Yesterday I had a lovely meeting. A lady I first met on WordPress and Twitter, supporting each other’s blogs, happens to live in a city quite close to my hometown. After having exchanged ourselves for some months commenting on blogposts and messaging each other on Twitter we decided, that the time had come to do the step from knowing us virtually to knowing us personally.

It was a bit like crossing a border. In the virtual world I am very restrictive with a lot of things concerning my personal and private life. Much more restrictive than I am in real life even towards people who are not friends but business contacts for example.

One point amongst many others is, that I don’t make a secret of having a daughter, but never mention her name and never post any pictures, she can be recognized on. In real life I’m not that careful.

It was a very good experience to cross that border. We found out, that there are quite some things, that can build a base for developing our virtual ‘friendship’ to a real life friendship. So we left talking of meeting again.

This experience reminded me, that most of my contacts in the virtual world is with real people. It reminded me that behaving respectful is of highest importance online.

Especially because I do not know a lot of things about my ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ it’s important to be careful. My feeling is, that this doesn’t give me freedom in addressing everybody I like in any way I like, but it restricts me.

Not knowing peoples personal values, their weak points, their private lives is a kind of contradiction to acting virtual, where it often is much easier to speak out angry things, to attack a person, to declare love and devotion. A lot of that could even be regarded as stalking if done in real life.

That’s what makes netiquette important.

Tweet as you want to be tweeted…