Tater Takes on the Internet

I spend a lot of tie on the internet. That’s probably one reason why the number of books I’ve read this year is lower than normal. Looking at Twitter, Facebook, Deadspin, etc. is mindless and easier than reading an actual book. I can do it while watching TV. I can’t read a book and watch TV at the same time. I also watch a lot of TV, so this works out well for me. As I spend time on he internet I sometimes run across things that I think I should write about, so here it is – my “what irritates me online” post.

First Name Basis: This one just came p again this morning. I am trying really hard not to read comments online, but I make an exception for some posts on TV Line. I like to see how others have reacted to a show or to casting news. I’ve noticed in the comments people have a tendency to call the actors by their first name like they know them personally. I don’t care how much time you have spent watching this person on TV. You are not on a first name basis with them. It’s just weird and you should stop.

Sharing Without Thinking: Fake news and conspiracy theories are big news right now, especially after a moron who believed a fake news story showed up at Comet Ping Pong with a gun. It would be nice to think that the people who believe these stories are a fringe element and not a large-scale problem, but I’ve seen otherwise. I have seen several instances of people who I know to be relatively smart, normal people share stories on Facebook and Twitter that come from suspect sources. They share them with confidence that they are true without ever doing due diligence to check the veracity of the story. Regular, non-crazy people sharing this crap gives it the look of legitimacy and helps it to spread further. Of course, it doesn’t help that we have a president-elect who is trying to erode trust in legitimate news sources while selecting advisers who believe and share the fake news. This means the rest if us need to be better about checking the facts and calling out those who are helping spread the lies.

Weather Hype: I follow a certain local weather guy on Facebook, as do a lot of my friends, who loves snow so much that he can’t be trusted once winter weather arrives. He looks at all of the models and chooses the one that calls for the most snow and runs with that forecast because he has “faith in the flakes”. TV weather people hype storms because they want ratings and weather will get people to tune in to watch the forecast. They care less about accuracy and more about clicks, sales of FITF merchandise and ratings. I prefer a simple, no hype approach to the weather that focuses on the science and not what’s in it for you.

Keyboard Warriors: Finally, the worst thing about the internet. People who have “keyboard courage” who feel the anonymity of the internet gives them the power to attack others online. The people out there posting racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic stuff at people who don’t agree with them because they feel there will be no repercussions. The online bullies who make others’ lives miserable, sometimes to the point that they take their own lives.   The worst of humanity made worse and given a platform to spread misery, anger and hate. People who delight in being trolls and probably feel like the suicides above are “mission accomplished” The internet can be a dark place.

Maybe I should go read a book.

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