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Internet Interactions and "Popular"

I've had thoughts on this topic for a long time. I've been tempted to write them down for a while. I have tried a few times, but has ended up too whiny. (That's why I've moved to Twitter from LiveJournal: personally, I have less risk of being whiny with only 140 characters.)

Life is too short to worry about the Internet.

Don't get me wrong, the Internet is awesome. The Internet is also huge and amorphous and weird and dark and causes people to be much more stupid than they actually are. The Internet is a huge mass of people throwing random thoughts into the void. Thanks to thinks like Twitter and Facebook and e-mail and IM, some of those thoughts are countered with more thoughts ad infinitum. That is the foundation of the Internet.

When thoughts are not countered by other thoughts: this is where some people become personally offended.

Those counter-thoughts (CTs) can be in the form of page views, or comments, or replies, or retweets, or follows. For some people, if they do not get those CTs, it means they are failing at the Internet and they must rectify it by any means necessary.

Sometimes people want those CTs from specific people, such as people they consider "popular" on the Internet. If they get get a CT from one of those "popular" people (such as a follow or reply on Twitter), they count it as a point in the Game of the Internet.

Dose of reality: That Game of the Internet DOES NOT EXIST. All those followers and page views and comments you collect are not points towards anything but some archaic scoreboard in your imagination.

Yes, getting CTs from people is nice. I've been there. There was a point that I thought it brought justification to my existence. I lived in the middle of nowhere, I had no friends in the Real World, and the Internet was my only friend. This was even before I had any real friends on the Internet. I drew art which I thought was amazing. I wrote LiveJournal entries that I thought were poignant.

Spoilers: I was a dumb kid who didn't know how to socialize.

This went on for a few years. I refreshed to check my page views on deviantArt. I posted random comments on forums (because random is funny, right?). I wrote LiveJournal entries and hoped for comments. This went on until I wrote a entry about how I wanted more comments.

At this point, one of my LiveJournal followers (have no idea why they were following me, come to think of it), called me a "comment whore".

This was the bucket of cold water a dumb kid needed at the time. Some might have brushed this off and thought it was someone mean just saying something mean because they were a meanie head. I took it personality. Rather, I took it to heart, and reevaluated my stance on the Internet.

I'm sure I was a dumb kid for years after that point. I'm sure I'm a dumb kid now. In fact, I'm certain I'm a dumb kid now. I still hope to catch the attention of some "popular" people. I still try to chat with a few of them on occasion. I still hope to get follow backs on Twitter. I can be an idiot still.

I try to ground myself in reality though.

I keep reminding myself: Life is too short to worry about the Internet.

Worrying about if certain people respond to certain things in certain ways does nothing. If someone responds: great. But really doesn't matter in the grand sceme of things. The only thing that's gonna happen if you berate someone for not responding is drama. And with drama comes a reputation. And I don't think anyone wants a reputation flavored by drama.

If someone on the Internet does not respond to you it means a few things: either A) they have life and cannot respond to everything B) they can't think of anything to respond to it with or C) they are avoiding you because you kept berating them for not responding to you because of A or B.

I don't think there are many people out there who don't respond with the express purpose of wrecking your life.

I've sent things to people that I regret. I've sent things to people I admire that I really regret.

I understand that talking to people you admire is tricky. I still put my foot in my mouth every single time I go to a convention dealer's room. But remember: they are just Normal People. They aren't different than anyone else except they are perceived to be more talented and therefore more popular than you.

It won't change your life to be friends with the "popular" people. And you're not going to be friends if you try to force yourself into being friends with every single "popular" person you want to be friends with. Friendships are something that happens when they happen. You can't predict a good friendship. I have met supposedly "popular" people who are just really nice people. I have met some who are jerks. I've become friends with a very select few, and always ALWAYS based on if they are a good person rather than if they are a "popular" person.

(On a personal note, I've found that some of the people I've added to my IM list who are "popular" are rather boring to chat with. Or to try and chat with. But my thoughts on instant messaging etiquette are for another entry...someday. I can summarize in saying: if someone doesn't respond to you on IM, IT MEANS NOTHING.)

"Popular" or not, just treat people as people. Yes, there are jerks on the Internet, but that doesn't give you the right to be a jerk yourself. Just because there are untold distances and a cute wolf avatar between you and the Internet denizens does not give you the right to be a jerk. You may be a jerk and not know it, like I was, but you can change.

There is not Game of the Internet, getting counter-thoughts does not justify your existence; just be yourself and be nice, and you might meet some nice people in the process. If you can realize that the Internet doesn't matter that much, you might just be a little happier.

Keep cool peeps.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
Good Lord I think everyone needs to read this and really think about it. I think some people hear things like 'comment whore' etc. but don't really internalize it and reflect.
Oct. 16th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
>less risk of being whiny with only 140 characters
That's odd. I've found that I have a lot of trouble avoiding sounding blunt/whiny when I have to cram something into <= 140 characters.

>if someone doesn't respond to you on IM, IT MEANS NOTHING
As someone who's been on the AIEE-I-failed-to-reply end of things, that is very true. It's much saner (and accurate) to assume that the IM simply didn't arrive at a time (or, for even more fun, it might not arrive at all) when I was even looking at my computer than to assume I'm ignoring someone intentionally.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )