Someone is wrong on the internet…



I became that little creature at the keyboard.

I tell you, they are wrong about many things : politics, art, food, music, philosophy, family, travel, relationships, love, values, sex and wrong about you.  They invent and project from their perspective a narrative of you, then you get caught trying to defend yourself .  How does this happen?

You see, I am a self-declared early adopter.     I look for new technologies and jump right in to use them.  Early adopters dare to explore and invent ways to use the internet.  Early adopters look for the toys the clever developers give them and get on the wave for a ride.  Early adopters go with the fluidity of the medium and don’t mind the initial glitches.  Word is that we are only about 13% of the internet world.

Some people look for fashions, we look for new uses of the technology.  My Guccis and Dolce Cabanas are geeky boys and girls who design pretty techno gadgets and clever ways to use the gadgets.  My Coco Channel is Steve Jobs.   Also, I don’t think that Apple like Channel will lose the brand if Steve is gone.

Early adopters have learned that there is a cycle to platforms, applications and technologies they use.   At first it’s fun.  Early adopters populate the place willing to live with glitches,  break barriers and explore.     After about two years, the  regular users, aka the laggards,  move in and change the landscape.   They bust down the doors and of course, they disdain the early adopters.  They find them elitist, cliquish, ornery.  The oddity is that they were attracted to the place because the early adopters made it interesting.  Soon, they make the new place ordinary, regular and dull.

In blogging platforms , they bring along the heap of musty thinking and writing.   They bring what they call their common people touch.  A set of avuncular men and dotting women create a vicious circle.  There is particular distaste for the early adopter woman.  The mediocre conventional male despises women who dare to be early adopters.  The mediocre conventional female, joins with the mediocre men to gain favor as not being a particularly threatening woman.  So, they create a circle that is flirtatious and malignant.  Nothing with mediocre, but sorry, not my cup of internet.

They start calling women who are outspoken, “mean girls“.  Once you get branded a “mean girl”, they give themselves permission to dehumanize you.  The typical idiot will say that the mean girl “hates men”.  In truth, mean girls like me hate banal, unthinking and lazy people.  Mean girls catch you when you are not consistent.  When you copy and paste internet urban myths as original material.  When you are a plagiarist.  When you manipulate the people who obviously have emotional issues with pandering and lies.

Soon you start recognizing the psychological pathologies.  The pathologies create a mutual sustaining society.  For each pathology there is a corresponding pathology that feeds itself from another.

  • You watch as the bipolar obsessive is cajoled by the needy lonely avuncular.
  • The manic hysteric is mothered by the “good ladies” league, given hugs, and “support”.
  • The narcissist seduces the meek.
  • There is one particular type that I cannot find a name for, typically a male.  The male who feels that all the women and minorities took his birthright to the dominance of American society and to the gifts of that society.  Most often, he will often quote the Federalist papers.  The ladies think he is smart.
  • The martyred woman.  She suffers and talks about her suffering.  The lonely man is looking for a martyr, so he gobbles up the tales of woe.
  • The  ladies man.  He can say they same shitty things a mean girl says, but he is loved by the ladies and avuncular for being a dragon slayer.
  • The guy who wants to be Art Buchwald and the woman who wants to be Irma Bombeck.
  • Then you have the psychotic who smears and others cheer.  ” The world is filled with predators and pederasts” she warns.  The chorus joins in and they follow the smears, the booking pictures and tawdry tales  The crusader.  A crusader I tell you, a crusader who along the way tarnishes everyone’s experience.  The obsessed mono topic crusader.  Posting gibberish and gossip. Now you get it, there is a Nancy Grace audience.  Blech.

In time, the early adopters leave.  The landscape becomes soiled with the voices and people they were trying to avoid.  I recently stuck it out at Open Salon thinking that I could buck the cycle.   I lost my early adopter mojo.  It felt like I was rotting intellectually.  I became captive to the  small bandwidth of toxic spew and missed all the cool new things that are being developed by the clever geeky boys and girls.  In defending myself I lost myself.

My advice, never stay in a platform for more than two years.  It’s why the Brits make good television.  They end the run before it becomes stale , like let’s say : Everybody Loves Raymond.  No, no.  As a card-carrying early adopter, I don’t want to be loved by everybody.  Everybody is who I am avoiding via the internet.


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22 thoughts on “Someone is wrong on the internet…

  1. Heh. “good ladies league”. I’m going to have to use that sometime. Almost stayed but glad to have left. New horizons good for soul.

