September 24, 2018

Further Bittersweet-ness

Note: Here's the first post on this subject.

Remember when folks used the term "information superhighway" to describe the Internet? Probably not. (I know, I just dated myself but hang on!) In the early 00's, I used to riff off of this as I attempted to explain the Internet to older church leaders:
Think of the Internet as a network of neighborhoods. It's about building self-regulated, context-specific connections. As you drive through these neighborhoods, you eventually find your cul-de-sac; that spot where you build connections with people that are into your niche. Whether that's renovating old homes, collecting My Little Pony figures, making homemade candles ... whatever! (Tangent: what does it say about my psyche that I just came up with those 3 things off the top of my head?!) Everyone is free to drive through any given block or neighborhood but if someone comes and parks in your cul-de-sac and doesn't engage the community, isn't into your specific niche, then it gets weird.
In other words, the norm wasn't finding people who said, "No" to what you offered. The norm was finding people that said, "Yes!" to what you had to offer. We were all seeking out those that said "Yes" to whatever we were making. You didn't "log on" to say "No" to other people's stuff. That was irregular and most communities let such trolls know it was time for them to leave. "Buh-bye!" For most, you were online to build a community with others that shared your interests. The Internet was about finding the few people that said "yes" to whatever it is you were into/building/making/sharing.

These days, the Internet seems to be a space where too many people experience it as a space where people deliberately seek out others in order to say "No" to whatever they're offering. Trolls bombard a young woman sharing make-up tips with slanderous comments. Someone puts their music online for the first time only to bet with mockery. Here's what I want to say about this: Screw them!

I don't think the rules have changed. I'm here for whoever says, "Yes". Naysayers can move along. Use this digital landscape to connect with those that say "Yes" to whomever you are and whatever you have to offer. You do not need to concern yourself with those that say "No." You are not here for them. Yes, the Internet is evidence of what James talks about in his book. Words can hurt. So, do whatever you need to in order to regulate this. Turn off comments on your YouTube channel or blog. Block trolls. Ask someone to hold you accountable to not read the reviews of your e-book on Amazon. Whatever you need to do to stay brave, keep being yourself and keep sharing that beautiful thing you're making for the world.

We are all better for it. So, thanks for offering it!

Other posts (kind of) on the subject:

Photo by Robin Worrall on Unsplash

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