The Pussification of the Internet

pussification-of-the-internet
Tweet about this on Twitter54Share on Facebook91Share on Google+143Share on LinkedIn5Buffer this page

Well, it was just a matter of time before our little playground called “The Internet” was ruined. Beaten to a digital pulp by what seems to be the only thing left that we as a group can tolerate.

Intolerance.

That undercurrent of hypersensitive hyperbole (ironic, isn’t it?) spewed the moment you express an opinion that is different from the rest of us.

It’s not that you aren’t allowed to have your own opinion. Or your own voice. You are. We just don’t want to hear it unless we agree with it. And if we don’t agree with it, we label you a troll. Or a bully. Or you just become “that guy” that we banish from our feed in a fit of passive aggressive douchebaggery.

This, in an effort to protect our feelings. Our ego. Or whatever it is that won’t allow us to be wrong. Transparent. Vulnerable.

Or human.

And it is with our proverbial fingers shoved elbow deep into our ears that we have turned the Internet into a cesspool of overreaction and hurt feelings. An opened wound sensitive to the slightest touch.

But with a willingness to see things differently we have an opportunity to make it right again and once and for all depussificate this place. Together.

So, if you are with me, which I know you are, here are three ways in which we could all use to just lighten the heck up a little bit.

Not Everyone That Disagrees is a Troll

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away, a troll was some no-talent-ass-clown living in their Mom’s basement, pissed off at the world because someone left their box of Froot Loops opened and they went stale.

Not anymore.

Now, it seems that anyone with a strong opinion different from ours, who shares it in what appears to be an open forum where all opinions are welcome (as long as they are agreeable) is considered a troll.

In other words, if you don’t agree with me, you call me a troll. That’s how it works.

Calling someone a troll merely because they passionately disagree with you is just a way to discredit their opinion so you don’t have to actually debate them on it. It’s easier that way. It’s your very own “get out of jail free” card that you get to whip out whenever someone else challenges you too strongly.

It allows you to be right without having to actually defend your position.

And just because someone does not agree with you doesn’t make their opinion any less valid than the crowd of followers that glorify your every word. In fact, they are often more valuable. They challenge you to think differently. Write differently. And see the world differently.

If you were to give them the chance.

So, what if you looked at it from a different perspective?

What if you considered the fact that you arranged a bunch of words onto a page and somehow instilled an emotion in another human being. Forget whether it’s a positive emotion or a negative emotion. Or whether they agree with you or disagree with you. Your thoughts made someone else feel something. Enough so that they couldn’t hold it in any longer and had to share it.

That is a gift.

Most writers dream of one day being able to touch someone that deeply.

Don’t delete their comments. Or dismiss their opinions. Or even fight them on it. Try and understand them. Connect with them on some ground. And be grateful that someone is engaging with you.

It’s Just the Fucking “F” Word

Get over it. It’s a word. You are an adult. And as an adult, you shouldn’t devalue something just because you may not agree with the choice of words used to express it.

A word is only as powerful as the meaning we give it. And if you choose to allow specific words to hold you hostage, that is your choice. Your opinion. And your right. But don’t overreact and make a sweeping generalization that takes away the joy of flexing our potty mouths from the rest of us.

In other words, don’t write to me and threaten not to read my blog anymore unless I create a clean version of each post specifically for you (true story).

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking of that old quote about having a weak mind if you use profanity. Here, I went through the trouble of Googling it for you.

It was by a man named Spencer W. Kimball. And he said that “Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.”

Bullshit.

I’m pretty sure that when Thomas Edison attempted to invent the lightbulb but failed for the 8,264th time, his initial reaction was “Fuck this shit, someone get me a candle.” Are you telling me that Thomas Edison had a feeble brain? Because that’s what it sounds like you are saying.

Yeah. I thought not.

(Note: before you attempt to discredit everything I have ever said due to the previous statement, please be aware that I have as much proof that Thomas Edison said this as you have that he didn’t.)

I’m not suggesting that you should start increasing your frequency of four letter words to some acceptable level. I’m just suggesting that if you have that big of a problem with it, perhaps you need to lighten the fuck up.

