The Dark Side of the Internet

I posted this link a few days ago via Twitter, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to put it up here. Thank you to John Wick for drawing my attention to it.

This is a 10-minute segment of a longer interview with Kevin Smith, where he talks about his realization that it’s OK to ignore the bullshit that people say about you on the internet. It’s a lesson that sounds easy, sure — but speaking from experience, it really isn’t. We’re sort of hard-wired to defend ourselves — the trick (which I’m still trying to perfect) is in understanding that the only people who care about what’s being said are 1) the one doing the shit-talking, and 2) you — and you can remove yourself from that equation.

Worth watching, and, speaking personally, something that I really need to work harder on putting into practice.

I need to remember to heed the message of the T-Shirt:

8 Replies to “The Dark Side of the Internet”

  1. Yeah, I came to this realization a little less than a year ago. I realized that I was spending energy on people who are just assholes and not on people who are genuinely supportive. I’ve been trying to flip that equation since.

  2. I don’t know — I take that more as “XKCD, as always, is nearly insufferably smug in one panel.” The point I was trying to get at here is that it *sounds* easy, but really isn’t. Someone being “wrong on the internet” is all well and good, but when they’re being “wrong” directly ABOUT YOU, your family, your career, etc., it’s a bit harder to walk away from that.

  3. True.

    XKCD is rarely anything but smug, but the brevity of that particular strip allows the reader to fill in the blanks and provide the context.

    At a certain level, you (as a generality, not you specifically) have either got to admit that you enjoy the notoriety, or you’ve got to withdraw from the source of agitation.

  4. The incident he’s talking about was actually on the Rotten Tomatoes boards back in 2005-2006. I actually got to see it play out in “real time.” The board haters rose up to smite him, then later wondered why he never came back to take more abuse.

    I think part of the trick is learning to distinguish between the people who actually care about what you do but still might be critical, and those to whom you could never prove yourself right. The former might offer something of value. The latter never will, because they only care about you or your work as a punching bag.


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