It’s something I keep harping on and have for sometime since our earlier episodes of GeekCast Radio and Altered Geek (2), but the internet is a really toxic place. Whether it’s in fandoms, in the news or in humanity itself. When you stop to look at it, it really is quite depressing. I’ve discovered over the past year or two that I really don’t enjoy being online as much as I used to. The questions I had to ask myself was What caused it, When did it happen, and Why is it continuing?
When I was growing up it was the early 90’s and by the mid to late 90’s, dial-up internet was a thing. Granted there were USENET, ATT groups, and forums but it really wasn’t OUT there as it is today. It really was the wild west styled civilization online and there really wasn’t the level of in the public there is today. People back then could easily hide behind a pseudonym or screen name and disappear none the wiser on their distasteful remarks.
Back in 2010, myself, Dustin Vancour, Mike Blanchard and Mike Dodd sat down to discuss the concept of internet bullying and the fact we only saw it getting worse. I again returned to those topics in two episodes of Altered Geek in 2017 to further reiterate the problem was indeed getting worse.
What was the main cause though? My thoughts were social media and it’s writhing into the mainstream becoming the de facto means of communication, trumping comments sections and message boards and essentially making all of it obsolete. I too enjoyed it’s usage for a time. However in terms of pop culture and fandoms, there has always been backlash for as long as there has been television. Everytime a series gets renovated there are the diehard fans of the original and the fans of the new incarnation. The diehards scream how it “ruins” their childhood which is absurd. I think there are positives and negatives to both sides and I’ve found myself on either side from time to time. That being said, it is still a fictitious universe controlled by those writing the stories in that given incarnation and era.
Back when Star Trek The Next Generation was being teased, people were screaming to kill it before it began, much like people are doing with Discovery. Do I enjoy it, yes. Is it flawed? I believe it has a lot of plot issues but they’re going to make it their way no matter how big of a tantrum I or others throw about it because someone will watch it. Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other franchise in this 80’s to now reincarnation era are constantly having people screaming at the series over distaste for reinvention and change. I can see some of it, but same time, why get worked up about it? Just simply don’t watch it and move on.
It seems everyday now there are new issues coming out with not only pop culture but politicians, actors, actresses, company owners, people who did things they shouldn’t have and got caught doing wrong and others using this newfound destructive path as an ends to a means. I’m not siding with either on this but it’s still sad that there is so much evil involved with all of it. There’s constantly people getting into some sort of trouble in the news, the internet and its just sad.
We can’t escape these wrong acts in this digital world as everytime we turn around, it’s just rearing its ugly head again. Watching a film or television show now causes someone to have to consider what so and so said or did and because they were a failure as a human being it thus ruins something for them. I can still watch a program with people in it that are on the no fly list as it’s a character I’m watching, not the person. For a lot it shines through.
Point I’m trying to make is that the internet has become this place that people complain, hate, attack, and attempt to destroy what others love, enjoy and hold dear. A little complaining is fine but downright hateful words and pure spite makes it a place I really don’t want to be on. It’s become a cesspool and that’s the most unfortunate problem of all. It’s just taken us years to see that it’s been happening under our noses the entire time.
Instead of attacking things, try to find common ground on the things you enjoy and connect with those who enjoy it too. I’ve been trying to do that more in the recent months. I’ve recently discovered educating people on things I’ve learned has brought meaning to my presence online. Communicating on topics I find relevant or important I relay in my podcasts and skip the things I have zero interest in as a way to disregard what I don’t like and focus on the good.
With the internet being such a connected place, there is plenty of room to make friends and meaningful conversations on topics that you can enlighten and educate each other on and not be a downer. There is already a lot of that in the world causing depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses that we don’t need to be adding to the problem.
As someone who suffers from anxiety issues and overstressing situations, I think what we need is more time to be with real people and to shut down the internet for a day or two a week.
These are just my thoughts and things I’ve noticed but what are things you find distasteful and wrong? Do you think it’s the internet? Do you think it’s the people or is it both? Sound off in the comments below!