Can any of you out there remember when the Internet was enjoyable? When it was a rich, deep pool of knowledgeable information? When it was a place of emails, message boards and silly cat videos?
Now those emails are being hacked six ways from Sunday, extreme-right Nazi types have overtaken the message boards, and PETA has a bug up its butt about those silly cat videos where the kitty is being taunted with yarn because they’ve been interpreted as “showcasing inhumane practice against a hapless and defenseless creature.”
The Internet is no longer a fun place.
Things have changed on the world wide web, and certainly not for the better. There was once a simpler time – I want to say somewhere around 2015, maybe even 2014 or earlier – in which things seemed to be kept relatively light on the ‘net. Well, maybe not ‘light’, but quite obviously light-ER than they are right now.
It would be impossible to pinpoint just one descriptive word, but if I was forced to, I guess it would be ‘negative’. We’ve just become so damn NEGATIVE as a collective society, especially online.
We make hashtags on Twitter with the phrase ‘End of the World’ because Donald Trump got acquitted. Really? It’s the end of the world because Trump got off in the end after that debacle of an impeachment trial? This is one of the biggest things that turns me off in the world of ‘Millennial Media’ – we’ve adopted such a ‘0 to 10’ response to everything. It just comes off as downright unhealthy from a mental perspective.
We sling racism at each other back and forth because Colten Boushie and Gerald Stanley are back in the news in Saskatchewan this week. All you need to do is take one solid look at any comments thread in any articles posted to social media, and you’ll see where we’re at as far as how we conduct ourselves in 2020. This side’s racist, this side’s prejudiced, and Lord help you if you present a balanced view of the entire situation and refuse to “pick a side”.
(By the way, just as an aside, I think it’s high time that we all move on from that particular case, including us in the media. If we’re going to be inundated with articles about the saga of Colten and Gerald every February for life, then all we’re doing is stoking the flames and tearing open old wounds just to gain some website traffic. That’s poor form.)
We sit back and demand a woman’s proverbial head on a pike because she committed a horrendous offence over time regarding a local sports group, despite many of us not having any true connection to the local community sports scene whatsoever. In situations such as this, I’ve often found that it’s usually those who are the most ‘disconnected’ from the whole scene who end up being the loudest voices. ‘I have an opinion, and you’re all going to be forced to read it over and over and over’. We get it, you’re mad and you want to stir the pot. You’ve had your say multiple times over. Enough already. More people who were much more impacted are hurting, they’ll be hurting for probably the rest of their lives, and there’s more to the whole picture than anyone has a right to know.
We act like a mob and call to censor those who may have opposing views and talking points on any number of topics in the world, such as climate change, equality, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. This one is especially frustrating and maddening. When did Canada adopt such communist tactics? Are we not still ‘True North, Strong and Free’? Do we no longer have a choice whose views we can accept? I’m not saying you have to agree with someone’s particular views or beliefs, but man, we have got to STOP preventing others from at least sharing them! Heck, make it a debate and produce counter points to someone’s original argument on any given topic. We need to practice what we preach when we claim that Canada supports free speech.
Cancel Culture? Don’t even get me started! The act of deep-scanning someone’s social media to unearth something insensitive or “offensive” in order to get them professionally and publicly shamed – boy, what fun! It doesn’t matter if you’ve grown emotionally as a person and don’t believe something you may have said 9-10 years ago, or that you regret saying it in the first place. That dirty blonde joke you posted on Facebook back in 2009? Well, we’re gonna make sure it bites you in the butt in 2020!
In the end, we do all of this behind a screen because most of us wouldn’t have the gall to say such things to someone in person. If we did, we’d be asking for a punch right in the face, and most of us would probably deserve it.
Life online was just so much simpler when the best thing on the web was a video of a sneezing baby panda.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.