I spend a lot of time on the internet. Too much? I mean really, how much is too much? And you there, reading this, it’s rude to judge.
I like to think I’ve seen it all, internet wise. I’ve seen over sharing (pictures of babys’ first dirty nappy – I wish this was a joke but I guess it proves that the internet really is full of crap. You’re welcome, I’ll be here all week), vitriol, racisim, sexism, bitching, backstabbing, passive aggression enough for the whole world twice over. Maybe it’s the effect of being in the depths of Winter or exposure to too many pictures of pretty scattered autumnal leaves but there’s a weird sort of venomous undercurrent in web land.
Exactly why that is I don’t quite know. It’s becoming a worrying trend to chuck strange cryptically vicious thoughts into our computers, sometimes overtly malignant ones. Tweeting 140 odious characters for effect or drama or just to be mean under the pretence of ‘keeping it real’. There’s a special place in hell for the ‘straight talkers’; those people who say they’re just being honest to cover for the reprehensible things that come out of their mouths, and fingertips. People who are going very much out of their way to be unkind.
It’s a crying shame isn’t it that the whole thing isn’t entirely optional and you maybe had the power to simply click away from something that you didn’t like rather than wasting your energy and the soul of the person on the other end of it by crafting something cutting and unnecessary and that you would never dream of saying to someone’s face. Imagine a world where you could do that, what a time to be alive.
What is it about the protection of the keyboard that makes some people feel invincible? And then to use that invincibility for evil instead of good.
I’ve spent a while developing a handy five step plan to remembering your humanity and being a decent human being on the internet as well as in real life.
- Remember your humanity and just be a decent human being on the internet as well as in real life.
- Repeat step one until it’s firmly smashed into your brain.
Ok so it’s a one-step plan, less room for error.
There’s a strange misconception that ‘it doesn’t count’ if you don’t have to look someone in the face whilst you tell them they’re fat or ugly or, god forbid, they post way too many pictures of their dogs online. Of course it counts, there’s a real live person behind there fool. The internet ain’t writing itself.
So in the immortal words of Celine Dion, you’d better think twice because in the even more immortal words of mothers the world over: if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.