Love / Hate: The Internet

I hate the internet.

Really, I do. It’s hard to imagine the nuances of my life without it, but I well and truly hate it.

Quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

Let me explain: I hate the access the internet provides. I hate the unfiltered transparency; I hate the minute-by-minute peek into people’s lives, no matter how droll or obscene; I hate how it’s always ON.

There’s no off switch. You can delete the apps, disable the browsing functionality; block and mute the trolls; filter out the degradation and obscenity, but it’s still there.

Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t always work when you understand that just because something is hidden, doesn’t mean it’s not present.

Why do I know so much about you? Your life? Your situation? It’s kind off odd, no?

I get so disheartened at some of the comments I see on social media, on blog sites, in comment sections, on the entirety of the web.

I am constantly amazed, and somewhat speechless, at the audaciousness it takes to ridicule, degrade and dehumanize another person — especially a virtual stranger.

I’ve never derived joy from someone else’s pain. If I can’t say it to my mother without disappointment, it doesn’t leave my mouth . . . or my keyboard.

Temperance is a virtue worth having and tearing down another doesn’t elevate my potential; so, it’s always a bit hard for me to understand how some can spew hate so freely.

I’ve always been of the mind that if you can’t be kind, then you should just be quiet. Words have consequences and if you can’t wield them in a way that promotes growth, generosity and goodwill, then they ought not be used at all.

Silence is always an option. Right? Right.

On the flip side, some of the things I detest about the internet are some of the very things that make it my worst guilty pleasure.

I love how you can be exposed to a completely different world at the click of a button. I love how my sometimes debilitating shyness finds solace in the existence of like-minded individuals; I love how information is so readily available, so there’s no real excuse for continued ignorance. I love how it gives me an excuse to block out the world and get lost in my head — the music, the articles, the podcasts, the glimpse into places I’ve only dreamed of going.

I love the access. I hate the access; but, I love the access, too.

However, with that access comes the justification that everything is grounds for open commentary and ill-informed interjections.

I think there’s value in waiting to speak on something; I think there’s value in keeping silent in the midst of noise; I think there’s value in holding your tongue and keeping the peace, regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong. I think there’s value in temperance.

Unfortunately, the internet isn’t always the best avenue to see those values manifest.

Anonymity makes folks bold, real bold.

Hiding behind an ambiguous username and an inflated profile gives rise to the deepest, darkest recesses of one’s imagination. It’s scary.

I believe in protecting your space, protecting your joy, protecting your sanity, by any means necessary.

So, until I can find an adequate way to merge my love and hate for the internet into something that doesn’t encourage me to scratch my eyes out every time I logon, I will continue to employ the out of sight, out of mind method, even knowing that it’s not 100 percent effective.

Gotta start somewhere.

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