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stuff that gets me worked up online

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

stuff that gets me worked up online

how long have we had the internet for? some readers may have been born in an age where looking up something academic, or purely for entertainment/voyeuristic purposes came as second nature. those closer to my age group will remember dial up internet and waiting long minutes, if not hours, for something to download. oh, and of course, we used to have to wait for off-peak telephone rates, make sure no one tries to make a call in the meantime, and we had to be stuck to one place for hours since there was no wireless connectivity.

my, my, how things have changed. 

but with the greater availability of the internet, came also the greater availability of things that make my blood boil. a few cases in point here. now, before you start reading, i'm pretty sure that i've fallen victim to one or more of these horrors. so please don't think that i'm standing on some moral high ground here. i'm just saying it as it is, kicking myself every now and again in the process.

1. intrnt spk / grammar and spelling mistakes

if there is one thing that really gets me hot under the collar is incorrect grammar and spelling. are we really that busy not to afford to re-read an email / status update / blog post to make sure that we've written it in correct grammar and with no spelling mistakes? we can't always rely on spell-check you know - if you type 'form' instead of 'from', spell-check will be none the wiser.  and what about all those 'lol', 'omg', 'gn', 'ttyl', 'tltr' and the whole host of other internet slang which keep mushrooming? personally i find all of this highly disrespectful towards the intended reader.  it's like telling someone 'look, i've sent you a message, but first you have to break the enigma code to find out what i have to tell you.'
'laughing so hard i dropped my taco'

2. over-sharing

i'm not talking about life events which shake one out of their being - new relationships, births, deaths, marriages are situations which one feels they would want to share with all those around them, be they positive or negative.  it is natural for humans to reach out, and today's online world makes it easier than ever. but does one really need to share their latest snack? i've seen facebook status updates on the lines of 'eating my pavesi crackers with philadelphia cheese, while listening to capital radio'.  erm, who cares? or a status update about how hungover one is on a sunday afternoon? well, serves you right. we've all seen your photos from the previous night instantly shared during your drunken stupor, anyway.  i think one rule of social media should be 'if you have nothing good - or intelligent - to say, don't say anything.'

3. all those glamour shots

once upon a time, i bought an slr and i attended a few courses in photography.  i thought that one day, after long years of studying and practicing, i would possibly have a little studio where i would take a few artistic pictures that would please me primarily, and serve as an artistic vehicle for any social message i'd want to convey.  because of time and other exigencies, that dream has temporarily been shelved. anyway, what i would love to produce photographically would in any case jar with the plethora of highly photoshopped, glamour shots that pollute my facebook feed.  i can't see another 'baby in rambo gear' shot or 'glamour girl beach' shot with her privates barely covered, or family shot with children looking as though they're holding their own superimposed image in their hand.  luckily there are the tasteful ones, and these are the ones i'm hanging onto - you know who you are.  any one of those who excels in the glamour/baby/beach/bodybuilding/awkward family photo categories, i'm afraid it's time to say goodbye.

4. we're all photographers

and while we're on the subject of photography, where is the humility that makes a true artist? having an slr or an iphone/smartphone for that matter, and a working knowledge of instagram or web-based tools such as picmonkey, pixlr or photoshop itself doesn't make one a photographer.  oh, and placing a huge watermark on your image for fear of it being stolen or used without any credit doesn't make you a photographer either.  as i said earlier, i took a few courses and during that time, i had got onto the watermarked signature bandwagon. soon enough i realised i was kidding myself.  with half a course done and only a few hours of practice under my sleeve how did i have the audacity to sign my photos as though i was some master of the art? i'm not saying it's not ok to share pictures: far from it.  we all know that you get more traffic to your facebook account by sharing photos rather than just status updates.  but don't image that that blurry iphone shot of your girlfriend standing next to the eiffel tower is the 21st century's equivalent of the mona lisa, please.

5. online shopping

now this is going to come across as quite strange for all of you who know my almost addictive dependence on online shopping.  but there are two things that irk me about it.  big fluffy time.  (a) finding something truly unique is a real chore.  most online stores seem to be clones of one another - fair enough, if tartan is the trend du jour, then the landing page will be full of tartan inspired dresses, skirts and accessories.  but do they all really have to look the same? and (b) it is so easy to do and to get lost in it.  not having physical contact with your cash makes it so much easier to lose track of your spending.  it's so easy to place 20 items in the 'save for later' wishlist and adding half of them to the bag without actually counting how much they're amounting to. oh, and you need that dress by the weekend? add an extra charge for tracked, express shipping. in for a penny, in for a pound.

6. all those viral videos

there are some good, truly heart-warming and inspirational videos that thanks to social media (let's face it, the internet has practically become dominated by social media) go 'viral' or in other words spread like wild fire with millions of people sharing them over and over again.  i have no problem as such with these 'good' virals (even though i get tired of them relatively easy).  but with the good, come the bad and the ugly.  that awkward looking guy who's producing apparently expensive music videos in the hope of becoming the next justin bieber? that 4-year old kid singing sinatra's 'my way' whose mom hopes he'll be the next bieber? what about all the trolling (now that's another 'internet' word i get all iffy about) and commenting almost to the verge of cyber-bullying? yes, if someone has placed a video online, then they should be ready for the praise as well as the parody.  but a little courtesy (by keeping schtum on your abusive comments) or constructive criticism never hurt anyone.

7. cookies and adsense 

from what i understand about cookies, these are little monsters somewhere in the great interweb which follow what we've searched, what we've read, what we've shared ... anything we've ever done online. adsense, on the other hand are other little monsters which bombard us with adverts based on the web content we're browsing, the same web content which is being stored by the cookie monsters.  these little monsters work in cahoots to invade our personal online spaces. so it shouldn't come as a surprise that all the ads i seem to get on my pages relate to (a) online stores, (b) diet tricks and (c) travel.  sometimes these monsters do make my life easy since they give me the page straight on the youtube video i'd be watching, reminding me i have to book my next work or holiday trip.  but at the same time, it does give me that augmented sense of 'big brother is watching'.  but then again, when wasn't he ever?
my kind of cookie. any time. 

ok, so that was my weekly rant of sorts.  usually, these tirades come more naturally on a monday morning, but hey, every day is a good day for a rant! what are your pet peeves on the 'net? let me know xx

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