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The Internet & Me: Why I Need to Participate Less

16 Jul

Like almost any human being on the planet these days, I don’t know what I would do without the internet. There is so much awesome stuff I wouldn’t know, so many wonderful things I wouldn’t have seen. This doesn’t mean I’ve learned anything of value -far from it -but good golly Miss Molly, I have been entertained by this medium beyond comprehension. I am information-addicted, and when my web browser has ten tabs open, it actually means that I need to find more SNL videos/NPR Code Switch articles/meaningless Top 10 lists to fill it up with. I can’t help but feel enriched when I can watch a special about Titanoboa from the comfort of my bed. However, I also can’t help but feel a bit old when my Internet reference-laden vocabulary is unfamiliar to those younger than me. The other day I started talking like the Teen Girl Squad, and called something a betch, and my four years younger roommate had no idea what I was talking about. It’s devastating when the viral videos and memes of yesteryear are abandoned for something like twerking (<–not linked for a reason).

Though I love the internet, and it loves me, there are some ways that I interact with it that need to stop. I mean make like Joey Gladstone and Cut. *Scissors* It. *Index Finger* Out *Backwards Thumb*. Why, whhhhyyyyyy do I still bother to read the comments on articles –and why do I comment on them?? Comments are for trolls and people who have developed an opinion off of one badly researched CNN article. It never gives me any satisfaction or any feeling that I’ve actually contributed something to an actual conversation.

Since I haven’t yet stopped commenting on articles, the universe gave me a reason to just yesterday. I had of course commented on the soon-to-be Pulitzer winning Rolling Stone article, “The Dumbest Band Names of All Time.” Don’t ask me why I still read stuff on Rolling Stone. It used to be my dream job to work for them, and now they are basically one notch above Buzzfeed in terms of quality. Still, I shared my opinion, which I’m sure the world was waiting with bated breath for:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I had completely forgotten about making the comment, as one tends to forget about trivial, meaningless things, until I got an e-mail saying that someone had replied to my post. Since I hadn’t put up anything polarizing or inflammatory, I couldn’t guess why someone would actually want to interact with my milquetoast observations. This is what I got:

Idiot Stick

OH MY STARS –someone find me this adorable little devil stat so I can marry him and carry his child. Not to mention the fact that he is about as witty as they come. But seriously folks, I really need to stop doing this kind of thing. Especially on Twitter . . .

I have had a Twitter account for approximately three years. I’ve maybe posted something on an average of perhaps one post per three months, if that. Honestly, I think Twitter is a sack of garbage most of the time, except for stuff from seriously funny comedians like Mindy Kaling who are putting up solid gold pretty much constantly. Somehow I was hired as a social media guru this past year without letting on about my grumpy, grad school grandma distaste for tweeting. The only reason I took to my Twitter this past weekend was because of the ruling in the George Zimmerman case. I got home late Saturday night, and made the mistake of checking the news before I went to bed. Big mistake. Huge. I found myself feeling incredibly angry and worked up over the whole thing, which is not good, because that’s definitely when my foot-to-mouth syndrome comes into play. I went on Facebook and was about to post something angry about privilege and being very, very anti-gun and anti-violence, when I suddenly knew what would happen: my dear mother would ask me about it later on the phone, and would tell me that it was very immature for someone my age to let spew on Facebook. I knew she would be right. So I took to Twitter instead.

When I got there though, I was like an unstoppable machine. I somehow thought that because I don’t think Twitter matters, everyone else doesn’t either, which is so very wrong, especially when it comes to future employment. I put up my post, but was of course then prompted to see what other people were saying about the whole ordeal. Why did I do that? Naturally, the first neanderthal I saw who had said something betraying his ignorance, racism, sexism, I felt the need to pounce. Though I want to maintain calm and have conversations that actually get us somewhere, I have to admit that if I see or hear someone saying something ignorant (*cough*Ann Coulter*cough*), a very small (narrow-minded and size-based definitions) vengeful part of me wants to throw a rabid animal in their face. However, instead of chucking a salivating raccoon at this guy, this “conversation” ensued:

Twitter Fucker

I’m sure the world is a better place for this exchange (please note my deep sarcasm here). This went on for a couple more posts, but here’s the takeaway: I wasn’t going to make this guy a better person, mostly because I don’t think this kid had IQ enough to understand my 140 character messages. Yes, that’s me bashing him again, but what was I going to achieve? I had no chance at all. Ultimately, I had to just quit and try to go to sleep, which didn’t happen because I was still, of course, angry. I think I had to find a YouTube video of soothing nature sounds to get there.

All in all, I really need to disconnect more (she writes as she types on her blog). I went home for a visit about a month ago, and since I don’t have a smart phone and my parents’ internet service is somehow worse than the service I get from Comcast, I just went offline for over a week. It was actually incredibly easy and wonderful. I couldn’t bear to do it constantly, but it is doable. I also think I should make you a promise: I do so solemnly swear to stay away from article comments, social media rants, and anything that might lead to an awkward situation in any future interview. I’m making it sound like a freak out online on the regs, but I promise that this is not the case. I think it will pay to be overly cautious.

In closing, I would like to share with you one of my favorite things that the internet has produced: cheap scam ads. You know the ones. They have some ridiculous message next to a picture that in no way connects to said message? I’ve amassed a pretty great collection. Have a looksee:

Baby Mortgage Hate

Baby Mortgage Hate

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

He better hurry up and buy.

He better hurry up and buy.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

Osmosis linguistics!

Osmosis linguistics!

If you are, you better put this thing on so you don't wake up your significant other in the meantime.

If you are, in the meantime you better put this thing on so you don’t wake up your significant other.

More like "Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese."

More like “Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese.”

Oh man guys, you have no idea how long I’ve been holding on to some of those. No seriously, it’s kind of embarrassing. I only want what’s best for you internet . . .

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