As odd as it may be, I can remember the first time I thought to myself, Maybe this internet is bad after all. I was writing Fanboy Rampage!!! at the time, diving into the nascent comics internet every morning for pearls and/or the opportunity to snark and express my disdain and pretense of moral superiority, and that brought with it some interactions that were less than fun. (It’s strange to consider that something I did 17 years ago created enmity that to this day plagues my career, but there we go.)
These days, the idea that the internet isn’t a good thing feels oddly universal and widely accepted. For all the good that it’s done — and I genuinely believe that it has done a lot of good — there’s this general agreement that, really, when it comes down to it, the internet has been a net loss for humanity. And I say that as someone who only has the life that I have right now because of the internet, for better and worse. (Almost entirely better, I’ll be honest.)
I do this thing every Thursday and Friday — realistically, it’s more like “a little bit on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then a chunk of my Thursday and Friday,” but we’ll keep to those main days — for Wired which is officially called “While You Were Offline,” and unofficially called “Internet Week.” It’s basically a round-up of things that people have been talking about online over the past seven days, and in the past two years, it’s become increasingly political because, well, the world.
Every week, I basically search out some of the dumbest, most banal and occasionally some of the most fascinating things that people are talking about on the internet, and every single week, I find myself surprised by just how much of everything is out there. There’s always something (multiple somethings) to feel shitty about, it’s true, but there’s almost always something good to be found, too. Some random act of kindness, almost certainly, someone sending an unexpected message that can change — can save — someone else’s life.
There days, I find myself focusing more on the latter, at least personally. There’s so much shittiness everywhere, and it’s so easy to be cynical and pessimistic. More often than not, I find myself looking for the things that can put me back to the mindset before I realized, Wait, could this communication medium be bad after all.