The Internet: Hide & Seek
Questioning the modern concept of the internet seems to constantly be at the forefront of people's mind. Once you have made your way through the initial barriers of cat pictures, hair tutorials, GIFs of stupid people doing stupid things, and porn - food or otherwise - there seems to be a air of pointlessness.
Being human we need an answer for everything: if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it does it make a sound? Yes. What is the meaning of life? 42. Will Binky and Alex ever be able to be in the same room as each other? Yes, as long as the pay is good enough. But some things there is little point in questioning, primarily because questioning them succeeds only in bringing up the same round of single sided musings.
The on point, go to criticism of the internet is that it provides a virtual mask that filters the crap from view. Whether it be a quick strategically placed Facebook status, a well planned Instagram snap or a full on blog post, there is always an element artificial BS filtering that seems to go on. It's in our nature to make our lives seem better than they are; the man with the biggest club wins, right?
I recently read an article that talked about our need to share stories and it summarised that it comes from the same place as our love for gourmet food. When we were running around in caves food was a necessity, as time and evolution moved on our need for food as a race developed and we started to look for the very best there was to offer, soon enough only the finest would do. Our need to share stories comes from a similar place. Back in the caves sharing tips about where to find good food was a survival technique - by sharing the knowledge we learnt what to look for and what to avoid. It is the same with sharing stories; the best story wins. Which is to say that it is the same with sharing the stories of our lives.
The filter we use online is there for survival.
If you scratch a little beneath the surface of the internet you soon trip over someone doing the opposite. Whether it's a leading Facebook status that's begging for a sympathetic comment on or a blog post 'confessing' to suffering with mental health issues there is an internet user lifting their artificial filter to reveal their 'real life'. It is when person lifts this filter that the world wrinkles it's nose and deems the whole thing as an over-sharing tactic designed to gain more traffic.
People use the internet as a bartering tool. It becomes a self esteem booster. An agony aunt. A place to vent. It becomes a confessional with no place but everywhere to hide. In such a vast space it is a place for you to show the best of your best bits and the best of your worst bits.
After reading the quote above my mind started to whir. I started to think about life and how I live it. Being a blogger a large part of my private life surrounds the internet, I started to wonder if I should step away from it all for a while. Take some time to put the wifi down and enjoy the moments I have. But I truthfully already do that. I have a rational view of the online world.. The internet doesn't even remotely share my best or worst bits. I use it to fulfil a compulsion to write, to have a holding place for photos that I don't mind other people seeing. It is my shelf for surface level sharing. And I like that.
The internet is a dangerous place. It is full of dangerous people, trolls, and snoopers. It obviously has it's good sides, it is still a host for friendships and relationships, old or new. Just be aware that whilst you're making a new friend pretending that the burger you just ate was the next super food, you may just bump into someone you vaguely recognise, and that will cut you down with the truth in an instant.
Be careful what you write about, you may read it one day.