I've been a consistent internet user for the better part of this millennium- chat rooms, instant messenger profiles, rap music message boards and email street teams, social media since BlackPlanet, I have literally seen it all. Before "shooting your shot" was a thing, I would leave comments on a girl's MySpace page and put her in my "top 8," thus letting her know I was checking for her. "Sliding" in a girl's DM's originated from getting her AIM/YM/MSNM name and sending the initial "Aye wassup?" All my OG internet folks know how it used it go.
The entire time I've been a consistent internet user, I've never seen any of its content regulated or governed. It's like if the OK Corral and Dodge City all merged into one and every user was like reckless train-robber, cowboy bandit or stick-up kid. Trolling didn't start with Twitter or Instagram- it was a thousand times worse on the SOHH.com message boards me and my homies used to frequent religiously. Remember that old folktale about Bow Wow getting raped by his limo driver? That was drummed up by OG internet message board trolls.
Now that we live in the era of "Black Twitter," #MeToo and #TimesUp, where internet users are emboldened than ever before. Social media has rendered old message board/forum websites nearly obsolete, save for Reddit, technology forums and random weirdo fetish/hate websites. Back when the internet was for the nerds and blerds, celebs rarely responded to internet gossip rumors and conspiracies. Now, they run their own profiles, giving themselves a front-row seat to how vile the social media landscape really is. Check out a famous person's Twitter mentions or their Instagram post comments sometime- it's part hilarious entertainment and part sad reality that some people genuinely have too much time on their hands and hate in their hearts.
What always gets me is when current consistent internet users make generational assumptions based on tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook statuses and Snapchat videos. Like damn, is your world view so limited to social media posts? Are you unaware of what's been going on in your own backyard?
C'mon man, people been heartless since the beginning of time, and they used to be even worse- remember the 80's?! Of course you don't, because your ass wasn't even thought of yet, but a few Google searches of HISTORY will make you feel safer than ever before. If you ask me, this current generation has it better than any prior generation because of the advances in technology and electronic capability. But I digress, because I realize how many people have either been born or come of age since I became a consistent internet user. Also, the entire chastisement of a generation through a social media timeline or news feed is hypocritical as hell- you chose to follow these people! If you're too much of a coward to hit the "unfriend/unfollow" button, there's all kind of filters that you can use to mute certain words or people. And, the good ol' block button is forever undefeated like Mike in the NBA Finals. And I understand what it's like to grow up sheltered and unaware. Must be rough to grow up and find out how fucked up the world is on your smartphone, though.
Social media is utilized in different ways by different people- some use it to validate their opinions and beliefs by connecting with strangers, others use it to promote and market their goods and services. It's a great way to stay in touch with classmates, friends and friends of friends. Some people use it as an outlet for their frustrations with reality and others seek the gratification, desire and attention of strangers by posting provocative content (When Drake rapped "Gotta hit them angles," I immediately reminisced on all the "from the neck up," above-the-head, from-behind-to-the-side pics I've seen women post in my lifetime- infinite (-___-) faces.) If you're looking for social media users to display empathy or show compassion during tragedy, you're looking in the wrongest place...EVERTON. It's now best practice that when someone becomes a "trending topic" of conversation due to their demise or their passing, people will announce their departure much like kids who get mad, take their ball and run home from the park. Like the rest of us really give a damn.
Here's a news flash...
No amount of complaining, moaning and groaning will ever get the internet to cooperate. People will forever troll for likes, retweets and comments because that's how it's set up to work- to feed egos and pander to insecurities (This is probably why there are STILL shirtless dudes and women sitting on sinks.) And I get that there's this personality flaw of always needing to be right and to show people how right you are and that your thoughts matter and meaning something- I really do understand.
But no one cares, B.