have to admit to it. One can’t just go back on what he said, as there are records for everything people put on the Internet.
I am sure this may scare many people, but scares liars especially.
Would you lie if your words were being recorded and you knew you can’t go back on what you said?
I don’t think so.
4 – Extra – The Internet is Leaking
There’s an extra reason why everyone is panicked about lying, even the Government.
The Internet has made the world a more transparent place. It has given rise to the realization of ideals such as the creation of open source software and uncensored communication platforms.
Information of all kinds is being published online. Even corporate secrets and state classified documents have been made public due to the transparent nature of the Internet.
WikiLeaks is the most well known example of an organized effort made in order to surface information about governments and companies worldwide.
WikiLeaks specializes in the analysis and publication of large datasets of censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption. It has so far published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses. – WikiLeaks
But don’t forget, WikiLeaks is not just an organization, it’s efforts are facilitated by the contributions of thousands of people, some have even risked their lives in order to make secret documents about government crimes against the people.
The founder of WikiLeaks himself, Julian Assange, is still being persecuted for his efforts to make the world a more honest and transparent place.
This has made it a bit harder to lie.
If the Internet was a country, it would be an Anarchy. But still, it would be the safest and most transparent country on the planet, and people would generally be nicer.
This tells us that if we could emulate the characteristics of the Internet in the real world, we could, perhaps, have much more honest, well meaning individuals around, with diminished incentive towards dishonesty.
On a positive note, I believe the world is working towards a more transparent and honest version of itself. The Internet is here to change the whole game, and turn criminal organizations upside down. It’s hard to control and manipulate, unlike the media was a couple decades ago.
I’ll leave you with something for you to ponder on.
As the Internet becomes more and more intertwined with our world, through not only smartphones and laptops, but also through the implementation of Augmented Reality systems, and the Internet of Things, will the world become a more honest and transparent place?
Think about it