It’s a truism that on the Internet anyone can be anyone else. Or, as is sadly sometimes the case, no one at all. I, myself, have never used eBay and don’t pretend to know how it works, or why, though I know of many people who are very happy selling and purchasing items from it and sites like it (and I have no idea how many sites there are).
Despite being midway through the second decade of the 21st Century, some classic Latin, Caveat emptor, seems to be a watchword wherever you wander on the Weird Wild Web. I’ve taken to wearing a helmet and a condom while also fastening my seat belt whenever I’m seated doing interweb things because you never can tell.
Tuesday was Internet Safety Day which always makes me think of Men Without Hats for absolutely no good reason whatsoever (rivalling only the video for that song which had even less reason to be than I might ever develop for my thought process). So perhaps it was appropriate to learn of Paul Barrington, and how even on the Internet anyone can serve as a cautionary tale.
All we have online is our reputation-not surprisingly all we have in our person to person dealings with one another when we have no mouse and keyboard. For better and as Paul learned sometimes for worse, our word isn’t worth the flat panel screen it’s displayed on.
Yes, somewhere in the story you’ll read how Paul will be made whole, in terms of getting his money refunded (and probably being allowed to keep the printed picture of the Mac Book he didn’t really buy), but there will always be a scintilla of suspicion and not just for him (but for us who’ve read of his plight as well) when engaging in online commerce.
As Steve Jobs once offered, “Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.” Or sometimes, to one another.