Photo and words by G.
What better place is there to complain about the internet than on the internet?! How meta! Like many of you, I spend a lot of my life online. Technology has made possible things that seemed like science fiction 20 years ago. But it’s a double-edged sword because so many times the miracles of modern science make our lives better, and they can also smack us down in the same breath. The internet is alive and well, but the golden age of the internet has come to a close. As you are about to see, the internet is starting to suck in a big way and here are 20 reasons, in no particular order, why that is so.
1. People have forgotten how to spell. Let’s kick things off with one of the double-edged swords. Technology has made it possible to translate foreign languages at the click of a button, and that can be so useful in emergency situations. On the other side of the coin, because it is so easy to have computers check our spelling and even read to us, people have gotten so lazy they have all but forgotten how to spell. There is nothing worse than seeing someone you admire post something with a grammatical error. I guess it’s the digital equivalent of having a piece of black pepper lodged in your front teeth and smiling often. And if you are so lazy that you have to abbreviate “because” with “b/c,” please do us all a favor and go fuck yourselves!
2. “I’m mad as hell about (insert issue here)” articles. In the olden days, when a social injustice pissed you off, you took to the streets to protest. Eventually, if enough people got on board with the cause, change was made. Now, we have to suffer through these horribly written articles and posts (including this one, ha!) that will do almost nothing to affect change. One of the biggest social injustices of our time is the grossly out of proportion financial status of the 99% vs. the 1%. 1% of the population is so bloody rich, they are controlling the other 99%. This is why we are allowing ourselves to be enslaved in our jobs and get these measly raises that don’t even account for the increases in the cost of living while the fat cat executives continue to get richer at our expense – because we are too weak to stand up for ourselves! To break it down further, if you make less than $1,113,684 a year, you are one of the 99%. Why the entire world doesn’t do something about it is beyond my comprehension. I wrote about this from one of my many experiences at Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and my naive self thought this story and many others like it would go viral and help be the catalyst for change, but it was cooler to share stories about reality TV stars with so much plastic surgery that they look like The Joker from Batman than to take action. People don’t seem to realize that if the 99% unplugged for as much as 1 full day, change would be here – immediately. We’re not talking about a war with weapons. We are talking about not showing up for work or using a computer for a 24 hour period! The only way it will work is if everyone gets on board. Don’t give up hope, there is always tomorrow…
3. The internet has all but killed the music industry. Starting in 2001, a service called Napster appeared on the internet where you could find any released (and many unreleased) songs on line and download them for free in seconds with the click of a button. The archaic music industry executives running things had their heads so far up their asses, they not only did not embrace technology, but they raised their prices on merchandise and the world gave the music industry a collective middle finger. After this happened once, you’d think the music industry would have tried to correct the error of their ways, but streaming music services were introduced shortly thereafter to chip away at the remaining cash cow and once again, why would you pay for something you can readily get for a nominal fee or better yet, for free!? What has the music industry done to help combat this? They reintroduced vinyl into the market and are trying to charge people up to $30 for music they already own, housed in non-Eco-friendly, yet allegedly collectible packaging. So if you open the item, the value goes down and if you keep it sealed, you are a hoarder. What?! Sadly, many amazing artists have no chance in having a financially successful career because of these greedy music executives. Music makes my world spin and I need it in my life. Artists that take creative chances are being phased out and pop tarts that are auto-tuned drones are being force fed down our throats. I don’t want that! Many other media industries will die a similar death, so get those funeral plots ready.
4. Trolls. So many websites that are the online equivalent of tooth decay have survived because of trolls. Post a photo of a famous person caught with their pants around their ankles and all of a sudden everyone wants to join in on the fun of kicking them when they are down. Worse than that, they want to argue over who is “right,” which as you know is a matter of opinion and will never solve anything. Because a person can hide anonymously behind a computer screen, online bullying is increasing by the second. Many people are not strong enough to stand up to this and we’ve seen an increase in suicides because people are so deeply hurt by mean comments that people are posting. How is a person supposed to prepare for getting trolled when you can lose your entire career on the internet after posting one offensive remark (see point 19)? I’m totally against censorship, but perhaps if we all had to sign a “no-trolling agreement” or a “3 trolls and you lose internet privileges” clause before we were issued a keyboard, perhaps this would cease. Lord knows common sense isn’t going to fix things!
