Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Thick Skin

The internet is a pretty incredible resource.

Chances are that you, reading this post right now, are hundreds, even thousands of miles away from where I sit typing it. Right now, I could open up Skype and be capable of talking to someone on the opposite side of the world to me in real time. Or else I could open up Netflix and stream movies at a rate that would have been considered nigh-impossible a decade ago.

For every silver-lining, however, there's always the cloud.

Because whilst the internet is pretty incredible, it's also full of assholes.

Write a post about movies, and some guy will emerge to tell you that your opinions suck. Write a post about video games, and another guy will pop out of nowhere to tell you that you're terrible at what you do and you should stop. Write a post about religion from an atheistic standpoint, and you'll find several people jumping out the woodwork to tell you that you're going to hell. Write a post about religion from a theistic standpoint, and I'd wager you'll have plenty of folks telling you that you're an ignorant, Bible-thumping fucktard. Talk about how you think homoeopathy has no evidence for it and you'll get labelled a shill for Big Pharma. Point out the faults in a particular conspiracy theory and someone will be there to declare you a narrow-minded fool who can't see the bigger picture.

In short, if you talk about things on the internet it's basically an inevitability that at some point you will have people stop by just to try and fuck with you.

Don't get me wrong, writing a blog can be a very rewarding experience. I've been writing Damned Already for over a year now, and it's been an awesome way to help me figure out how I think about issues and has put me in touch with some very cool internet folks, too. But you've got to be prepared for the less enjoyable parts of putting your thoughts and ideas out into the ether that is the world wide web.

The ability to look past things and weather abuse, otherwise known as having a thick skin, is pretty vital at times when you're writing a blog. The ability to not be put off by some guy appearing just to tell you how much he thinks you suck can help you not to lose your enjoyment of this whole 'typing out your thoughts and ideas and then sticking then on the internet' thing. At the same time, though, it's important to be able to separate assholery from those dispensing useful, if blunt, constructive criticism. You might not like what they have to say, or the way they say it, but sometimes there's a few gems of useful feedback in amongst the sea of shit being spewed at you.

Posting anything on the internet can suck at times. That doesn't change the fact that it can be an extremely rewarding experience too.