I used to think that the greatest crime of the internet was that it allows insecure teenagers to broadcast their weird coping mechanisms and LOLRANDOM phases to the world at large, forever chronicling the most awkward phase of every person’s life in indelible ink. Somewhere out there, I’m very certain, there exists a record of thirteen year old me getting into a heated and emotional argument about why Darth Maul sucks. That’s my albatross.
Now that I’ve had a chance to watch the internet grow, I believe that its greatest crime is facilitating a means through which these same teenagers can be validated and praised for coping mechanisms they need to grow out of eventually. To put it simply, on the internet weirdness encourages weirdness. In some cases, that’s wonderful. Some people need to be encouraged in their weirdness in order to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Some people need no fucking encouragement to keep doing the weird shit they do, weird shit that they would otherwise rightfully leave behind once a dark time in their life passed. That dark time is usually middle school, often high school, sometimes college. Sometimes it lasts until you get the fuck out of your hometown. But it ends and the silly shit you do to make it hurt less needs to end with it or you’ll find your circle of friends slowly dwindling to those who do the same weird things and that is a horrible fucking fate.
What happens to kids (and insecure people in general) on the internet is a horrible fucking spiral of positive reinforcement from:
-Legit crazy peeps
-People who want friends so badly they will support anything you do or say
It is an inexorable shit tornado of positive reinforcement you should never, ever receive from anyone except the best friend you share your binder of fanfic with at sleepovers. It’s hard to explain the process because it’s so subtle and insidious and it’s not like people plot and plan to make you stay weird forever. They just want to be your friend and they’re so awkward and socially stunted that reeling you into the Crazy Pit is the only way they can conceive of achieving that goal.