How to Navigate the Internet
Episode One: Blogs, Chat Rooms & Forums
Wow! The Internet is a very large and strange place! From the minute you type your first web address into your browser of choice (Vista users should read here: From the minute you are raped by your browser and your first web address is selected for you), an entire world of possibilities opens before your eyes!
As one of the co-founders of the Internet; a title I happily share with Al Gore, I wanted to give you a proverbial ‘yellow brick road’ to follow as you begin your exciting journey.
In this lesson, we’ll be talking about blogs (or pretentious online diaries), Chat Rooms (gathering areas for unsavory types) and Forums (classification unknown).
Blogging took the Internet by storm a few years ago. As of June 2008, 185,620,000 blogs have been created. (Number furnished by Technorati, a leading source all things blog related.) Mind you, most of these quickly produced websites collect junk information and/or links in an attempt to sell you the latest male enhancement formulas or promote weight loss in a bottle. Once you sort through all the ads for Russian Viagra, you can find some great online diaries created by some of the most intelligent and popular people in today’s culture.
Chat rooms have been around long before 1997. With the smashing success of America Online, chat rooms were easily accessible and became very popular. I still remember my first experience in a middle-school library. He was from Florida and was 32. I was naive.
Keep in mind, as the Internet has evolved, chat rooms continue to be seen in negative light. Named by numerous news outlets as a breeding ground for the world’s unsavory and dark souls, you’d probably be better off not traversing these darker parts of the world wide web. If you do decide to go exploring, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you land in some chat room dedicated to goth furries exploring sexuality with bacon products. (Oh the
memories horror!) If you don’t recognize any of the nouns I’ve just mentioned in that last sentence, save for the word, “bacon”, consider yourself lucky.
Forums have been around longer than both of these, in the form of bulletin board services. They’ve adapted as the Internet has grown, taking on new life. You’re not anyone these days unless you have a forum linked directly from your website/blog. It doesn’t really matter if your readership consists of your mom and her blind cousin from Alabama. Comment sections on your blog are just not adequate enough to delve into the world of discussion. Forums allow those pertinent conversations related to your latest posts to happen. Even if your latest entry consists of a video on cheese wheels, forums are a great addition to any Internet venture.
Keep in mind, some of the more exclusive forums have many members and are not usually accessible to the general public. It takes a true web connoisseur to allow public access into his/her forum. Once you do create a user name and password, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain personality archetypes. This will help you ultimately decide what type of jackass/pushover you would like to become.
Samples of Forum/Commenter* Archetypes
“The Yes Man/Woman” – This person will agree with the original blog/forum author at all times. It doesn’t matter if the OP (Original Poster) has contradicted him or herself repeatedly either, as this agreeable man/woman will most certainly add their two cents to the thread using words/phrases such as, “awesomesauce”, “absolutely”, “totally”, “I couldn’t have said it better, myself”.
“The Defender” – In league with the “yes man/woman”, these personalities will usually come to the defense of the original poster/blog owner no matter what their relationship. Common phrases/words used in dialogue. “#53 is so full of poo. How dare he come here and make you justify your answers with facts!”, “I can’t speak for the OP, but that dorkwad who just said he was wrong is a douche.”, “His/her credentials clearly prove that he/she is a intellectual beast worthy of membership in MENSA.”
“The Apologist” – Despite that the OP had just written a post sanctioning the slaying of kittens through copious amounts of masturbation, “The Apologist” will make excuses as to why the OP (or other commenters agreeing with the original post) said or do the things they do. It doesn’t matter if the OP has stated plainly that he likes to murder small animals by ejaculating continuously, “The Apologist” will still come up with his/her forensic analysis of said OP’s childhood or current economical/metaphysical/physical state. “I know what he says is cruel, but if his mother didn’t beat him, he wouldn’t want to kill kittens by manhandling the trouser snake.”
“The Fence-Sitter” – “You know, both sides have a point, but I’m not going to label myself here. Labels are so “yesterday”. ” This person will make a habit of being unable to voice a steady opinion on anything at any point during the conversation. Even with polarizing statements such as “Murder is good.”, or “Intercourse is bad.”, this person will continually hmmm and haw their way to oblivion.
“The Wikipedia Bitch” – In an effort to sound smart, this person will grab a topic, copy relevant information from an online encyclopedia source (most commonly Wikipedia) and paste it in the thread. Most real scholars agree this behavior exists due to the fact that this particular person can not form his own ideas about things, but longs for Internet social acceptance. Unfortunately for the “bitch”, it has the opposite effect. No one likes a ‘know-it-all’ and there will always be one rebuttal to the info-dump stating that Wikipedia is riddled with an insane amount of errors.
“The Troll” – Unable to stay on topic, this person will normally take a subject, extract relevant information only pertaining to themselves, run with it and then usually finish off his comment/forum post with the word, “Fucktards”. Trolls are known to sit at their computers drinking energy drinks, eating snacks and continuously refreshing a comment/forum thread, waiting to pounce on the next person to comment despite its relevance. They usually will not post under their real names, usually using monikers that will incite even more trouble. Many bloggers have disabled anonymous posting thanks to this particular breed of jackass. This condition is currently under consideration to be added to the list of ‘mental illnesses’ as described by the APA. The only ways to rid a forum/comment troll is to block their IP, stop feeding them and threatening to beat them with a proverbial imaginary tool such as a ‘clue-by-four’, a ‘shovel of doom’, or a kick to their epeen. (Internet penis). Simple logic will not work with these people.
As mentioned, these are only a sample of Internet archetypes commonly found on the Internet.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first few steps into the exciting world of online communication. Next week we’ll be talking about ways on how to protect yourself from e-mail scams from Nigeria, why it’s not so smart to click on unexpected links from friends during an instant messaging session, and why sending naked pictures of yourself to your long distance boyfriend/girlfriend you met while playing World of Warcraft is also something to avoid with extreme prejudice.
*Common personality archetypes are seen on both forums and in the comment sections of blogs. It would be very useful to know in to which category you may fall.