Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Five Rules of the Internet

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. As you know, the rise of social media, along with message boards and screen names have done a lot to promote anonymous hate and complaining. Sometimes you can log on only to find people whining and whining and whining about the smallest things.

So, I try to go by 5 rules on social media.

1. Pick Your Battles: My battle is education. I'm a teacher along with the whole wanting to be a writer thing. Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you know that education is at a strange tipping point. The right want to pare down public education and make it mostly private. I disagree. This is my fight. This is what I try to keep my protesting to online. Everything in the world is not horrible, so stop acting like it is.

2. Talk about things you love: Rutgers basketball, movies, Doctor Who, books. I try to keep my topics positive. I want to enjoy my time on the internet, not run to it when it's time to whine. The use of the word awesome brightens my day. (And not in the form of "Well, this is an awesomely bad idea.")

3. Observe the Two Week Rule: Ah, the 2 week rule. Just remember that anytime there's an internet controversy, it'll be forgotten about in 2 weeks. People will find other things to whine about. So, unless it's major (sayyyyy the Governor of NJ comes up with a loophole to turn all schools private in 8 seconds), it's very rarely worth spending a day and a half complaining about.

4. Odds Are, You Aren't Going to Fix It: You can spout off all you want. It ain't going to change because of the internet. You may be able to use the internet to save your favorite TV show. And people have used social media to organize. But complaining on the internet is like complaining to the mirror. Nothing's changing.

5. Be More Funny: Even when things bug me, I try to add a sense of humor to the situation. I'm sarcastic, but I try not to be mean (the couple of times I've been mean, I've gotten in trouble). Tell jokes, mock, be snarky... but don't just flat out complain.

I'm sure I've broken a few of these rules at times. Everyone does. But for the most part, keeping this in my mind helps keep me sane amongst the noise.


Steven J. Wangsness said...

Good rules to live by.

Ben said...

Indeed Steven. You have to know what you're on the internet for, because if you don't, nothing will ever happen and before you know it, you will be old.

Neliza said...

I tried to limit my rage to education. And then the GOP wanted to plant a cross in my uterus. One is my job, but my health is my life.