Lauren had given him the cold shoulder all week (not replying to his text messages), and had finally agreed to meet with him on Sunday to talk about it, which she was anxious about. 'Why', I asked? 'You need to clear the air, sort it out, work out if you want to keep it going?' She said, 'Mum you don't understand. Generation Y are keyboard warriors. We do conflict by text and in-boxing, not in person.' (I could hear the implied duh!)
A keyboard warrior is basically a person who expresses their anger via aggressive writing in the form of texts, emails, tweets etc. OMG, I too have been possessed by Keyboard Warrior syndrome! The picture above epitomises the written attacks by my ex-husband. I was on the receiving end, and threw the grenades back of course, of some very abusive keyboard warrior attacks. In Lauren's case, it was not abuse but rather conflict that she was describing. Conflict that 'in the good old days' we used to stand in front of each other and yell or get upset about, not just pass hurtful written words back and forth...although I do remember a nasty handwritten letter or two at high school.
It's not the first time that I have noticed the change in how generation Y and Z communicate. Lauren's first boyfriend she never met in person. They met online via My-Space (now defunct I believe) and broke up before they ever went on a date. Her long-term boyfriend she met via school friends on Facebook, and he broke up with her by text. Is it wrong to communicate in such a fashion? I guess it is rather economical in terms of time. I remember walking twenty minutes to the phone box to spend my pocket money just so I could have a conversation with my boyfriend in private. I have diaries and hand-written letters from teenage boyfriends...are these any different to a romantic email or text? Probably not. At least an email does not get flooded, and if saved correctly can be kept forever.
So, if a keyboard warrior is an angry message-sender then I figure there are heaps of other 'keyboard' stereotypes (my mind always jumps ahead to random thoughts). The keyboard cold-shoulder-er (yep, I have ignored a text or two when pissed off), the keyboard lover (god, I miss him), the keyboard comic (always posting funny jokes), and the keyboard pessimist - I can think of many Facebook status-posters that would fit this one. Maybe I should make up my own urban dictionary...Me, I would describe as a keyboard fence-sitter (not taking sides) or keyboard diplomat (dispute resolution)...most of the time anyway, with perhaps a little keyboard warrior there just in case.
What type of keyboard-er are you? Have you heard of keyboard warriors before?