Grain, Shaker, or Cellar of Salt?

Would you know me if you met me in person? Would I be the same person you envision from our online / electronic interactions? I doubt it!

My online persona probably comes across rather, hmm, verbose.

If someone met me in person expecting the same (and especially if their own personality requires the same) they would be sorely disappointed. In person, I'm quiet, observant, and listen, listen, listen. When I speak it's typically short and to the point. Some people dare to call me shy (oh how I *curse* that word!). I'm not. Believe me, I have no social anxiety. If I have something to say or do it gets said or done.

If I want to interact with someone, I do. On the other hand, I just don't care to make small talk, fill silences, gossip, debate hot-button topics, or wax eloquent. Take all those things out and yup, you guessed it, my in-person conversations are pretty much all business.

Possibly I also come across online as organized with typically well-thought-out responses.

Psych! Tricked you, I did.

I'm much better at written communication vs. oral. I can put things down in text, rearrange, reflect, edit, adjust, and so on. When I do that (and I DO do that) while speaking it just confuses everybody.

What can I say, I'm a work in progress. :0) 

On a less personal note, the internet changes how we interact.

You can't see my (nor I yours) non-verbal cues. We can misinterpret words without the accompanying body language and vocal inflections. I can read your responses or not (and vice versa). We can each continue the conversation, or not, in our own timeframe which instills, I think, a patience in the dynamic that is not felt during an in-person conversation. We're acting and reacting over a much longer timeframe that we would be in person.

We're also more inclined, perhaps, to continue to pursue our own agenda without the immediate interpersonal give and take of being face-to-face (e.g. in person, or video call/chat). Unfortunately, the distance also lets some people give themselves permission to type without thinking. Put down the flame and step away from the keyboard! The internet isn't as anonymous as some people might like to think, be cognizant of what you put out there as it can come back around to bite you later.

For some reason, the internet also seems to carry an air of authority. The phrase "I saw it on the internet, it must be true" didn't become trite due to all the people out there being skeptical. We have it because too many people DO see something online and DO believe it to be true, just because it's there. 

All this to say how different things can be online vs offline, even when someone's just being themselves and not trying to "put their best foot forward".

For someone like a service provider who's actively promoting themselves in the best light possible, potentially with puffery, the salt grains should be piled even higher.

Turn that shaker upside down and shake, shake, shake.

Do your due diligence of checking multiple sources, both online and if possible offline. For providers in a licensed profession, validate those licenses! Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) if applicable. Call them, talk to them. Ask questions, expect answers. Judge for yourself how professional they appear.

Overturn enough rocks and you might find the perfect match for your needs. 

Or maybe, you'll find you should ditch the salt shaker altogether, grab the salt cellar, and start scooping out the slug-killer.