  2. I’d say you are getting your mojo back with this post.

    I was thinking the other day about how much more enjoyable it is to interact with bloggers on their “own” site (turf?), sans the mediocre masses of “community.” With RSS, FB and Twitter notifications and aggregation apps like Flipboard, it is becoming easier to create your own customized community. Maybe you can get one of your Channelesque geeks to create a better aggregation app that will erase the borders between various blog sites. Oh, maybe it’s already out there and you can point me to it. I didnt have much success with Tumblr.

    I’ve always admired your intrepid nature when it comes to the internet. Your interpretation above is dead on. I know I’ve spent many hours, like you, pondering the nature of OS and the personalities there. The fascination of the train wreck has kept me glued to the screen longer than is good, but (((I can’t look away))). I find myself wishing someone would pull the plug, much like I used to wish cigarettes would be made illegal before I managed to quit.

    As funny as some of these personalities are to read about, some of them are quite dangerous–particularly those who seduce the meek, and the good-ladies league who wrongheadedly support that behaviour until they finally get a clue.

    I can live with the so clumsy it can’t be missed plagiarism, but those who continue to defend it in an attaboy kind of way really piss me off. But it’s the really bad and transparent “when will someone love me” poetry that I will miss when I finally give up the habit of OS. I am hoping my brain cells will begin to regenerate too.

    Great post…welcome back to your mojo!

    • Janie, yes, we have to find the alternative way of interacting. Between the new self defined aggregators, feeds, twitter etc, we can find ways to shut out the droning hordes.

      I was going to leave my posts up, but it disgusted me.

      I think Harry the Ghost guy was one of the hateful trolls. There was something about the needy persona, who wanted to be loved by the mean girls but it was hard to not slap him down. Then he would get pathetic.

      He once sent me a draft post about me and then chicken out and did not post it. Nasty vindictive gutter snipe of a man.

      The list is endless.

      My favorite are the ones who don’t have an internal thermometer but want to be on the “right side”. So they like everything.

  3. Clio, excellent analysis. It makes me sad to read it because you are gone and I miss you. OS is not the same — there is so much back slapping and gloating among the mediocre “insecures” there that it makes me almost physically ill. As always, they think they’ve won. Won what I ask?

    • Oh, I saw that god awful Gabby’s post. What a rancid cowardly soul. I do miss the early energy, but it cannot be revived. The luddites are here. Eventually, all bright internet ideas are aimed for the masses, the ones who make all things insipid.

      Yes, I am a snob, that is why I don’t have to hang out with them and would never, ever share a personal emotion or experience. I rather have it float in the ether without readership.

      • The best was the comment by the queen of the good ladies league who dropped the following comment on one of those slimy posts, “Hi everyone, I’ve been busy blah blah blah. I don’t know what’s been going on in my brief absence, but it’s nice to be back and I’ll be posting for fiction Friday soon. {{{Group hug}}}
        ♥R

        Gah…But the comments I really appreciated were the not so subtle ones where someone posts about missing certain bloggers and the commenters ignore the discussion and then list “the ones they miss”.

        And if i see one more paranoid reference to the elusive alters of bloggers long gone or never gone…snore.

  4. “In defending myself I lost myself.” Isn’t that the truth.

    I love this post because, like Janie said, it is your mojo, the voice of Clio that I was always drawn to and at the same time a little intimidate by. Intimidate in a way that made me keep coming back to read what you have to say because it challenged me to think. Sometimes you make me uncertain of what I think, or make me question whether I know enough to form a true opinion. The thing is, you do it without bullying. I don’t always comment when I read something you write because I am not sure what to say except “thanks for presenting your side of the equation, now I’ll be off to figure out my own.”

  5. OS helped me discover I’m a poor internet sport. If I have to always say I’m a loser and an idiot to play nice with others, it’s not the place for me. If you’re in a room, party, home, marriage, friendship, one-night stand or website that makes you feel like you have to play stupid to be respected, you’re probably in a cult.

    Long live The Mean Girls. Rock on, Sister.

  6. How can I not weigh in? (Gives Clio a high 5). When independence, freewill and intelligent thought have all been traded, compromised or gambled away for something frilly, we’ve lost not just our moment but our momentum.

    They will never, ever understand it is not about being right or wrong, it is just about being strong. Clio, you are steely yet flexible. What a gift they pushed out.

    My wimmin….love you all.

  7. Sad, but very very true Stellaa. It has been very easy to stay away lately. OS has really taught me what I didn’t learn being an outsider/geek in high school – the leaders of the social cliques are almost always sad, flawed and ultimately boring people. It’s good to be on the outside, where stuff actually happens. And in my case, to be invisible enough that the insane mob runs right past me.

