It happened. We’ve finally ruined the Internet
We’ve done it. We’ve finally ruined the Internet with our constant rage and all-caps rants. The vibe of the place has undeniably changed. We can all feel it.
It used to be a place for exchanging videos of animals doing people things and tricking Richard Wilkins into announcing celebrity deaths.
Now, it’s like being trapped in a shipping container full of knives and bees, or spending 20 minutes within a 15m radius of Deni Hines. Engaging with anything online has become an exhausting exercise. Every article, video and picture of George Lucas is accompanied by the ominous drum of sweaty fists pounding keyboards.
Australians are no different. We, too, have come to view the Internet as a place to play the villain - to crusade and burn and unleash hell on our imaginary enemies.
But we’re going to have to learn to play nice, because we’re only going to be spending more time cooped up in here together.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Australians spent the equivalent of some 48,000 years trawling web pages in December alone.
Researchers estimate that less than 15 minutes of those were spent performing tasks other than speculating on the length of Kim Kardashian’s marriage, yelling about breastfeeding, or sobbing uncontrollably into a webcam.
It’s hard to behave when the very nature of the Internet demands daily sacrifices of human dignity.
For thousands of years, we tinkered with the world around us, clawing at the mysteries of the universe with our clumsy, primitive hands.
Ever inquisitive, we tore metal from the earth, harnessed electricity and hurled ourselves beyond the skies - all with the hope of one day creating a place where men and women could anonymously cast simple, but emotionally-crippling, insults at other anonymous people named “ihate_SelenaGomez99”.
The Internet gave us such an arena - a place where even the meekest of people could become ground-shaking titans whose eyes danced with rage as they shouted: “Ryan Gosling is way hotter than Bradley Cooper and no one is allowed to disagree with my opinion of War Horse!”
It’s a world in which we’re all wolves, snarling and stalking and snapping at each other.
Indeed, find any video of a kitten or similarly small domestic animal and it will be littered with comments that are slight variations of the following: “This video sux… so obviously fake… (racist comment), (vague, violent threat against Selena Gomez)... I hope your house burns down.”
Admittedly, there are a few heart-warming messages of goodwill buried beneath the piles of verbal rubble, such as: “Awwww, that’s so cute ... I hope your house burns down.”
But these seem to get lost amid the waves of outrage and exclamation marks.
The latest trend, for instance, seems to revolve around hating Lana Del Rey, which I am told is some kind of European seafood-based soup.
But this is the year we change all that. We’ve developed a strange kind of global cabin fever.
Why are we polite and civil in real life, but not online? Why do need to see a face or name before we respond with courtesy and dignity?
One day, millions of years into the future, mankind will be evolved to a point where we will be able to communicate via the Internet without breaking down into a vicious argument over whether the first few episodes of The Wire were “too slow”.
But until then, we’ll all just have to make a conscious effort to make it a nicer place.
Especially you, Selena Gomez.
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