I could go on and on about all the things I love about the internet.
I love being able to write blog posts about topics that inspire me. I love communicating with likeminded people who I would otherwise never get the chance to interact with. And I love knowing that I can find information on just about anything with the click of a couple of keys.
But as much as I love the internet and all the wonderful things it has to offer, I have to admit that there are things that I don’t like about it. In fact, there are things that I hate about it. And today I wanted to take a moment to touch on one of the things.
Humorously enough, the thing I want to talk about today is simultaneously my favorite thing about the internet and my least favorite thing about the internet. And it is the ability to say whatever you want without any real-life implications.
I think the main reason why I have a love-hate relationship with this aspect of the internet because, as a blogger, I’ve benefitted and suffered from it. I’m not someone who talks about her blog very much in real-life. It’s something that I keep mostly to myself. Not because I’m embarrassed of it, but because I like having it be just an internet thing. I like that I can log on here and write about whatever I feel like writing about, and that the writing exists in this sort of internet bubble. That I can publish blog posts and put my name on them, but not really deal with them outside of Currently, Lately. (There’s nothing wrong if that’s not how you feel—we all have our own personal preferences.)
The anonymity of the internet is actually why I got into blogging in the first place. To be honest, I’m not sure if I would’ve ever started a blog had it not been able to exist in its own little world first. That sense of internet-induced anonymity is what initially made me feel comfortable publishing posts. I’ve grown a lot more comfortable since then, though I don’t know if I would have without it.
BUT…the lack of responsibility and personal consequence that comes with having an internet presence isn’t always used in a positive manner. Some people use the internet’s anonymity not to escape real-life, but to shield themselves from the effects of what they say online.
Since people don’t always have to take responsibility for their actions on the internet, they often write things that they wouldn’t say in real-life. This can come in the form of comment sections, emails, or pretty much any kind of online communication. And what concerns me the most about it is that there seems to be no limit to what people are willing to say to one another.
It’s almost like the internet encourages us to treat each other less like people and more like online presences. Like it’s perfectly okay to say things we wouldn’t dream of saying in real-life as long as we’re doing it online.
As a blogger, I’ve seen quite a bit of this in email. Sometimes I’ll get emails from follower-selling companies, asking me to buy their products. I’m not interested in buying followers (nor have I ever been), so I find this emails to be pretty annoying. But what’s more annoying to me than the unsolicited advertisements that show up in my inbox every now and then is how they are worded.
Many of these companies will start off their emails by rattling off every single thing they “think” is wrong with your blog. (I put think in quotes here because I’m about 99% sure that none of them actually check out your site in the first place…)
I once had someone email me a list of things that they thought were wrong with my blog.
The email’s opening line was, “there are many technical difficulties and major issues in your website which needs to be improved.”
The emailer then proceeded to tell me in a point-by-point list all the specific things she found wrong with my blog. One of which (and this is a direct quote here) was that is was missing “quality web and promotion content.”
You read that right.
A woman who was trying to get me to buy her products told me that my blog didn’t have quality content.
I’m not sure what kind of sales pitch she was going for there. But needless to say, it didn’t work.
She concluded the email by informing me that she could fix the plethora of things she found wrong with my blog if I hired her to do so. And when I finished reading the message, I just sat there and thought to myself, “would you say this to me if we were talking face-to-face?”
To me, this is a prime example of the unusual new form of human communication that the internet makes okay. The kind that encourages us to say things that would be totally unacceptable in real-life. I’m not saying that I think that my blog is without fault, or that the woman shouldn’t be able to say what she thinks. But I think there’s a big difference between things we’re willing to say online and the things we’re willing to say in-person. And, given the way that many interactions on the internet go, it’s clear that the lack of consequence has had some sort of effect.
So, what are we supposed to do about it? I feel like this is the type of post that should end with a call to action, but I don’t think there is one. There isn’t a feasible way to police every internet user out there. So, what do we do?
Be nice to people, I guess. Or don’t be nice—but only if that’s how you’d act in real-life. Let’s stop using the internet to excuse behaviors that wouldn’t be socially acceptable in-person. But more importantly, let’s start treating people like human beings again.
Bomber jacket: Say What ? (similar)
Skirt: Mossimo Supply Co. (similar)
I hope you have a wonderful day. Thank you for reading!
Do you have any thoughts on this topic?
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