As some of you may know, I do this thing on my Tumblr every Wednesday where I let people submit questions and then I choose a few of them to answer every few hours or so. It was just an idea I ripped off from some of my other vlogger friends, but I thought it would be good for a little bit of fun. But when I went to adjust my blog settings, a little box appeared that said “allow anonymous questions”. “What the hell,why not…” I thought to myself, “what if someone wants to ask a particularly deep or personal question?” When I checked the box, though, this little alert popped up…
Now I’ve dealt with my fair share of haters in the past on YouTube. Hell, I even made a whole TPG video about them. But when this little alert popped up, I couldn’t help but pause. I wasn’t scared at all by what people might say. On the contrary, I was curious. Exactly how much of a difference would anonymity play into the whole equation? Would I get the same bullshit comments that people post on my and Will’s videos? Or would this anonymous option embolden these haters, and make them try harder to get under my skin?
When you put yourself out there as an online personality, you start to get used to people giving their unsolicited opinions. Because every video and article and webpage has a comment section these days, people feel as though it gives them the right to share every asinine thought that pops into their head. In an age where people shouting at each other is considered “debate” people like to constantly throw around the phrase “everyone’s entitled to their opinion”. Yes, they are. Everyone IS entitled to form their opinion. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to share that opinion, or that your opinion automatically counts for something. But hey, that’s the risk you run when you put yourself out there, right. Besides, I’ve dealt with plenty of people online who take their opinions way too seriously.
But these submissions are a bit different from the standard cunty opinions I always get on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. On those social media outlets, people just give their opinions or try to argue with you when you say the slightest thing that they disagree with. These “questions”, on the other hand, exist solely to try to attack, to get under someone’s skin. These are people whom I’ve probably never met, never spoken to, never even acknowledged before. So I’m pretty sure that there’s no way in Hell I could have done these people wrong in some form or fashion. But that hasn’t stopped them from doing their best to upset me.
Let’s make one thing clear, I have absolutely no shits to give any of these people. I just think that this whole thing is an interesting social experiment. We’ve seen in the news how kids (not just gay kids) have killed themselves from being bullied so much. While I think it’s great that people have tried to combat bullying and stuff in schools, I think the damage might be irreparable here online. The anonymity of internet culture has created an entire generation of people who have no problem letting their most base, vicious, animalistic impulses run wild over the cover of some fake username or, better yet, an anonymous identity. It’s the same reason why online sex is becoming more and more prevalent. There’s almost no accountability on the internet. Their usernames or anonymous submissions completely insulate them from any responsibility or consequences. That’s why I’m sure that none of these people feel as though they’ve done something wrong. It’s because there’s no one out there telling them that it’s wrong.
There’s a really great quote from The Social Network that Rooney Mara’s character says, and I think it’s quite appropriate here. “You write your snide bullshit from a dark room because that’s what the angry do nowadays.” I, personally, am kind of amused by the kind of shit that people will say to try to get under my skin. In a way, it helps me learn about how I’m portrayed on the internet. But I just wanted to say that, first, if you find yourself to be the victim of these kind of attacks, don’t pay them any mind. I guarantee you that these people will only have the balls to share such thoughts when they’re safe inside their houses behind a computer screen. I also wanted to help bring to light an issue that we as an online community might want to start brainstorming a solution to.
Anyways, I’m off to go try and be productive. (Opens Tumblr)