When you were a child, your mother probably told you that appearances don’t matter. The reason she told you this is because she wanted you to focus on education and developing your character instead of perfecting your makeup or outfit. Perhaps she just knew that you weren’t going to be able to get by on your looks, but though your mother meant well, she’s a liar.
Appearances do matter, and your mother proved it to you every time she fixed your hair, adjusted your clothes or told you to sit up straight and behave yourself. She knew that if her children were seen to be unkempt or poorly mannered, it would reflect negatively on her.
As an adult, appearance becomes much more important. Whether it’s dressing for a job interview, impressing the opposite sex or fitting into a social group, we are compelled to use our appearance to please those around us. You cannot expect to succeed in life if you do not do this. In many situations appearance is very important, but there’s one situation where it is especially essential: Internet chat.
If you are under the age of forty or you’re unusually hip, then you’ve probably used a chat program such as MSN Messenger, ICQ, Facebook Chat or mIRC. Some of these programs allow you to change your status, or appearance, to busy, away or appear offline. Most Internet chatters abuse these options to avoid unwanted conversations. If we wish to evade one or more persons, we simply set our status to something unwelcoming to deflect awkward or cumbersome chat.
The worst of these appearance options is appear offline, which is the online equivalent of having your phone number blocked from caller ID. By choosing appear offline, we are saying that we want to be able to see who else is online and chat with them but not be seen as online and have people chat with us. This behavior is selfish and collectively destructive. If everybody’s phone number appeared as restricted or every Internet chatter used appear offline; these services would cease to function.
If you remove yourself from caller ID or use appear offline, then you are leeching off the collective’s superior behavior. The only reason that these functions work is because society as a whole is better than you.
Appearance is everything. Appear online.