  8. It was peculiar for me, as I’ve been a member of “community” sites before. I’m a grown-up, I understand things change and I’m not a Luddite. But the pain that I felt watching that site go up in flames…. I thought for a long time that I could ignore the sniping, the plagiarism and the psychobabble. I was wrong, though – there comes a point where the behavior borders on the criminal and you can’t ignore that. You have to take a stand, and that usually means you wind up on the outside again because the chorus of Roman peasants would much rather watch the lions feed than actually stand up against the games. Bread and circuses have come ’round again.

    I’ve always admired your mind, Stellaa ( I find that I still feel compelled to call you Stellaa – I hope you don’t mind). I find that even when I strongly disagree with you, you’ve made me think about some topic that’s worth deep consideration. I can’t say that about everyone. 😀

    • Bill, what is funny I always like the original Kerry idea that OS is not a social networking site. But, it slowly became that rather than a writing or commenting site.
      It becomes hard to criticize your “posse”. Then there was the obligatory reading demands. Yes, I love you and I think you are a wonderful person, but I am not into what you write.

      Finally, your kind words humble me.

  9. Well, well, look who’s all over here at Web Flaneur’s garden party… I’ve always admired your willingness to “jump right in” and “get on the wave for a ride” Clio.

    OS is still an open question for me. I’m no longer a slavish devotee to its siren call as I was in the early days; I’ve hardly put a half dozen new posts there in the past year — but my posts at OS remain among the top things that come up in a Google search for me and — as a platform — I think it’s been something of a success.

    I wonder what it would be like if so many of the people who made blogging there an interesting experience in the early days hadn’t given up on it.

    • Lonnie, it depends on your definition of success. Yes, it does get the Google mileage. The problem is as a blogger what do you want to do?

      I found in time it became static because of the limitation on what you can do with the tools we were given. Now there are some pretty toys out there, I am curious how they can get the mileage.

      And the garden party has some of my favorite online voices. They have a certain panache.

      • I agree completely. The OS UI is one of the most horrific, limiting things I have ever tried to use in my life. At one point I thought I’d found good workarounds to make blogging there less of a headsplitting experience, but – no. WordPress, otoh, is pretty user friendly.

        And yes, weez loves panache.

  10. Great post, Stellaa.

    I’ve always felt like such a bad OS “citizen.” There are only about a half-dozen people I read or interact with. I never seem to know about the latest drama. If I belong to any of the cliques, it’s news to me. If people are bitching about me on their sites, I never hear about it. I read comments on my posts once in a while, comment back once in a while, and comment on other peoples’ posts every other blue moon. Bad, bad citizen!

    But I’m ok with that. My goal, ultimately, is to get my views and my writing in front of as many eyeballs as possible, and that’s my only real metric of success. Some petty little comment from the peanut gallery doesn’t bug me when I know, for example, that Emily and Kerry think it’s good enough to elicit nasty comments from the much meaner peanut gallery at Salon. It that sense, it’s still a pretty good platform for me, so, in spite of occasional reservations and some really long blog-vacations, at the moment my attitude is that I’m going to stick it out until a) something better comes along, or b) they shut off the lights.

  11. I will forever be indebted to OS for opening my eyes. Since the early 90s I had been BBSing and using the internet to meet other writers. I majored in English and started with the university BBS. I thought it was this little sorority/fraternity of people who took care of each other and egged each other on with constructive criticism. I trusted too easily and brought home strays often.

    At one point in 1995, I got together with about a dozen other BBSers in Little Rock to rebuild our SysAdmin’s house after it burned down. It was a heady time. There was a lot of pot.

    Anyway, I thought that’s what OS was, and by association, the rest of the internet. At first, that’s exactly how it felt. Then I was given a very painful lesson in people not being what they seem. I thought if I was kind enough, hospitable enough and loving enough that everyone would love me back in equal measure. I had never had reason to believe otherwise and for a year and a half after joining, I had never said a cross word to anyone on the internet, much less on OS. I was proud of that.

    I’m not exaggerating when I say that my best friends came from OS. I also learned just how very hard some people are willing to screw you to fill the void in their soul. Not just trolls – people you love and accept as extended family and bring into your real-world home. I left OS, not when I was hurt, but when I found myself turning into one of those people. Being screwed over and beaten up had created my own void that I was often contemplating verbal violence to fill. I had become what I hated. That’s when I left. I had to save the part of me I had gone there to share.

    I treasure finding the people I did there – I will also never be able to approach the world with the generosity I did in August 2008 when I first posted there.

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