The top 5 things I learned from 2018
For me, 2018 was a rough year. I’m not going to be some NPC and say “ugh it sucked” because of shit beamed into my mind from big social media and TV of course, but because of real life happenings and whatnot. My life has been a rollercoaster of insanity, finding out that some of my friends were fake friends as usual, and some brushes with drugs. But this blog isn’t some generic Twitter blog moping about how worthless I am while ebegging for some cash, it’s about me reflecting on the 10+ years of my life I’ve spent plugged into the computer. I’ve seen so much shit, good and bad go down. Instead of writing a long summary and boring you with a bunch of shit nobody cares about, I’ll tell you about the top 5 things I’ve personally learned this year of posting on the internet.
Number 5: Internet censorship has worsened.
The first blog post I made on this blog was about how I felt like on the internet you’re going to get fucked over by guilt by association, especially if you’re in a fandom where a few nobodies who somehow happen to have influence declare themselves leaders of a community. That was the moment I decided enough is enough, and I deleted my Twitter right before going to a furry convention with a friend. I saw some overly political furries there, plenty of pronoun and gender/sexuality flag buttons, and while some people were civil and looked fun a few looked like they’d be the type to get involved in gay internet ops. A month or so later my fears were confirmed when FurAffinity started blanket banning problematic people for offsite activity.
I had already been worried about this very thing, ever since the internet corporations that had previously put on a façade of neutralness decided to start cracking down on The Daily Stormer all in lockstep. They lost everything from their payment processors to their IRC channel to their web hosting to multiple domains. Even Cloudflare, a previously neutral company decided to go after Daily Stormer and this was something they likely came to regret hard. I already knew that this was likely internet companies testing the waters on a clearly undesirable website that had remained up for years with no problems and soon enough Alex Jones found himself the target of the same lockstep censorship and while he still has his domain he’s lost most of his social media accounts and his YouTube account. Speaking of YouTube, videos have been placed in a “restricted mode” a lot more lately, while Reddit has started “quarantining” some controversial subreddits and a lot of them got wiped out in a ban wave as well.
Even worse is when topics find themselves censored en masse. For example, a creep who is most likely a pedophile decided to identify as a transgender woman while passing about as well as Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. Much discussion of this was wiped off the internet except for posts on a website that documents drama. WordPress.com hosted blogs, Twitter, Medium, and more websites worked to cover up anyone who “deadnamed” this person with their birth name despite said person using the name interchangeably, and then that person decided to then send legal letters after the person who ran the site.
The problem for big tech is, a lot of these people deplatformed can keep themselves afloat if they’re big enough. The Daily Stormer and Infowars are still up to this very day, and either the Daily Stormer found a stable domain or the domain registrars quit trying to play whack-a-mole with Andrew Anglin. But they’re not on social media, which to the average phoneposter or cheap Wal-Mart laptop user is “where everything happens online”. So one might ask, why can’t someone make an alternative? Well the problem is to start an alternative website you need loads of money. Getting money to host your own social media site is hard as that VidMe closing post showed, or as mastodon instances running patreon accounts shows. The most effective form of censorship as of late besides the fear of getting someone fired has been demonetization where companies will cut off funding.
Now Bitchute is a promising alternative to YouTube in its implementation, it’s a p2p based YouTube clone. The problem is, it’s “free speech” nature is going to draw un-advertiser friendly users to the website. In the past you could have gotten by with donation links because you’re sidestepping advertisers but that’s not possible anymore. Bitchute has found itself only able to make money from cryptocurrency as PayPal and Stripe have dropped them. Even the EFF is worried about this behavior by financial companies.
You may have noticed a trend here. None of this has been done by governments like in the past, or by big corporations flexing their legal muscle like with Nintendo and Loveroms causing a chilling effect on ROM sites. No, this is all being done by big corporations and banks. Cryptocurrency is a rollercoaster and isn’t stable, fast, or accepted enough to replace the legacy banking and monetary system nor is it as “normie friendly” and polished as banks are. Most internet activity happens on a handful of big corporate owned websites that get to pick and choose who is allowed. It’s scary how much power they have, and you have to be careful what you say online to avoid provoking a mob of people with too much power.
And if you think that you’re only affected if you have unpopular (with corporations) political views, Tumblr shot themselves in the foot with that porn ban much to the dismay of lots of people online.
But there is a silver lining to all of this.
Number 4: Useful idiots have sad lives.
Let’s get into the mind of a useful idiot for a minute. For the most part, your life is comfortable to some degree. Either you’ve moved out and have a cushy job with lots of money, or you have someone providing free housing, free food, and access to running water (or they’re bankrolling it). You’re living in what should be the golden age of humanity, when aircraft can fly you around the world in a few hours at most, rapid transit is cheap, and depending on how much your government hates you owning a vehicle can be cheap. There hasn’t been a war since the 1940s that has felt like it isn’t a great big fight for humanity with God on your side. Despite this, there’s something missing in your life. Maybe your parents disowned you or you’re on poor terms with them, maybe the communities you belong to seem artificial, maybe you’re isolated from what goes on around you. But most of all, you want something to “fight” for, regardless of how petty it is.
