Crockpot Cakes and the Evil Internet
“Hello. My name is Doreen. I am a Pinterestaholic with an addiction to Facebook. I “text” my peeps and colleagues throughout the day and therefore, I also “instant message” to get an even quicker response—please do not judge me!”
In 2014, social media was a fact of life for the majority of people around the world. I am as guilty (or worse) than most. In fact, I am a hypocrite because I dislike spending the majority of my day using a computer. I really dislike the telephone!. These insidious little machines have become something I’ve come to depend upon (like it or not) to stay in touch with loved ones and assist with my research and writing. I break out in hives every time I get the “black screen of death”, absolutely certain that I will never again access important files or my networking sites! OMG! KWIM?
The computer and smartphone are here to stay. Technology often defines us as a culture, I’m afraid. We “connect” with total strangers online that we would rarely approach in real life. We cultivate friendships, increase professional productivity, and market our ideas and ourselves in the solitude of our homes or office cubicles— without ever making a face to face human connection! We even turn to Google to download an application that creates a personal emoji that looks like an even better version of (what we think) we look like! Why shouldn’t we take advantage of such wonderful technology? What possibly could go wrong?
We “share” interesting stories, incendiary comments and colorful posters with the push of a button. We develop a false sense of community by posting selfies and personal information about our daily activities, accepting friends of a friend of a friend to be our friends without vetting them at all. We learn a new internet language to communicate faster and more efficiently with four letters or less. We hit the “like” button even if we really don’t like the content of the post, fabricating “inclusiveness” with friends and family because it is easier than admitting “I don’t really care one way or another” or “I don’t have time for this crap”.
Sadly, we even count the amount of our “likes”, “links”, “friends” and “followers” like coins in a piggy bank, promoting a façade of popularity amongst our peers…and fooling ourselves to believe these “friends” really care about us. Some of them do, of course, but do they really know you? The answer is no, they only know what you tell them.
With “implied impunity”, we are free to tell lies in our posts, cheat on silly quizzes, and swear at app. games, say or do all sorts of questionable or deviant acts in YouTube attachments that we would never do in public, and then send proof of our bad conduct to millions and millions of users (including children), twenty-four hours a day. All of this we do with anonymity if we so choose. What goes on the web stays on the web.
Obviously I’m not talking about you and me, of course. Though the medical community is aware of the predictable mental health complications of social networking, it is clear those negative issues are not new and cannot be blamed entirely on the internet! In fact, one of the most damaging “complications” of autonomy on various social sites is to attract dysfunctional personalities that use cyber bullying as a means to exert power and control over others.
Danish writer and well-known existentialist thinker, Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), offered a comparison (using basic psychology principles) to explain the “bad apples” and narcissists that give today’s internet a bad name: “There is a form of envy of which I frequently have seen examples, in which an individual tries to obtain something by bullying. If, for instance, I enter a place where many are gathered, it often happens that one or another right away takes up arms against me by beginning to laugh; presumably he feels that he is being a tool of public opinion. But lo and behold, if I then make a casual remark to him, that same person becomes infinitely pliable and obliging. Essentially it shows that he regards me as something great, maybe even greater than I am: but if he can’t be admitted as a participant in my greatness, at least he will laugh at me. But as soon as he becomes a participant, as it were, he brags about my greatness. That is what happens in petty communities.” (www.brainpickings.org/kierkegaard , Oct.13, 2014)
Nefarious critics online do not know us personally, but even so, they feel they have a right to spout whatever vitriol they want with little regard as to how their words and actions affect others. I call them (and others like them) “hit and run artists”. I agree it isn’t easy to ignore hurtful words or actions, but bullying, hacking, internet crime, erroneous information and propaganda are, unfortunately, the aberrant and negative byproduct of a really good idea called social networking.
Try not to take what is said personally, if you can. Criticism and assaults online that impugn the character and integrity of another is, as Kierkegaard suggests, “a form of envy”, a narcissistic behavior that says more about them than you!
The web’s self-appointed deviants and malcontents are very different from those of us who post negative criticism only to offer alternative responses to a topic of interest. Constructive criticism is a very useful way to personally monitor and improve your social networking experience. For the record, I, personally, do not believe (as others might) that the internet is inherently evil. There I’ve said it, IMHO, of course!
I also won’t apologize for enjoying my social networks, and neither should you. I love the jokes, baby pictures and inspirational posters that pop up on my site like gaily wrapped presents on Christmas morning. I want to know what book you are reading or the movie you went to see last night, what you made for dinner or the new DIY you pinned on Pinterest! I appreciate the support from total strangers who like my commentaries, but I learn a lot more from those that don’t agree with me at all! I have the control to allow as much or as little internet communication (or intrusion) into my life as I choose. Social networking, in moderation, is a very useful tool that can be an enjoyable form of entertainment, if you use “educated caution” and good common sense!
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a salted caramel, double chocolate cream cheese swirl cake to bake in a crockpot for dessert tonight that I just saw posted on Pinterest. God knows I don’t have a chance in hell of making my cake look like the picture, but it doesn’t really matter. I have two gallons of tapioca left in the fridge from my last Pinterest epicurean adventure! LOL, TTFN!