5. The ‘selfie’ generation and the need to over-document everything. We all take selfies. It’s become a way of life. There’s nothing that can be done about it. But like everything else in life, moderation is key. The amount of over-documentation of the most banal things is out of spiraling out of control (see the Instagram portion of point 10). Every time you happen by the scene of an accident, people are holding their phones out as if it were the reunion of Led Zeppelin! Why are these people taking pictures of that? Every time your pet or your child does something cute, people can’t just enjoy the moment, they need to capture it with a photo. (Let’s think of what the term “capture” means when in relation to an animal in the wild. It means to restrict its freedom. Just saying). If you have a fancy meal, people feel the need to do a photo shoot with it before they take the first bite! And any time you go anywhere in public (and also even in the privacy of your own dwelling), a photo (and now video!) of what you looked like at that moment seems to be essential. WHY?! I go to a lot of rock concerts and so many times I see people taking selfies for the duration of the show (not even trying to get the performer in the background!) and blocking everyone else’s view to get their shitty grainy cell phone pictures that are certainly not going to win you any awards for your photography skills. PLEASE STOP! Also, what are you going to do with all these photos? There are only so many “Throwback Thursdays” and “Flashback Fridays” in a year! These photos are just going to sit on your hard drive until you inevitably get hacked. (See point 18). Again, I am not for censorship, so perhaps we can collectively agree to the “one selfie a month” rule? Don’t think I am just pointing my finger without throwing out viable suggestions. Celebrities do it, so we think we have to do it too and if you aren’t already aware, many famous people are completely batshit crazy. Scientific articles are starting to come out that say that taking lots of selfies is a sign of depression. Plus, have you any idea how stupid you look when doing it? I can tell you from being caught in the act many times, it looks pretty lame! And if I see one more bearded guy making that stupid ass duck face trying to look ironic…
6. Finding jobs online. Finding a job is a pain in the ass. Anyone will tell you that. Now it’s worse than ever as you have to fill out all of your information online before you can even submit a resume (which contains a lot of the same information). Where is this data going? How can you be sure you’ve filled out your life history on a secure site? Sites we thought were secure get hacked all the time (see point 18). Even if you don’t get hacked, how can you verify that a live body even looked at your resume? Even if a live body looked at your resume, how can you verify that they are not a complete imbecile? Think of how many of your co-workers are too dumb to live, let alone make a hiring decision that could impact your life! Once submitted, you get an auto-reply that basically says if they are interested, someone will get back to you. There’s no way of following up with anyone and if your resume is not filled with key words, you might as well just save yourself the effort and throw your resume in the garbage. Can I have all my personal data back?!
7. Online Dating sites. Whether you are looking for Mr./Mrs. Right or Mr./Mrs. Right Now, dating sites are pretty awful. Your essence cannot be captured in a photo or a quick sentence or two and yet that is what you’ve got to work with to try and sell yourself to a prospective love interest. Some people decide they looked best 20 years ago and that’s the photo they post. To that I say, “if we meet and you don’t look like your profile picture, you are buying me drinks until you do!” Others post a blank profile photo, which is oh so helpful. Not! And if the person actually looks like their photo, getting them to respond is like pulling teeth. I’ve experienced many times where a dialogue was underway and then all of a sudden, there was a drop off from the other party and the conversation never resumes. If you can get through those layers of hell, having the person actually follow through and show up to the designated meeting time and place is the final barrier to a love connection. In the gay world, you might have to endure some additional torture in the form of people asking you “how hung,” “how masc (short for masculine – and no matter how you cut it, a guy sucking another guy’s dick isn’t all that masculine, even if you are a pair of bearded muscular guys),” “more pix,” or the dreaded “looking?” I’m not going to even get started on the fact that people are rarely willing to take a chance based on interests, and want someone to look like a carbon copy of themselves only (especially in the gay world), so if you are a non-bearded man looking for a bearded man and vice versa, good fucking luck! I’m also not going to get into the fact that there are so many people double dipping by being in “open relationships.” Give the single people a chance!
8. Social interaction has all but ceased. Because of all of the stuff mentioned on this list, people are glued to their mobile devices so much that when in public, most people are walking and texting – aka the Real Walking Dead of Insert Your City Here. I live in New York, a city where there is not much driving to do, but I am scared to think of what it is like in cities where driving a car is a way of life. Even on foot, I have to pull over to the side when I need to send a message because when I am concentrating on my mobile device, the rest of the world slips away and it’s easy to fall on your face, or worse yet, lose sight of the fact that you are in public and other people are trying to get by and really don’t want to deal with your stupid ass texting, nor should they have to! At restaurants, on subways, at cultural events (that people usually pay money to get into), at bars, on dates, at work, and when we are with our loved ones, people are texting all the time. If they are not texting, they are probably wondering what they are missing out on and once they get to their coveted device, the answer is invariably – nothing at all! In the work place, people are so afraid to pick up the phone and call someone, they send an email to let the person know they’d like to call them. Thanks for wasting my time. Just for that, I am letting it go to voice mail when you call! Should I also take this opportunity to talk about how our email voice is much different than our real voice? WTF am I talking about? OMG!!!! #bestblogever xxx. Let’s also not forget the “I’m too cool for school” attitude by people on your anti-social media accounts. In real life they will give you the shirt off your back if you ask and online, they ignore you.
