We’re watching through a computer screen the decline of mankind right in front of our eyes!
On August 6, 1991 computer technology that had been exclusively utilized by scientists since 1969 was finally given to the public. The World Wide Web was birthed into existence on this day and the world has never been the same. Since that day twenty years ago, the Internet has developed into an all encompassing standard of modern life. Everything from shopping to attending classes can now be done online. Entire revolutions are now being organized through online means which has displayed the greatest asset the Internet possesses; it’s social capabilities. Anything you want to do socially can now be achieved through the Internet. You want to explore a new city or even your hometown but don’t have the friends to do so, date as many people as possible, engage in stimulating debates, or just simply want advice, you can go to the Internet. However, there are some basic principles you must be aware of when becoming socially active online in order to protect your overall well-being, life, and quite possibly your future.
Mental Illness Is Real
Most people would like to believe that they could easily identify others who may possess mental or even emotional discrepancies but the truth of the matter is neither are easy to detect. Many people in the real world with mental/emotional issues go undiagnosed and untreated for years. In most cases, their entire lives. Place these same people in an environment of anonymity such as the Internet and a minimal amount of personal information about you and there could be problems. Think of any and every mental condition that can possibly afflict a person. They are abundantly present online. Conditions such as psychotic disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, inferiority/superiority complexes and various other bipolar disorders are some of the most prevalent found online. Not to mention the hordes of depressed people that frequent online social groups to seek either sympathy or a new emotional victim to torment. The woman who always speaks in 3rd person is transparently obvious but many others won’t be as easy to spot.
Lambs Become Lions
Ex-presidential candidate Al Gore is credited with coining the phrase, “Information Super Highway” in reference to the Internet. Nonetheless, that same “superhighway” can lead you to some of the most rancid, despicable, and cowardly people you could ever come across. These people suddenly adopt brash opinions and speech online that in-person would never dare attempt to speak to anyone publically. Often times, they characterize their own words as “keeping it real” or “hard truth” when actually it is only an opportunity to belittle, bully, or disrespect another person unsolicited. You want an example of what most of these people look like? All you have to do is visit a random Yahoo article or any opinion oriented blog site, click an article, and go straight to the comments section at the bottom of that article or story. It is a guarantee that any and everything vulgar you can imagine will be there.
Also, there are a large majority of these people with self-esteem issues they’ve harbored for most of their lives. They are the socially inept. In real life, they possess the inability to express their opinions and thoughts to others without being totally dismissed, outwitted, or looked upon as foolish. In most cases, the Internet gives them their only opportunity to ever be heard by anyone. Their lack of self-expression or intestinal fortitude in real life translates to the eye of the tiger only online. Face-to-face, they’re as timid as a sports writer is alone in an alley with Mike Tyson.
It has been pointed out in study after study that unattractive people have little to zero social stock in the real world. They simply lack the physical attractiveness or money that would give them a fighting chance in many social circles. Although they may be thoughtful, deep people with nice character, these men and women generally have suffered continual social rejection. The Internet has become the perfect venue for many of the people considered to be physically unappealing because it offers the opportunity to first get to know someone before you actually meet him or her in person. Conventional dating requires that people first reveal their physical profile and only then get to know each other. On average, men tend to lie about their height, relationship status, and financially stability while women lean more to lying about their weight, age, and sexual behavior.
However, the problem that many people encounter with the un-beautiful ones online is that many misrepresent their actual physical appearance. They only post favorable, doctored pictures of themselves. If they are overweight, you will only see headshots. If they’re outside of the dating age bracket they want to be in, they’ll present only high school or college pictures. If they want to be really pictorially ambiguous, they’ll post nothing but pictures of themselves within groups of people leaving you with the task of having to pick the right person. In addition, some people don’t even post pictures of themselves. They take pictures of other people (friends, family, coworkers, etc.) and pass them off as themselves. Many people who are actively dating through online means are finding out that a picture will lie to you quicker than a person’s mouth will.
Equally important, are the people whose entire internet identity is a lie. Online, they are a complete work of fiction. Everything from their accomplishments, career, religion, relationship/health status, residency, family background, and means of supporting themselves financially are creative writing. Basically, these people create the person they would like to have been in real life and stay within that character throughout their entire online existence. Deadbeat or inattentive fathers/husbands become the greatest men to have ever lived. Birds become ladylike, virtuous, and humble. The most hedonistic and sexually deviant people become pillars religious morality. My personal favorites are the multitude of faux Osteen spiritual advisors and motivational speakers. These people consistently bombard the internet with affirmations, regurgitated clichés, quotes, and misquoted/misinterpreted scripture. Hardly ever does the online persona align with the real life person.
So many Internet relationships are built on deception and misrepresentation. Many times, before someone can verify that all they have been told over the internet by someone they are interested in dating is the truth, they are already emotionally vested and sometimes don’t want to hear the truth, or get hurt by hearing the truth. The people who are often times affected by this are those who take the Internet too seriously and who are too trusting in nature. Disappointment is a constant friend.
Promiscuity Lives Here
If there is one thing that is just as abundant on the Internet as lies, it is sex. There are entire websites dedicated to “hooking up.” Sites like OnlineBootycall.com and PlentyOfFish.com are online dating sites that are bursting at the seams with thousands of potential sex partners. Not to mention, all the other niche websites that are available for swingers and every other fetish group that exists. On the other hand, any social networking site has the potential to lead to “hook-ups.” Look at Facebook and Twitter. People are getting together in droves from these two sites and hook-ups weren’t nowhere near to being the initial purpose of the sites, but people are doing it.
What is the point? You should assume that anyone you’ve come in contact with sexually online has been with others from online also. You don’t even have to ask. Just be careful because with some people, it is so habitual to a point that they don’t even want to go out and physically meet people in real life. They hop from person to person online without giving it a second thought.
Keep It Simple and Plain
Simply go onto Facebook and if your news feed is anything like mine, you will notice that privacy is dead. Everyone with the capability to get online should not know every detail of your life. There are some things that should be reserved for more intimate conversations. If you seem to come off to others within your specified online community as aloof then so be it. Every piece of personal information that can be gathered from you online can also be utilized against you as leverage. Never freely giveaway leverage to people you really do not know. This leads to the final point…
Everyone Is Not Your Friend
The biggest illusion the Internet and social networks gets away with everyday is the trick of familiarity. People get lulled into thinking they actually know the people they are interacting with online every day because they have direct access to their opinions and thoughts. Because of this assumption, many people form online relationships that in some cases become parasitic or cancerous. The entire time they are online with you interacting and sharing, these toxic people are taking everything you give to them and trying to utilize it against you.
For example, I knew a girl who used her Facebook/Twitter accounts as a means to vent about her job and certain people involved in cases she would take on. She was a paralegal for an attorney’s office. She never mentioned any specific names or details of any cases. She would only vent about all the negative circumstances that surrounded her at work. Someone amongst her 1000+ friends on Facebook complied six months of her status updates, printed them, and mailed them to her employer. She was subsequently fired from her job. Till this day, she still doesn’t know who sent the letter. It was a hard lesson for her to learn that you can’t say everything to everybody, especially online.
In conclusion, these are just some simple premises you should be made aware of when engaging yourself in social activities online. As with everything in life, you must be aware of the pros and cons of certain things so that it doesn’t negatively affect or even alter your life progression. Although the Internet is arguably the greatest idea man has ever created thus far, it has the capability of making your life a living hell if not used with caution. Don’t consider these words to be anti-social networks because there are sprinkles of good, authentic people shooting between the tubes. Just consider these words to be your cigarette warning label, but for the Internet.