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Social Anxiety… On the Internet

As I sit here, supposedly working on some busy work that my boss gave me to keep me from becoming bored and dangerous, I can’t help but turn to the internet to preserve what little sanity I have left. So I find myself on twitter, tweeting away with some of my online friends and having a good time, when it happens again.

I kill the internet.

Not in a literal “stabbed it in the eye” kind of way, but in that same way that you can say something at a party causing everyone to stop talking and stare at you like you’re either the devil, or you’ve grown a third head. I can’t see their reactions, so I know that it is entirely inside my head. That means I’m 100% bonkers-crazy.

Most of this problem comes from a very simple place, I have no internal filter, and am a horrible human being. You would think that the simple act of having to type 140 characters, a limit that is FAR more concise than I have ever been verbally, would cause me to put some thought into, “why am I saying this?”

It doesn’t.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I feel this way, though. Over the last decade or so, people have bent over backwards to come up with definitions for emotional problems that don’t exist, or worse, have glossed over the symptoms of real disorders on WebMD and decided for themselves that they have them. They use them as an excuse to not learn or change.

Me, I am accepting the fact that I am a giant tool.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want to be a tool. I want to not trip all over my own words and feel like a dick when I say something that hurts someone’s feelings.

The internet has been a haven for the socially awkward for the last 20 years. That isn’t the case anymore. My grandmother has a Facebook account. She doesn’t use it, and my father actually set it up for her, but she has one. Internet is no longer a cyberhaven for jackholes.

I think what that really means, is that it’s time to grow up, and learn how to not be dicks. The internet gives us the ability to learn these things without the danger of being stabbed with a pencil by a kid named Deke. We should look at social networking sites as training wheels for the real world.

That doesn’t mean don’t say what’s on your mind. It doesn’t mean don’t stand up for your convictions. Standing behind what is right is never a dick move.

What makes something dickish, is when you say something for absolutely no reason. No meaning.

Seems like the easiest way to avoid being a dick is to not say anything that doesn’t have meaning behind it.

That’s gonna be a hard lesson for a guy like me. I like gibberish.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

11 thoughts on “Social Anxiety… On the Internet”

  1. Tracy Mangold says:

    Don ‘t change. You are most certainly not “a tool”. you are refreshing in that there is no cover, no facade, no fake storefront. you are simply you.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      I’m not sure that anyone should ever cling to who they are just because it is comfortable. Change is inevitable, and I can at least recognize which direction is the positive one for me. πŸ˜€

      Don’t worry, though. My family has spent far too much time in my life making sure I would always stay true to myself. I don’t think I could ever stop that.

      Maybe I could just learn to be a little less abrasive. πŸ™‚

  2. Brandee Baltzell says:

    I have a feeling that it wasn’t anything you said. I know that with me, I tend to dip in and out of Twitter, depending on how busy I am during the day. I may not always see something or respond immediately. You don’t offend me. I was cracking up over the back & forth with you and Yeti. You guys are brutally funny, and make me laugh out loud. So, like Inky said…don’t change. We love you just the way that you are!

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      It probably wasn’t anything I said, it just feels like that sometimes because my brain is crazy. πŸ™‚

      Interesting note: Yeti_detective and I have been trying to do a podcast for, oh, a decade or so (at least since our Senior Year of High School). We just aren’t smart enough to edit them.

      1. Brandee Baltzell says:

        The world can rest easy for another night! πŸ™‚

        1. M.A. Brotherton says:

          Don’t rest too easy, ‘I’m always watching.

    2. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Important side note: You cannot believe anything he attributes to me. He’s a cunning liar. πŸ˜‰

      1. Brandee Baltzell says:

        Oh, I’m sure! I can definitely see a pattern here.

        1. M.A. Brotherton says:

          I have this worry that people won’t recognize the difference between things I actually said that he attributed to me, and things he made up with his crazy brain and attributed to me. I don’t know if I’d rather be discredited by the horrible or unrecognized for my wit.

  3. Brothertondnr says:

    Yes, your grandmother has a facebook account that she doesn’t use because she doesn’t even own a computer right now, but we are working on that. Believe it or not she does have the internet hooked up at her house though.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      πŸ˜€ See, a lot of people can claim, “My mom reads my blog.” I’m fortunate enough to be able to claim, “My aunts read my blog!” πŸ˜€

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