How to have a good internet experience in 8 easy steps
#1 - Stop having a bad faith interpretation of every thing you read
If you think something someone said might have been something you disagree with, instead of starting an argument, ask them to clarify or ask them specific questions about what they said
You will be so surprised to find that half the people you assume are being shitty or negative just didn’t phrase what they meant very well
#2 - Learn to block people
It’s free, it’s easy, and it will save your life. Tired of someone tagging your stuff with characters from a fandom you don’t like? Don’t try to control them by telling them not to, just fucking block them. Less upsetting to them, less work for you, less inflammatory, more effective.
#3 - Don’t share your entire backstory with strangers on the internet
No one is entitled to your information - not your pronouns, your age, your sexuality, your location, nothing.
Share the things that you’re comfortable with, but remember that the more you share, the more vulnerable you make yourself to attacks. Like, do not share your triggers in your bio. You are giving abusers and harassers a to do list. Keep that shit private for your own safety.
You can get harassed, you can get stalked, you can get doxxed. Internet safety is real and necessary and the less we care about it, the more we set up future generations to get hurt through the internet
#4 - Learn to say, “It’s none of my business.”
Don’t understand someone’s desire to use neo pronouns? None of your business. Can’t understand why someone is a furry? None of your business. Curious about how someone who talks about being poor can have a Starbucks in that last selfie they posted? None of your damn business.
If you don’t like certain things on your dash, unfollow or block people. If you don’t understand how someone can identify a certain way or do a certain thing or like a certain thing or feel a certain way or literally anything, just remember, it’s none of your business.
If you have genuine questions from a place of good faith (i.e. what inspired you to use neopronouns?/what do you pronouns mean to you?) Go for it. But if you’re only asking questions to draw negative attention to someone or make them feel bad or to other them, you’re just being a nosy asshole.
Minding your own business is also good for you because - and I mean this genuinely - feeling entitled and superior is fucking exhausting. I know, because I’ve been 20 before. You will have a way better time online if you just stop caring about shit that doesn’t concern you
#5 - Learn to lurk
Lurking is frequently seen as a bad thing, like someone who’s lurking is somehow being creepy. The truth is, lurking is a great way to learn. More people should do it.
For example, if you’re new to a community, spend some time consuming content and information from that community without saying anything. This goes for fandoms, queer spaces, disabled spaces, cultural spaces, etc.
Nothing is worse than being in a community for years and someone popping in for the first time in their life and airing their opinions loudly and with zero respect for the space. A great example of this is that post someone made about the leather pride flag. You know the one.
(If you don’t, basically, someone said that the leather pride flag is embarrassing and insulting to the queer community and has no place at pride and then got schooled by hundreds of people about how the leather pride flag is one of the oldest flags in the queer community and leather daddies and leather dykes were the people on the front lines protecting other queer people from cops back in the 80s and 90s)
So basically, learn the history of a community, research your opinions before you decide they’re your opinions, and keep your ignorance to yourself until you’re not ignorant anymore. Not only is this better for community spaces, you won’t have 9000 notifications of people telling you to shut the fuck up
Learning to lurk to educate yourself about a space also makes actually speaking in that space a lot easier
#6 - Stop believing everything you read
I’m not talking about stupid funny stories. Believe them - it’s not hurting anything to get a laugh out of something that may or may not have happened.
I’m talking about news and current events. If you hear that some celebrity did something and there are no receipts, go and find the receipts or discard it. People spread misinformation on here all the damn time. It’s like a game of telephone and, unfortunately, a lot of small creators end up getting slandered and canceled because of it.
#7 - Quit wasting energy on hating random shit
Being annoyed by a certain fandom is one thing, but actively hating things that other people do just because you’re not into it is such a waste of your energy. Not only are you actively putting more negativity into the world, you’re wasting your own time on things that upset you.
Focus your time and energy on the things you do like and quit scrolling through Tumblr user AnimeIReallyHate7648’s discourse blog. You might think it’s fun, but there comes a point where hating something goes from kind of fun to actually obsessive and unhealthy for you as a person.
#8 - Unlearn purity culture
This is a big one guys. What is purity culture? It’s referenced a lot, but I think a lot of you don’t know what it is.
In short, purity culture is when people take many nuanced situations and try to divide them into black and white categories. There’s the Good category and the Bad category. The problem is, life is not in black and white. You can’t put a neat line down the middle between good and bad. This kind of thinking is extremely regressive. Ask any therapist alive and they will tell you that black and white thinking is unhealthy and often a Symptom of Something.
So, what happens is, someone sees something on the good side and spots something they think is morally objectionable in it and says, “this can’t be here, it needs to go to the Bad side.” (Cancel culture). The problem is, people are always on the lookout for anything wrong in the Good - constantly looking for impurities so that they can completely sanitize things and therefore be free of sin. So they will look harder and harder and harder and keep moving things to the Bad side of the line until there’s basically nothing left on the Good side.
This ends up meaning that perfectly good media is canceled because every character in it didn’t make the perfect, right choice every time. It damages media in that it demands characters be completely flawless - something no human is. When a character does something that’s actually problematic, even if the media doesn’t condone the behavior, instead of engaging with it and using it as an opportunity to learn and teach other people why that wasn’t okay, people who subscribe to purity culture throw the baby out with the bathwater, saying the entire piece of media should be canceled because its creators support the problematic action of that character (even if they don’t).
This entire line of thinking is extremely unhealthy, heavily informed by Christianity, infantilizes adults, assumes no one can distinguish fiction from reality, and promotes censorship, which has a long and sordid history.
I could go on about this at length, so if anyone wants a full post, just let me know. But the point is, purity culture is bad for community, it’s bad for media, it’s bad for healthy emotional and intellectual development, it’s bad for interpersonal understanding and empathy, and it’s bad for you.
Unlearn purity culture and you will be a happier person. If all else fails, remember step #4.