The Internet: Cyberspace: social Media reminds me of the Enchanted Forest in Fairy Tales.
The Enchanted Forest is an interesting place. For Snow White it was a place of refuge against the Evil Queen who wished to kill her. For Red Riding Hood or Red Cap it was both a place of refuge and danger – her Grandmother, the Woodcutter and the Wolf were there. It was also a place where opportunity lay and perhaps fortunes can be made – as Hansel and Gretel found out after out thinking the witch or as many a Prince Charming found, when they discovered their Snow White and Rapunzel, or when a traveller chanced upon a small man dancing around a fire and shouting out his name, Rumpelstilskin, and was able to save the Queen from losing her child.
In several ways the Internet: Cyberspace: Social Media: the Digital World is like the Enchanted Forest. Like the Enchanted Forest it could be a place of refuge, opportunity or danger. And not anything can be taken at face value.
So does the rule in the Enchanted Forest also apply in the Digital World?
First, Do not trust everything you read or see. They may be false, like the poisoned apple given to Snow White or the trusting Old Lady in the Gingerbread House or the Wolf dressed up as Grandmother.They may be more than they seem, the Wolf in the Heartless Giant may be an ally or even the Devil’s Grandmother. A Beast may be a cursed Prince waiting for redemption. Not everything is as it seems. It is easy to create falsehood and unproven opinion things on the web. Not eveything is as it seems.
Second, Do not stray away from the path and be wary of Strangers. Red Cap and Red Riding Hood were warned of this. You never know what happens when you go away from the path, and going away from the path on-line is just a click away. At the least it will take you to site of no value to you or may potentially harm you – a spam blog or web page designed to funnel information from you. And be wary of anyone on the Net for all you know that person is not who he or she says it is and/or they might have less than altruistic reasons for contacting you.
Third, And do not reveal your true name otherwise they would have power over you. In Cyberspace this relates not only to our name but the over-sharing of things about us. There is the danger of identity theft and breaking into our accounts – something made easier by over-sharing of personal information. Over-sharing also makes it possible to stalk you. And over-sharing can also lead to an ad naseum effect on one’s friends. Please do not get me wrong, the Internet is a good place to share things about you and yourself, I am just saying do not share everything. You might turn of friends and family and it might come back to haunt you one day.
Fairy Tales have been desribed as both subersive and cautionary tales. Not surprising its first main audience were the people not the King and Nobles. It is imteresting that the three rules in the Enchanted Forest also applies in the Internet: (i) Not everything is as it seems; (ii) Do not stray away from the path ( If you do be extra careful); and (iii) do not reveal your true name – do not over- share.