Hey, everybody! It's the Internet! It's that galactic, pirouetting party that never gets shut down—because the sun never comes up in the Internet, dummy, Al Gore programmed it that way—full of conversation, debate, shouting, threats, and dicks, literal and metaphorical.
There are no cops. There are no teachers. Your mom and dad aren't even here. As communication's frequency continues to rise and the anonymity stays the same, people commenting on blogs and news articles are finding themselves talking more often to random individuals. In reading regular content in the same industries, speaking in circles, the commenter's lexicon has been distilled into a few handy, zero-thought answers.
Reading and response to online content has been genericized, bringing about junk comments that need to be excised from regular usage.
They're iterated and reiterated so frequently that they are stunting our ability to have an original laugh—to have a genuine moment. They've gotta go.
Phrases And Memes That Need To Disappear From The Internet
IMO? "In My Opinion?" This is a waste of keystrokes. Anything you say is your opinion. Except if you're citing some external resource. Opinions are flaccid things, and saying "IMO" is like explaining a knock-knock joke to your college microeconomics professor. For an opinion to hold water, you need to have a good reputation, or be a recognized authority on a topic, otherwise, the statement being made is only as strong as the words within it.
"IMO, the democrats have acted like pussies during the shutdown."
Strongly-worded. But statements on the Internet with strong words are as common as statements with strong words from Hector Pink, who is a homeless guy with conjunctivitis that hangs around near my work.
You can go two ways here. 1) That can be the end of your statement, or, 2) You can start rambling like a geek fondling the speech he's always wanted to say in front of the girl with the nose-stud he's always liked.
IMO is usually followed by the person regurgitating information they've read on other comments, numbers they've read off of Rotten Tomatoes, or even the information found in the article itself, not realizing this isn't their opinion, it's just stuff they've read. It's clumsy.
An opinion is not an assurance that a comment cannot be incorrect, it is a bid that one may have something valid to say.
2. Am I the only one that...?
...The only one that's ever fished for support, head pivoting around a room, hoping to spot another joker to agree with a statement you aren't sure you should me making? Where do you think you are, freshman chemistry class?
Or it might be a statement that's so obvious that you just want to let everybody know you're one of them. You're normal! You can't be the only one! 'Cause, am I right, fellas?
"Am I the only one that still doesn't like Superman's suit in Man of Steel?"
Bringing up an obvious point of contention does not count as having thought about something. You have not proven sentience. You haven't even proven individuality.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Go apologize to your mom for being a willful follower in a group of Internet strangers, and beg for forgiveness, and if she does forgive you, ask if it's okay if she can drive you home from the surgeon next week after they finally put in that adult-sized backbone you're ready to get.
The cool kid does not remind everybody that he (or she!) is one of the crowd. So, no, if you have to ask, if you are a person who asks, if you make sure everybody witnesses you askING, you are not the only one. Enjoy being being Not The Only One. It's kinda neat to not be the only one when you're a bony track runner with no fashion sense at fifteen years old. It's not very neat at all to be part of the herd when the herd is a few hundred comments on Reddit, incapable of individual thought.
3. Don't get me wrong, I love *BLANK*, but I'm not gonna pay / don't understand...
I wish this was more specific to the entertainment industry, but it's been spreading out. The feigned-ignorance, open-window to get others to complete one's thought. Saying that you're a fan or you love *BLANK* lets other know you've got the basics down, and then bringing up something like a lack of understanding, usually around why something costs money, or why somebody else would pay money for that thing, and then you can add in your own limp feelings on that item, or let the group pile on and finish your sentence.
"Don't get me wrong, I love the iPhone 5, but I don't understand why people would pay for an iPhone 5S."
The answer is usually, "Because their circumstances are different from yours."
And what do you care? You're a spineless follower that doesn't understand, remember?
This speaks to the horrifying lack of empathy online. On the Internet, you don't get to be bombarded by the facial movements you learned on the playground—I assume that was the last time you were openly cruel to somebody else's face, and had to absorb the feeling of being a cock in-person, right? You don't get to be satisfied by a simple answer like, "I had some extra money, and I'd been saving, so I got one." or "I have never owned a smartphone."
It's my opinion that the iPhone is a wet garbage bag left on the curb after a 6 year-old girl's birthday. I've used gadgets my entire life. Then again, I understand why people would be them.
There, killed two birds with one stone. Didn't have to turn into a froth-mouthed New York Jets fan and swallow a handful of gravel to calm my nerves (and there we go again, oops! (fuck the Jets.))
This has gone too far. It's the oldest of the old that I can't look at and not have it read as this sarcastic, heavy-shouldered sigh at tedium.
"Hey, I found a picture of a cat running into a screen door."
At the very best, it's an acknowledgment of intended comedy. What, did you make a joke? I mean, a few other billion bozos just did too, but, okay, lemme get a look. Yup, that shit could be thrown into a box, taped up, taken slowly up the drop-down ladder, and left in the attic, "Comedy" scraped on the cardboard in black marker.
Eh. lol. LOLZ!
Enough. I know it's hard to word-make the laughter-feeling. And lol isn't going anywhere. I move that it only be used in the appropriate context: that a joke was made, and the funnier thing is that we all realize how lame it was.
5. *Some condescending sentence, reiterating a title or main point, ending in a question?* Fail.
Remember failblog? Hah! Of course you don't, you were too busy having extravagant sex vacations and high-fiving your quarterly spreadsheet.
(Look, dude, it's okay if you want to keep pretending that you don't like certain things and still put on this jocular veneer. I have worked at more than several American companies, and all of them are full of people that would rather eat a whole bird's nest than admit out-loud that they're still afraid their dads think they're not achieving their full potential. That feeling's not going anywhere, might as well move to the south and enjoy a culture that loves 1960's creepiness.)
No, keep right on repeating a statement somebody else has made, and then sum it up by misusing a single word, borrowed from an ancient blog that posted silly pictures. If you have to make a camp of like-minded people around to validate your humor, you're probably taking yourself too seriously.
"You just wrote a 500 word comment on a blog post just to embarrass yourself with that shitty opinion? Fail."
Hey, neat, I'm lazy, too, so to save time, I'll cherry pick what I want from your response. Lemme see: "You just wrote a 500 word comment...!"
500 words! That's worth 500 points of justice! Thanks for noticing!
6. Honestly, I really don't get why...?
Put forth some effort. Ignorance is thrilling. It relieves you of responsibility. Stupidity is easy mode.
I recommend breaching like a humpback whale from the highest build you can find if you feel compelled to talk about how
"Honestly, I really don't get why people don't try harder to communicate their thoughts when interacting online?"
Because it means nothing. Right. So don't do it. Don't waste your time. Don't go looking for a fight that has neither a winner nor a loser, only an agreement that nobody has a right to intelligence, only an opinion. That's a level playing field. That's a powerful fantasy.
These statements have been listed off because they are demonstrative to the fact that when confronted with the opportunity to communicate consistently, we would rather err on the side of willful ignorance than speak, listen, learn, understand, and converse.
Let me know if I've missed anything, I'd be interested to hear thoughts below.
-- @Alex Crumb (originally published 11/1/13)