So you whip open your laptop or cell phone and you start browsing the internet for something to get angry about. You get into fights with people, you spam report buttons, and you might even get involved in gay ops or write callout posts because someone might not have been politically pure at one time. There’s a dopamine rush waiting for you right there as you get ready to call someone a bigot on the internet.
But you know what? This doesn’t improve your life at all; it’s just a short term dopamine rush.
I’ve been in some “interesting” groups online and I’ve seen plenty of crazy stuff through my own two eyes. What I notice is that the people who tend to be these useful idiots for these big tech corporations also tend to have pathetic, unfulfilling lives. They don’t do much with their lives besides maybe an entry level hobby or two, but they have tons of time to get involved in gay ops online. You can take a look at their Twitter feeds and you’ll see tends of thousands of tweets over the span of several years and sometimes pinned ebegging links. They’ll brag about how they’re epic exposing people online and trying to ruin their lives, but what do they have in life themselves?
A lot of times their whole life revolves around an identity, and that’s it. They’re nothing more than a generic NPC with a title and set of pronouns attached to them that they chose, and that’s it. They’re not even living the “normie” life of someone who brags about the places they went to or what they did today sometimes. They’ll give up their whole lives and hobbies to become part of the hivemind.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I’ve seen from useful idiots is when you’d get people who want to get involved in online fights switching sides under the guise of “getting better”, like somebody mad they’re getting killed in an online game so they’ll switch sides. They’ll want quick friends, and they have no underlying beliefs so they’ll switch over. They’ll go from being vocal about say GamerGate to being vocal about social justice issues and whatnot, getting dopamine rushes from smashing the RT button and feeling like they’re involved in something.
But let’s be honest here. The next time you see one saying dumb shit online, just remember that their lives are most likely worthless and disposable and if it weren’t for the fact that some know which strings to pull they could be safely ignored. If they come after you though, don’t give in. Chances are, it’s just Tall Poppy Syndrome, they’re jealous that you’re successful in life. Just be sure to keep your head up and be wary of who you talk to and who your friends are.
Number 3: Drugs don’t fix shit
Now this is part personal and part shit I’ve seen online but a few months ago I was feeling depressed as hell and like life was fucked. I wasn’t going anywhere, I wasn’t learning shit I wanted to so I could go somewhere and be happy I was, and I felt like meds could fix it. So I went to a psychiatrist who decided to put me on Celexa. For a month I felt like a dead inside zombie and while my paranoias were suppressed, I also felt like these drugs were going to ruin my brain. I lost all motivation and while driving I even felt disassociated. So I quit taking Celexa and had some withdrawls. The same went with vaping, I decided to try it thinking it’d make me feel better and after a few months it not only quit having the desired effect but I found myself slightly hooked, either to the nicotine or the act of vaping itself. I also didn’t end up learning what I wanted to.
I look online and I see tons of people making the same mistake, to the point where they get obsessed with when they started drugs or how many days they’ve been on it. While they might work for some people, at the same time they can have nasty withdrawl effects and sometimes permanent body changes. Hell, drugs can make you want to kill yourself, especially if they fuck with your brain enough or if you have irreversible body changes from them.
For me though, that month or so on SSRIs drove the point home. It’s not really worth it. I don’t think people should be able to walk up to someone and get drugs that can fuck you up with little more than a sheet of paper needing to be signed, but hey that’s how it is these days. I might make an extended blog post on this if I can put my words on paper, but there’s not a whole lot else to say.
Number 2: You’re only as good as your friends are
I posted this same exact thing a few months ago and time has only proven this to be truer. If you’re around hedonistic people who game all day on the internet, you’re not going to go far in life. It’s even worse if you’re there to “escape” something in real life, such as if your parents are either directionless with how they want to raise you or aggressively trying to screw you over. Being around the people I was around gave me insight into how the internet “works” and so did living the life I lived on the internet, but it didn’t give me many skills I’ve wished I’ve had.
The 2017-18 period of my life is when shit really went south for a few people I’ve known for a while. It’s also when I started to realize I was no better than they were position wise, with the only thing in my favor being “at least I tried” for many things and at least my parents helped me out when it came to getting a car and license. It’s where I asked myself, what do I want to be in life, what do I want to contribute to the world, and what do I want to do to help change things for the better (well, at least as much as one person can do)? When your friends are self-destructing online, turning on you, or not talking to you anymore, that’s when you really start to ask yourself what are you doing with your life and why are you in this position?
The biggest revelation is when people you think are your friends one day turn on you and tell you what they really think of you or just whine about you in general. Even worse is when some of them try to throw you under the bus as well, and some people have obsessive levels of trying to log your every move online. My parents told me when I was younger, the worst shit you’d have to deal with were embarrassing Polaroids or 110 camera pictures being spread around. Nowadays everything is being recorded by someone and anything you put out online might as well be up forever. The best strategy you can hope for is that it’s all forgotten about, and try to move on. With the rise of “callout culture”, your past is always tied to you regardless of how mundane it is or if it’s just something dumb you did years ago.
