Don’t be a jerk online*.
The barrier of a screen and the weapon that is a keyboard made us more likely to be slackers in our language and tone of voice, but the biggest damage done is to our long term thinking.
Here’s a quick story:
A while back I responded to a question asked on a professional group and I gave the (very technical, hands-on) solution. Five days later, someone else, who is also a trainer, responded while contradicting my reply, saying to the author of the post something like “you can definitely do it… DM me for the answer”.
Now, let’s assume that I was wrong, why not simply say what in this person’s opinion the solution is and share it with the other 3,000 people in the group?
In the short term, maybe they got some private messages, maybe even came to a few people’s awareness as knowledgeable.
In the long term, I believe most people didn’t see it as something positive – the lack of sharing (and manners 🙃), the non-collegial approach, and well, aside the DMs, no one knew if the person actually had a better answer.
I see it happening all the time, people thinking that by being sneaky, perhaps what they perceive as cool or sophisticated they are actually hurting their biggest asset – their reputation.
Especially if you’re a young professional – don’t be that person. If not for the right reasons, because being kind is free (and absolutely does not contradict professionalism), do it for your personal and professional interests.
*Clearly, I don’t think you should be a jerk offline as well 😊