December 30, 2008

Impotent Stupidity

If there's one thing I've grown to appreciate about the Internet over the years, it's the false sense of importance people build up around themselves when they first experience the thrill of free online expression. It doesn't matter if they blog, or post on forums, or carve off a MySpace or FaceBook account, or what; A LOT of people take the Internet far more seriously than they probably should.

I've been guilty of dabbling in the phenomenon, I'll admit. Back when I was once linked to by Wonkette, and another time when I was being mocked by the Daily Show, I can admit to feeling a bit more popular/influential than I was.

I bring all this up for a reason, sort of. Remember back when I exposed David Hanners as a humorless douche?

*thinking back* Good times. . . good times.

Well, in order to adequately display his utter doucheness, I first had to create an online petition so I could parody a different petition, which meant I had to register as a user of the petition site. As a guy who absolutely HATES registering for anything online, you can understand just how determined I was.

Anyway, the whole underlying silliness of the petition site was that ANYBODY could create a petition, and ANYBODY could sign the petition using ANYBODY'S name, over and over and over again. As petition engines go, it was pretty much the most useless thing ever conceived. It was laughable right down to its core.

Well, in order to register for the petition site, I had to provide an e-mail address; thankfully, I maintain several "junk" e-mail addresses specifically for filtering the nonsense that comes my way after registering for something online. I check those junk e-mails very infrequently, mostly to ensure they're at least still active.

Today, I happened to check the e-mail address that I used when registering for the online petition site, and I was stunned by the sheer, choking number of petitions people have created for any number of pet causes. There was a petition to stop Japanese whaling, and another petition to stop wailing Japanese. There were so many freakin' petitions, it was frankly sort of sad. Keep in mind, these are completely USELESS petitions; they accomplish absolutely NOTHING. I could go out there an create a petition calling for an end to table salt, and people would freakin' "sign" it.

Which all comes back to the whole false sense of importance the Internet engenders in so many people. The petition site is just one example of how people feel they're accomplishing something on the Web by basically expending the bare minimum of effort.

I guess I'm not sure if all this minimum impotent effort being put into nonsensical causes and self-expression is a good thing or a bad thing, or just a thing.

But, man, it sure seems like a massive waste of time.

Posted by Ryan at December 30, 2008 02:40 PM | TrackBack
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