You can do a few things to avoid this, like diversifying your friends and hanging out in other groups, along with trying not to “cross the streams” too much by introducing some friends to other friends. Also try to avoid groups that attract too much cancer, you’ll find out which ones they are by frequent use of the internet because a lot is “trial and error” but eventually you’ll have some sort of cancer detector. You’ll be able to find out which kinds of groups attract the worst kinds of people and you’ll avoid them like the plague…or you’ll laugh at them and “keep eyes” in them so you know what’s going on in that part of the internet. It’s your call, but please make sure to remember that too much cancer exposure can be deadly. I’ll give you a gamer hint though, stay out of NSFW groups. You’ll think that on the surface it’ll be a great place to find porn but most of it will be reposts and the userbase of them is almost always sad horny nerds.
Number 1: Don’t waste away time on the internet doing nothing
If there’s one tip I could give to anybody online, it’s this right here. Don’t sit on your computer wasting your time away on social media, building up a case for someone to railroad you in a few years and shitposting around. I can talk about my internet history right now, I joined forums and nobody liked me much and people got pissed at me for some reason without telling me why. Eventually I gave up the pretense of trying to fit in and I felt better that way, it was funnier to watch people online fight over dumb shit.
From 2012-14, a cultural shift started to take place with the real shift coming in 2015 when gay marriage was legalized and the lobbyists turned towards making special snowflakes a protected class. Tumblr bred a culture of special snowflakes trying to one-up each other in the oppression Olympics. Sex was replaced with gender preferred pronouns in profiles, people self-diagnosed themselves with mental illnesses, and the cult of social justice really took hold. The biggest thing Tumblr bred however was the rise of “callout culture”, which is something I talked about a bit above. I remember making a Tumblr account and pissing off people without even trying just by using a tag that led some blog to screech at me. Over time this has gotten worse and worse to the point where people will try to ruin your life over making them angry over the internet, essentially “Can I talk to your manager” or “I’m calling the corporate office” taken to the logical extreme and this time over petty internet fights.
Eventually I realized that internet drama is far too risky, but also entertaining from afar. It became too risky to get a kick out of making nerds angry on the internet when you realized that someone can just tell the right person they know in the social media company and have you kicked off the digital public square. But with how often snowflakes tend to be offended by anything and everything, you didn’t need to anymore. You didn’t even need to light a match and walk away at drama exploding; you could just watch it run its course online.
But eventually I realized that while I gained lots of knowledge on how people work and function from watching drama and flamewars online, on how you can successfully market yourself online, and what people are drawn towards, I also didn’t have much in the way of actual skills. I had the knowledge, I knew the ins and outs of the internet more than a lot of people I know and I had it ingrained into me, but I didn’t have any sort of skillset I could make use of that with.
I took a look at those people I laughed at, and at a certain point while some aspects of their lives were hilarious 3/4ths of it were just sad and depressing. On one hand, their lives are a benchmark and a guide on what not to be in life and what mistakes not to make in life. On the other hand, these people are just fucking depressing and the fact they can get jobs they hate while you can’t even get a Wal-Mart job is somewhat infuriating. The big black pill in this situation isn’t the fact these people exist, it’s the fact that there are so many of them and thankfully identifying them isn’t the hard part, the hard part is trying to analyze why people end up in that way. I’ve managed to come to a conclusion after cross referencing the bits and pieces of their lives with mine though, they live shitty lifestyles. They take what they feel is the easy way out of their problems by joining groups online that end up indoctrinating them or shitty friend circles that enable their behavior (and sometimes a mixture of both). I’ve learned that many of them struggled with goals they couldn’t reach, with hardships after having a pampered and easy life, and in some cases even the inability to get laid. And yes, I’ve seen people ruined by relationships collapsing into dirt with the consequences being terrible.
But you know what? If there’s one thing I could tell to people who are my age, or who are teens getting into the internet for the first time I’ll say this. Don’t do what I did. Don’t fucking sit around the internet shitposting all day because it’s like eating junk food and sitting around all day playing video games. You don’t get much out of it. I’m only lucky I got out of the internet what I did with regards to watching how people behave online and that’s because I was always sort of an “outsider” within groups.
Use your computer to learn skills. We’re living in an age where tech is everywhere and where we spend all day in front of a knowledge database that you have to pay monthly to access unless you do it in some library or use a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Use it wisely, don’t sit around like I did wishing I could learn programming, art, and whatnot as the days went by. Consuming mindless content on the internet all day sets you down the path to becoming an ebegging Twitter NPC who contributes even less to society than someone like Chris Chan does. Hell, you could use Chris Chan’s entire life story as a fable on why you don’t sit around your computer left to your own devices all day because you’ll end up like a diet version of him.
Anyhow, it’s 2019 now and what else can I say besides happy New Year. It’s been a few days since I started writing this but that’s because I’ve experienced so much stuff this year. But you know what? If you never learn anything, you’ll learn the same lesson I did and find yourself starting at the clock as the years go by while being in the same spot you were when you started.