February 03, 2009

Your Guide to the Internet Caste System

The Internet today—whether you realize it or not—consists of a fairly well-established caste system. This social stratification of the Web occurred gradually, and most people remain blissfully unaware of its existence. Therefore, I've taken it upon myself to compile an easy-to-learn guide so you too can learn the Internet caste system.

At the top of the Internet caste system, there are the Webmasters. Webmasters are the elite class of the Web, consisting of people who can create and maintain their very own Web pages, whether for personal or professional use. These people know all about HTML and XML and all sorts of other coding languages that allow them to design and maintain Web pages that aren't complete, useless junk. Webmasters are generally held in extremely high regard online, and they can actually make money and command the respect of people and businesses that require their services.

Just below the Webmasters are the bloggers. While blogging itself may have peaked sometime back in 2005, millions of bloggers remain active to this day, writing about anything from politics to the daily bowel activities of the family cat. Depending on how rudimentary the blogging engine, bloggers may have some of the skills and coding languages prized by Webmasters, but without the flair for design or financial willingness to maintain a pure, independent Web presence. Bloggers are afforded a certain mix of admiration and disdain in the online world, depending on how many people they manage to annoy or impress. Generally, blogging remains a purely individual pursuit, although some blogs can catch national and even international attention, allowing them to profit in some cases.

Below the bloggers, we find the social networkers. Social networkers currently represent the saturated middle class ranks of the Internet. Social networks such as FaceBook and MySpace tend to dominate this class. Additionally, sites like Twitter exist that limit your online musings to 140 characters or less, in a sort of online ADD alternative. Social networkers build. . . social networks. . . of friends, family members and mutual acquaintances, and they keep their audiences entertained with regular missives about what they ate for dinner or how they're feeling right now. The social networker class is also known for uploading tons of amateur photography and video and having almost no clue about something known as "copyright law."

Nearing the bottom of the Web caste system are the Internet commenters. This is a very specific caste group that tends to obsessively comment on news articles, on blogs, or both. While it can be argued most such commenters aren't certifiably insane, those commenters who are insane tend to overshadow their sane commenting counterparts. Insane Internet commenters can actually be quite decent in real life, but online they regularly come across as obsessive, pseudo-intellectual, pant loads. They're generally arrogant, half-informed, intrusive, abusive and my research shows they tend to have a heavy, gamey smell to them. Insane Internet commenters are best to be ignored, as responding to them seems to further fuel their nonsensical blatherations.

Finally, there's the pariah class of the Internet caste system. These are the YouTube commenters. This is a class so vile and useless, to even intermingle accidentally with them can threaten to mark you as forever unclean. Your typical YouTube commenter has no detectible spelling prowess whatsoever, often misspelling as much as every single word in their comment. To a YouTube commenter, "grammar" is something you call your mother or father's mother, as in: "I went to see my Grammar Rhodes the other day." Despite their untouchable online status, YouTube commenters are a very prolific class, with some of the more popular YouTube comment threads showing submissions numbering in the thousands.

Thankfully, the Internet caste system is not absolute; there is room for mobility. A social networker can also be a blogger or even a Webmaster, and even insane Internet commenters can aspire to be bloggers.

Unfortunately, I have to report, YouTube commenters will never be anything other than YouTube commenters. Seriously, those people just suck.

Posted by Ryan at February 3, 2009 01:21 PM | TrackBack

That reminds me: I have to go friend you on Facebook. Poop fart poop fart.

Posted by: LearnedFoot at February 3, 2009 01:29 PM

Er...which Ryan Rhodes are you?

Posted by: LearnedFoot at February 3, 2009 01:34 PM

I'm the bald Ryan Rhodes playing mini-golf.

Posted by: Ryan at February 3, 2009 01:38 PM

An evolutionary step still lower than the You Tube commenter is the family member who "just got an e-mail account," who then forwards every bogus e-mail hoax, old joke, and chain letter to everyone they know and/or are related to. After all, it's new to them so it MUST be new to you.

Posted by: Bogus Doug at February 4, 2009 12:28 PM
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