9. Everyone posts the same thing. What joy do people get when they share an article that Huffington Post wrote where they write dozens of long ass paragraphs about why you should feel mad about a particular issue? I don’t get it. Also if a celebrity gets married, divorced, busted for drugs or dies, everyone posts about it – and not with any additional info either. Instead they are basically saying “please pay attention to ME!” I am too cynical to fall for it (hard to believe, I know!). If the story ended up on a popular news site, chances are the people that needed to see it have already done so. Help out the indie sites (like this one) that need people to spread the word in order to get more eyeballs to their site. Also, if you didn’t produce the content that you are posting, credit the original source! It’s stealing if you try and take the credit for something you didn’t create. You should not be allowed to get any on-line adoration for posting content that was not yours to begin with. If you want to feel special, be special!
10. Facebook / Twitter / Instagram. I could be here all day bitching and moaning (too late!) so I will try and keep my remarks on the “top 3” brief and express only my major grievances. Facebook has algorithms that don’t allow all of your friends/followers to see your content unless you pay them. (Smart on their part because they got us hooked under the guise of it being a ‘free forever’ site and now they want us to pay up to be able to truly access all the features.) Success is measured in “likes” not in “views” and at any given time, you don’t really know how many people your message is actually reaching. You get invited to ass loads of events that sound less interesting than banging your head against the wall and they try to shame you into wishing your “friends” a happy birthday, where almost always, your heartfelt greetings will get you nothing more than a “like,” which as we all know is useless (see point 16). I’ve had people with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter retweet my blog post link and it has gotten me less than 10 interactions. Is this because you can buy fake followers for a nominal fee? The whole point of Twitter is to post meaningless stream-of-consciousness ideas in 140 characters or less and people have made it their mission to stalk people’s accounts to try and pull the “they are a hater” card and publicly shame them. See my entry (number 4) on “Trolls.” I used to be anti-Instagram, but I think I enjoy it the most of the 3 now because it’s less about people complaining (myself included, thank G-d!) and more positive than Facebook and Twitter. What gets to be annoying is that people lazily link all their accounts together so if you follow someone on all 3 of these “social” sites, you not only see glimpses of their life, but you have these aspects memorized. Another downside is that people over-document the shit out of everything (see point 5) which leads to social interaction ceasing to exist (see point number 8). There is also nothing worse than following someone out of a sense of obligation because they’ve followed you, only to find out they unfollowed you once you caved in and followed them. I just re-read that sentence and I realize how ridiculous it sounds, but hey – that’s why this website is called According to G and not According to yournamehere. Should we talk about Snapchat and how people spend an average of 2 minutes composing by over-documenting something (see point 5) that lasts with the end user for 10 seconds or less? You don’t even have to be good at math to see how fucking stupid that idea is!
11. Hashtags / Emojis. Everyone is trying to get their cutesy little saying to go “viral” so we are seeing the advent of things like #imthecoolestpersonever as a regular thing. #pleasestop #itwillnotgoviral #itmakesyoulooklikeafuckingmoron. It makes me want to vomit. No, it makes me want to post a smaller than a centimeter illustration of a girl with a pink shirt on, making an awkward face 23 times in a row in a message to you – that you only get to look at for 6 seconds!
12. The rise of binge watching. It’s great to watch a TV show from start to finish. You pick up on so many nuances you might have missed when you wait a week in between episodes. However, people are turning into zombies because there are so many “must watch” shows. If I was a film maker, I’d be terribly upset that the beautiful sets I hired people to build are being watched on cell phones on a tiny little screen that doesn’t even display a fraction of the detail. Also, so many of these buzzed about TV shows are basically torture porn and are filled with scenes of gratuitous sex and violence, yet when a famous person bares some skin at a public event, they are seen as a sexual deviant. What does that say about our society? Don’t even get me started about (lack of reality) Reality TV, because we all know there is nothing more real that someone in such denial about aging, they are willing to have random shit injected into their face thinking it’s going to fool people into thinking they look young, when in actuality, they still look like an old person but one that spent a lot of money to look even shittier than they did before!
13. The government is tracking you. Everything you Google can and will be used against you. You should be comfortable that everything you say or do or post online will or could be publicly broadcasted. If you don’t want something “leaking” on line, then don’t post it in the first place! Also, everything you have ever Googled can be found very easily. So if midget porn is your thing and you don’t want anyone to know, you better log in as your friend!
