Have you missed me, guys? Have you? See, I've been purposely making myself scarce online these days. I log on only for work, shopping and to browse Reddit. (You know, for the news and such.) But the truth is, the Internet was making me all stabby. I needed a break from Facebook, Instagram and every other site that was chock full of people saying or showing me things that made me hate everything.
I still am hating Facebook and whatnot, but to be honest, I have kind of felt out of the loop after being away for so long and I want to come back. So I'm going to tell you all how to fix the social network environment so that I don't have to choose between slicing my wrists and reading terrible updates.
Now, please understand that I'm not saying everything you ever say online needs to be a home run or anything. (I admit it, I've had a BUNCH of dud statuses.) I'm saying that people should take a look at their collective social presence. If every status or picture or tweet or whatever is consistently terrible or preachy or boring, cancel your account. If everything you put online is all about how beautiful you are or how you feel about disposable diapers or why your life sucks or why your life is "perfect" (it's not, BTW), you are maybe not built for being on a network. You need a club. And probably a therapist.
I have recently unfollowed some people on Facebook. It's not because I don't love them, but it's because they are narcissistic, pathetic, bossy, or so incredibly uninteresting on Facebook that they were literally ruining my day. Everyone uses their social networking power differently, and I won't fault anyone for how they choose to use that power. But please don't make me stop liking you in real life because you are just the WORST on Facebook.
The first "social network" experience I had was when I was really young and my parents got Prodigy. We were the first people I knew to have it, and the power I felt was insane. My little brother and I would sit for hours, tying up the phone line, while we visited online chat rooms and talked to strangers. We were far too young for the Internet, but no one had ruined it yet. It was a pristine, intriguing and life-expanding environment full of randomness and interesting people.
Back then, there was no threat of "cyber bullying" or "you may get sucked into human trafficking." It was just a way to talk to people. I remember going into a chat room geared towards married women, curious about what it was like to be married. Findings? It's hard and men will never understand women. And after a few minutes in a Minnesota chat room, I figured out that people in Minnesota love casserole recipes. It was wildly informative.
I liked that Internet. I liked that people were just afraid enough to still keep it respectful and diplomatic, and really try to think about what they wanted to say before spewing it out to others. People had manners back then. (I'm apparently 100 years old, by the way.)
Now, it's just a means of puking up information about yourself without any filter whatsoever. Instead of taking responsibility for what we say, we put all the pressure on our "friends" to deal with whatever ridiculous garbage we decide to post on any given day. See, when you SAY something whiny or rude or vain or supremely lame on a public/social network, you are making every other person read that, internalize that and then get stuck with that information. If that information sucks, you have effectively ruined someone's day. Just because you CAN say something doesn't mean you SHOULD.
So, my final point is this: Please don't ruin the Internet. Try and be funny, informative, curious, kind, helpful or interesting. I'm not saying that we need to do this all the time, but maybe think about this before you post another picture of your running shoes.