No universal rules for handshakes

When tuning one’s presence when one is about to become each other’s witness, this tuning is actually a testing of the boundaries of the social contract. Like the handshake is a tuning, as are two modems connecting. There are no universal rules for handshakes in an online community.

The community will correct each participant, through comments and remarks of other people, till everybody is equally uncomfortable. Complex dynamics characterize such tuning moments. Who is the boss? What is the right tone? How to fit in? And these are also influenced by expectations, which are the result of previous experiences in real and online spaces.

When discussing the different tones in mailinglists it can be concluded that the same system is different in every context and is defined by many variables: level of English, use of the Google translator, political context, culture in certain ‘scenes’, whether people know each other IRL, how people know each other online and/or IRL. When tuning one’s presence in an online community one can read the history of the community, lurk for a while and decide how to pitch one’s presence.