14. Get mad first, find out the facts later. People have made it their mission to get offended by everything, immediately post what offended them online and then back pedal when they find out the original source of information was incorrect. Part of the impetus for me writing this article (aside from being filled with bitterness and rage, ha!) was that someone “discovered” an article I wrote 4 years ago and posted it as if it were brand new and it lead to mass hysteria on my social media accounts. Nobody once looked at the date at the top of the article which could have alleviated a lot of people’s anxiety. I worked at an evil news corporation (so vile it shall not be named) many years ago and sat in meetings where the number one goal was to be first. Being accurate was not the top priority which is scary because once the information is out there, people are going to tend to believe it. For example, how many times has an internet article or tweet killed an innocent celebrity or re-killed an already dead celebrity. Fact check people, please!
15. Buzzfeed – Are we that bored as a society that we need lists of 20 things about everything? (Like 20 reasons the internet kinda sucks, for example?! Don’t worry, I am not afraid to look in the mirror). I freely admit that a lot of these lists are amusing, but so many times the content is manipulated to fit the post and is not factually accurate (see point 14) and worst of all, proper credit to the photographer(s) is often not given. Also, a quiz to find out which type of dead celebrity you are is such a major time waster and is rarely correct. However Buzzfeed, if you are reading this, feel free to use this list (I will create a new number 15 that doesn’t talk as much shit) or you can publish my Buzzfeed ready lists that I made of Fake T-Shirts or 15 amazing quotes from my book “I Won The Internet!” I’m not above selling out. Look around you, everyone is doing it! I’m not going to name names, but I will sing like a canary if this story goes viral. And you would too, so don’t give me that look!
16. Social Media is useless. Here’s a simple equation – your landlord doesn’t give a shit how many likes you got on Facebook. Money pays the rent. You can read an article as long winded (yet equally as brilliant, ha!) that I wrote in 2013 called “Social Media is Bullshit” at this link, which will open in a new window, for your reading pleasure.
17. Internet stars. It’s awesome that technology has evolved so that people can become stars from their bedroom. But that comes at a price – because everyone can become famous, no one is famous anymore because everyone is famous. I realize that is a tongue twister, but it’s true! There’s a huge difference between singing a cover version and writing an original song. People are calculating to go viral and “win the internet” with a quick little nugget that is good for about a moment in the 2 second attention span generation that we live in. I know all about winning the internet, because if you didn’t already know, I Won The Internet!
18. Getting hacked. If you want to play ball on line so to speak, you have to be prepared to share your information (see point 6). In the same way that a security system only goes so far to protect your car or your house, such is the same for your on line life. If a hacker wants to get in, they will find a way. If major titans like Sony can have a massive security breach, what makes you think you are safe? Luckily, most people don’t give a shit about our insignificant selves, but you have to take precautionary measures to protect yourself. It is recommended that you have a different password scheme for your different social accounts and that you change those passwords often. This leads to having a ton of different user names and passwords to the point where it becomes hard to keep them all straight. You can’t really store this sensitive information in your phone in case your device gets stolen and if you store it on a computer, you are liable to get hacked. Perhaps you write it out on paper, put in under your mattress and hope the bedbugs don’t eat it for breakfast!
19. Shaming everyone. People are hypersensitive about being politically correct now, more than ever, and if you make a flippant remark as people are bound to do on sites that encourage people to make flippant remarks (duh!), get ready for people to call you our for serving us all a glass of Hater-ade. That shit needs to stop. Even if you are a hater, you have the right to your opinion. As long as you don’t actively seek to harm people, you shouldn’t be publicly shamed. I am stating for the record that if I ever get into hot water for something I said, it is my opinion and my opinion alone and I AM NOT SORRY!!!! On the other side of the coin, if you make your living selling greasy fast food chicken, nobody really needs to hear your opinion on homosexuality.
20. No one knows how to use the internet! Considering all of the things I’ve said above, you’d think we’d all be experts in the inter workings of the world wide web, but if you assumed that we know what we’re doing, you’d be dead wrong. We give people free advertising and keep dead issues alive by sharing and over-sharing hateful stories. We post things on line before we utilize Google. We fail to live in the moment so we can post things for “likes.” And we are guilty (myself included) of so many of the crimes listed in the 20 things above and probably even more crimes that I haven’t thought of.
What is the solution? Unplug yourselves from your devices as often as possible and choose life! If you don’t like people that are serial offenders of any of these things, stop supporting them. If you keep supporting the behavior just so you can complain about it to anyone that will listen, you are an enabler. This is not always possible because the internet has become a leash we think we need, but just think – thousands of years have gone by where people didn’t have the internet and they survived just fine. Well, eventually they died, but while they were alive, they thrived just fine. I know this because I Googled it.
Hashtag thanks for reading and please feel free to share this link with your friends, lovers and enemies. Smiley face.