The Digitization of Failure

A recent blog entry by a fellow blogger over at Factotum llc made me realize a few things: 1. That failure is something that we are constantly reminded of and regularly afraid of. And 2. No matter how much we try to escape it, failure is something that exists everywhere. Even on the Internet.

And the best part about it being on the Internet? Feedback is instant, and it doesn’t cost anything (except maybe a small shred of your dignity). Whereas in school, failure may come at the expense of a poor grade, on the web, and particularly in social media, it’s more often than not simply a lack of real interest.

Sure, it’s different. Having only three people ‘like’ a status update or wall post won’t have any serious repercussions on your well being, but it still stands as an important factor that influences whether or not you choose to respond to anything on the web.

In essence, the Internet is a very forgiving playground. Countless, minuscule scrapes never deter us from posting on the Internet, because regardless of how shoddy we feel our work is, the web never completely rejects it. Rarely is a blog post, status update, or tweet ever turned down on the web. Scolded, debated, or even hated, maybe. But rarely turned down.

And that’s the brilliance of it.

Although anonymity over the web has long obscured identities and further limited the personal repercussions of such things as blog, forum, and comment posts (and still does to some degree), such things as Facebook Connect have been bringing increasing accountability to the webosphere.

Because the barrier of entry is low, we can consistently test out what works and receive immediate feedback. While failure hasn’t necessarily translated from the real world to the web in the same fashion as say, calling has for Skype, it is still a key component on the web.

It’s just that now, rejection comes in the form of a -1.