The Internet is a Schoolyard. Choose Your Corner Wisely
I noticed something going on around my circle of friends, workmates and the people I meet (wherever you meet people these days): Wherever I go, there is always somebody talking about deleting their social media accounts. Or about deleting a social media app from their mobile device. Or at least about not spending so much time on social media platforms. And the reason for this is always the same: Too many idiots. Too many trolls, too much hate, ignorance and stupidity. It seems like more and more people around me are fed up with Facebook, Twitter, social media in total or even the Internet itself.
And I know exactly what they mean. Sometimes it causes me physical pain to scroll down my Facebook newsfeed.
But, I don’t think, you can or should condemn the whole Internet or every online social interaction just because of some annoying platforms.
It’s basically like we’re back in the schoolyard again. You need to find your place and people to have a good time during lunch break.
If you don’t want to hang out with the tough guys, don’t hang around behind the gymnasium. Or If you’re not into funky cigarettes, don’t go to the half pipe.
And the same goes for the Internet. If you’re annoyed by the people on Facebook, go somewhere else. There are plenty of places to have fun. I personally enjoy spending time on 9GAG.com a lot.
And not just because of the content, but because of the community.
And to make it clear right away, I’m aware this kind of community is not unique to this platform. Buzzfeed, Reddit and others are pretty similar.
But I kind of went with 9GAG...
Because to me, the 9GAG community has lots of attributes that are essential for a healthy society.
The core is of course a huge bunch of comedians, cracking jokes in all kinds of flavours. An inner circle based on inside jokes, dank memes, irony and sarcasm.
What’s special about this: the general consent of what’s seen as funny or good content seems pretty accurate within the community. If you post bullshit, you steal (badly) or you’re just fishing for compliments, you get busted pretty fast and pretty bad.
But if your posts are funny, interesting, personal or simply authentic, you get the upvotes you deserve.
But the 9GAG community is more than just some funny characters. The amount of insightful comments are amazing. Regardless if somebody found a gun from the 18th century in the attic or a strange looking bug in the garden – there is always accurate information given, which then is very much appreciated.
Furthermore, it seems that all the difficult topics of our time such as sexism, racism, capitalism, gender and whatsoever are discussed on 9GAG, and are treated in a more respectful and progressive way than I’ve experienced in any other social media platforms.
In the end it’s a corner in the schoolyard with lots of humorous, self-mocking, video gaming, sarcast-ing, animal-loving, Leo DiCaprio-supporting, Emma Watson-worshipping people that make this place one of the better ones on the Internet.
Altogether, you could say, 9GAG is my kind of people.
And maybe yours as well?
Ramon Scheffer is Assistant Creative Director, Copy at Havas Düsseldorf