Stop Getting Mad Just Because You Can

Manufactured outrage. It isn’t your average pissy little tirade. It’s that falsified righteous indignation over something that is otherwise unimportant and meaningless.

Like this post.

I’m sure it will ruffle a couple of feathers. I’m an acquired taste. I get that. But what if you were to step outside of your limitations (I bet you thought I was going to say comfort zone) and rather than searching for a reason to be mad about something I wrote here, you focused on the one or two things that you might find valuable if you were willing to stop being so disgusted by my language. Or my misuse of punctuation. Or my snarky attitude.

Because if you’re looking for a reason to be mad, I can’t think of a better place to find it than the Internet.

And if you’re looking for a way to grow and become a better professional. A better entrepreneur. A better writer. A better marketer. A better speaker. A better listener. A better spouse. A better parent.

A better human being.

I also can’t think of a better place to find it than the Internet.

We see what we want to see. Look for the good and assume that each of us has the best of intentions. Of course, not everybody will. Some people will let you down. I promise. But why spoil the whole thing over a few bad seeds?

Now It’s Your Turn…

Don’t get me wrong by this whole thing. I’m not suggesting that we let go of all common sense and all that is good and decent in the world in order to turn the Internet into The Lord of the Flies or anything like that.

I’m just saying that we all need to take a big step back. Take a deep breath. And just learn to lighten up a little bit. Every one of us. Including you.

If you agree, which again I’m sure you do, please comment below. Blindly support everything I have to say. And everything I have ever said. And for those few that don’t, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Fucking trolls.

  • Change The Topic

    That’s sort of weird that you posted this today. I posted this http://changethetopic.com/forgive-me-father-for-i-have-sinned/ because I was sick of stifling my cursing. For two and a half years, I thought the same as you, and still do, if I am honest, but it just got to be too much. Thanks for your insight, and for being bang on in your assessment.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Nice job…I’ve been in that same place. Look at my earlier posts. Typical SEO bullshit that I thought everyone would want to read. Eventually I started another blog for SEO and then would share my voice here but I felt like such a phony and hated the other blog. Eventually I just put my focus here and committed to being my true self. I lost a bunch of subscribers at first but eventually the audience kind of changed over. Best thing I ever did. Everything that goes on this blog comes from inside. I never phone it in anymore!

  • Pamela St. Peter

    Marc you do write what we need to hear. As always in the world there will be those that see the glass half full or half empty. I feel sort of sorry for folks who get their britches in a wad… because of a difference of opinion or a ‘word’. I’m from a much older school than most, but darn if I don’t learn from ‘youngins’ like you… Well said.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      WOO HOO! I’m a youngin?!? I knew using my high school yearbook picture as my avatar was a good idea ;)

  • http://www.benbressington.com/ Benjamin Bressington

    Well said, people need to calm and and appreciate different opinions because it makes us assess our beliefs. Makes us see where we stand. To many people play it safe with their communication and as a result are NEVER heard or looked up to. Todays world requires passion to be expressed and felt and when we do that people listen.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Crickey! You’re right!!!!

  • http://www.iwearspandex.com/home Brian Stephens

    I really want to know what spell check suggested as alternatives to the word depussificate. Or what the thesaurus has to say.

    On one hand, I can’t believe someone actually demanded you supply a clean version of your posts…then on the other hand, lots of people live in their little “me first” bubbles. I get out of my bubble every now and again to see things from someone else’s point of view. Keeps me grounded. Thanks for the rant, Marc.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      It’s not as exciting as you might think. I had to stop it from being changed to pontificate about a half dozen times.

