By Alex Wukman
Since I work at the internet I like to think I know a little bit about it. At times I even like to say I have a personal relationship with the internet. I know that thousands hundreds dozens some a few of our readers think they have a personal relationship with the internet. They’re wrong. They believe a personal relationship with the internet is taking the internet out for a few drinks, it’s not. A personal relationship with the internet is more than rolling into the internet’s favorite bar at last call wearing your sexy shirt, buying the internet a couple of shots and making an awkward pass with a stupid pick-up line. Having a personal relationship with the internet is hard work; it’s waking up early to spend time with the internet.
It’s understanding that the internet is like the prettiest girl in the bar, or the most popular girl in high school: finicky and wants to be courted. To get the drunken sex, or the blowjob on prom night, you have to romance the internet with tweets and blog posts. The internet wants gifts, lots of gifts, so you have to give it something every day. The internet is fickle, so you can’t just drop something on any old website and get the internet’s love. You have to impress the internet’s cool friends and pay attention to the internet’s retarded cousin before the internet will start paying attention to you.
But how do you impress the internet’s cool friends and, more importantly, what do you do with the internet’s retarded cousin? There are certain strategies that everyone seems to like to use to try and get in the internet’s pants. Some of them, like web roofies, work while others, like showing the internet your junk on chat roulette, are as doomed to failure and humiliation as, well, showing the internet your junk on chat roulette. However, as someone who knows the internet I will try and offer three pieces of advice about what not to do that will help you, the love starved masses, get lucky with the internet.
3. Don’t assume that the internet is in anyway reasonable
All too often people attempting to impress the internet think it’s like the people they meet in the real world; socialized to know what is and isn’t appropriate. Those silly, silly people don’t understand that, just like the hot chick in high school, the internet get’s off on hurting people.
Sometimes, as in the case of Pranknet, the abuse is taken to levels never seen or heard before, causes thousands of dollars in property damage and leads to felony charges and federal investigations. Other times its beating up an 11-year-old girl in Florida who thinks she’s tough shit. For those of you who weren’t paying attention last year somehow the internet found Jessi Slaughter, a self obsessed pre-teen who liked to hang out on a website called stickydrama and, surprisingly, start drama. It wouldn’t have been so noticeable if Jessi didn’t have the mouth of a 40-year-old crack smocking hooker and a web cam. So when she told one of her haters that she was “going to pop a glock in her mouth and make a brain slushie” it’s easy to see why the internet fell in love with her. And by “fell in love with” I mean harassed into police protection and by “her” I mean Jessi, her entire family and anyone that happened to be involved in any way.
However, those are just two of the more exteme examples of what happens when real life runs into the internet after the internet has been drinking. There are things that the internet does that once seen can never be unseen, and no we aren’t linking to them. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to impress the internet is to let it make a decision about anything. It may seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t matter whether it’s letting redditt decide what part of your body to expose or the City of Austin encouraging “residents” of Austin vote on the new name for the solid waste department it’s going to turn out bad.
Another problem that comes with assuming that the internet is reasonable is that it ignores a phenomenon know as the online disinhibtion effect or more colorfully John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory this theory posits that a normal person given anonymity and an audience becomes a raging asshole who exhibits racist, sexist and psychopathic behavior. An idea that was best articulated by an online cartoonist to explain 12-year-olds calling people “n-wordf*gs” on X-box live and Youtube has been studied and cited in both academic and popular articles and books and it explains why some of the worst music that has been recorded in generations has become the only new songs anyone has heard of.
2. Don’t try to use sensationalistic linkbait to impress the internet
ZOMG!!! Everything is trying to kill everybody! Holy crap did you hear about the latest scam/fascist thing that Clinton Bush Obama is doing? I know this is something that’s hard to understand, bu the internet is cynical and jaded. Your scary scary stories just don’t cut it no matter how much you dress it up. And when you do it just comes across looking silly. The only way I’d be impressed by all the claims about the “craziest”, “strangest,” “weirdest, creepiest, freakiest,” and “most bizarre” things out there would be if I was 8-years-old. A word to the wise, nothing about brussel sprouts or windows 8 will “blow my mind;” they’re freaking brussel sprouts and Windows is half an OS. Also nothing about a music video will ever “make me question my sanity.” I know I’m probably in the minority here, but once you’ve waited for a bus standing next to the winged serpent god Quetzalcoatl while he whispers to you his plans to begin the end times, your sanity is pretty unflappable.
It almost seems that with all these hyperbolic and sensationalistic headlines the internet is getting as bad as a local news promo spot. However, there’s nothing quite as bad as when local news does a promo spot on the web. For those too lazy to click on links that last one goes to a facebook post from a TV news station that describes a story as “something you have to see to believe.” I might be the only one who feels this way but unskilled teenage drivers involved in a carjacking at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Baytown is not something I have to see to believe, I can believe that happened. The only way that would be unbelievable is if, in the middle of the carjacking, they drove past a wire that had been electrified and the car disappeared leaving nothing but flaming tire tracks.
The lesson everyone seems to have learned over the last few years is that the internet is easily impressed with bullshit content that only serves to drive readership. Now if only a nice marketing firm would come up with an easy way to generate attention grabbing blog headlines, oh wait they already did. Yes that last link was a linkbait generator that works by taking any word and coming up with sensationalistic headlines things like “5 life lessons learned from hats” or “10 things kitties have in common with satan” or my personal favorite “8 reasons to fear fear.”
1. Asking the internet for things you shouldn’t ask the internet for
There is one mistake that people make when they interact with the internet: treat it like it actually knows something important or can perform a simple task. The internet doesn’t work that way. You can’t simply ask the internet how to do something. As an example I provide actual topics freelancing websites wanted articles written about: “How to get a new parole hearing in Alabama,” “How to dry dock an Aircraft carrier,” “How to land on an aircraft carrier,” “How to convert a microwave oven into a ray gun,” “How to build a nuclear reactor.”
Yes there are people out there googling those things andwhen they don’t find easy step by step instructions they get upset. Apparently there are people out there who think that just because the internet knows a lot of stuff it needs to know everything, just like there are people out there who think that websites are real people and so they ask them to do things, like bring a roll of toilet paper. Apparently people don’t understand that the internet doesn’t have shoes: it can’t bring you toilet paper, grab a beer from the kitchen or check to see if the pizza is done.
The only thing worse than treating the internet like it can actually do things for you is asking the internet questions that you shouldn’t be asking the internet. Questions that should have been answered a long time ago by a qualified authority figure like a partent, teacher or doctor. Questions like “Can I get pregnant from ____?” This is not a joke: if you have to ask “is it good to mastrubate in a torlet so no 1 can get pregnt?” or “if a man pees on a toilet than a girl pees and the guy peed on the toilt seat can she get pregnet?” or “can i get pregnent if a man pees in my mouth?” You probably need to spend more time with your biology book and less time with R. Kelly.
It’s truly sad that sex education has broken down so thoroughly that a website entitled 101 ways you can’t get pregnant has to exist. And it’s even sadder that said website has to have a disclaimer stating that the website is not a pregnancy test. If a person can’t tell the difference betwen something they click with their mouse and a stick they pee on, well it might explain why they wonder if they can get pregnant from pee.