Yes, I used a real word for the title of this blog, and that makes me sad, but I’m going to talk about some internet negativity so I may as well set the bar pretty low.
Not so long ago, we were chatting about reviews and complaints people post online. To follow up the point Andrew and I made about how people are more likely to bitch about things than praise them, I didn’t need to look any further than the comment section below any online article. In many cases, readers will comment while being logged into Facebook, which usually mean they’re using their real name and face to state their opinion. There is nothing wrong with that, unless I disagree with their opinion.
However, make your way over to a site where you can create a profile and username and your eyes will fall upon some of the most horrid crap typed out by said users. The most annoying one has to be the “first comment” comment. That’s all the person posts, as if there’s some prize for being the first one to make it to the end of an article. I’ve never seen this followed by congratulatory comments from other readers, so it means absolutely nothing if you’re the first person to comment on something. Nobody cares. But beyond that first morsel of pride comes a whole lot of self-importance.
The anonymity of the internet must be the reason people are so keen to bash each other. People go at it over the most ridiculous stuff, creating an endless thread of insults. It boggles my mind how people can spend their time arguing with somebody they don’t even know and probably will never meet. I can’t believe how much time I’ve wasted on the few occasions when I’ve read the back-and-forth comments between a handful of people. Do you really care if someone on this planet thinks Lulu was the right artistic move for Metallica? Well, you shouldn’t. Hopefully I’ve just saved you an hour or two of cyberslamming.
The bashing seems to have risen to a fever pitch with the impending presidential election, especially on Twitter where celebrities can be insulted for their endorsement by faceless trolls looking for attention. I’ve been seeing lots of name-calling and abuse hurled at people for supporting a candidate and it is almost always by a person with a phony group name and an ambiguous image on their profile. Yes, I might make comments about notorious people in my Twitter feed, but I don’t feel the need to tag them. I’m sure they couldn’t care less about my opinions, and I’m not going to tag them in hope that they’ll read what I said about them. I’m not that shallow. People who do that are trolls that are desperate for attention and should be ignored at all times.
The internet has given us many things, but it seems the most valued cyber-commodity has to be anonymous complaints. Do I complain? A bit, and mostly in one spot, but my name is smeared all over this site so I’m not hiding behind some symbolic avatar hoping to get someone’s attention. That type of inactivity is reserved for the truly dull and boring.