      As for that whole clean version thing….yup, it’s true. It was a strange letter. And I do mean letter. It was long. It wasn’t solely responsible, but it was partly the inspiration behind the clean version of this post. Read the top paragraph and click to the clean version:

      http://www.marcensign.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-blogging-your-ass-off/

  • RandyBowden

    Marc, all I can say is this is some brilliant fucking shit! GoodJob!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks a fucking lot Randy! :)

  • Stuff

    Seriously! The Internet allows us the unique opportunity to have “judgeless” debate – because we’re more or less face-less names on the Internet, we can expose our ideas and beliefs in ways that you can’t with IRL encounters. Debate could be really interesting, except it usually devolves in somebody calling you “butthurt” and a “troll”. More than anything, the Internet is a much more effective socializer than even the grade-school playground!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I’ve been called a lot of things, but you have no idea how grateful I am that I have never been called “butthurt”!

  • http://www.freshrag.com/ Dave Conrey

    I absolutely agree with this and I had a little tirade of my own last week because of something someone said that was elitist, exclusionary, and flat our wrong. Basically, it was a 10-minute long F-Bomb, and at one point, I was worried to hit the publish button, but fuck it. If people don’t dig it, I’ll pick up the pieces later. The message needed to get out there.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Well?!? Where the heck is the link? C’mon! You can’t throw something like that out there and not give us a link!!

      • http://www.freshrag.com/ Dave Conrey

        Well, I dare not litter up someone else’s yard with my links unless invited, but here you go: http://www.freshrag.com/podcast/cbp51/

        • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

          Stop it…you’re welcome here any time!!! Great job!!! The world needs more rants like this from you!

  • Janine Beattie

    Just bloody brilliant! I have been sucked in and started reading other blogs and I just can’t stop laughing! I love the fact you say exactly what others won’t! Glad I found your blog today, made my day! Stalking you now across multiple social media sites in a bid to support your crazy mission!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Awe, thank you Janine!! I really appreciate it! And whether you know it or not, you have already returned the favor. Because every time it see your last name I think of that little robot guy from Buck Rodgers and can’t help but laugh!

      http://youtu.be/8oFX7IgLlDk

  • Renee Oelschlaeger

    Perfect. Just perfect.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thank you. Just thank you. :)

  • David Hidding

    Well said. Good luck on your self-appointed mission. At least I assume it’s self-appointed. If there’s somebody that would hire you to save the internet, then I need to know THAT person.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Who else do you know insane enough to try and take this on?!?

  • Brenda Sargeant

    I love you

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I love you too! However I do feel the need to see other people.

  • lisa demmi

    Lions and Tigers and Trolls, Oh My!
    Really good read…can’t we all just get along OR at least treat each other with some respect?

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      In that case, can I assume that you will start treating me with some respect from now on and not Tweeting horrible things about me while we are at a seminar together?

      • lisa demmi

        No

        • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

          Fine. You drive a had bargain Demmi.

  • Stan Bush

    There’s a lot in this post to agree with, or argue with. Depends on what you want to do with your time. You want to argue… go ahead. There’s a wall over there that might listen. If you want to agree, here you go.. talk to the hand. It’s really as simple as that.
    I don’t drop F bombs for many reasons. The one that carries the most truth to it is because once I start, I don’t quit. At least half of the words that I’ll spew will be offensive in some way. I’ll probably refer to a cucumber, a pencil, and maybe a queer reference about a strange growth on a gland or two that your mother showed to the 15th Battalion before she entered the Cowboys locker room for some prep talk. I’m not a neophyte. Proof? Somebody just right clicked and searched Google for neophyte to find out how nasty it is.

    Sometimes I don’t read the F Word posts. Sometimes I do. It just depends. But one thing’s for sure. I have every right to NOT read it as I have to read it. I can walk away. My choice.
    Here you go: “Just because it makes you mad, doesn’t mean it makes you right.”
    You can use that. Go ahead. It won’t make me mad or anything.

    Intranets, communities, other private places… when in Rome.

    See this entire post had no foul language. So..

    Screw you Marc. You mother huggin, adult feline, piece of fecal matter.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      HA! I don’t drop F bombs because once I start, I don’t quit. Too funny. I’m like that with M&M’s. I know. Not quite the same thing, but I hear where you are coming from.

      Oh…and that last line of yours? That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. Thank you!

    • bekiweki

      I’m totally not Google searching “neophyte”.

  • Robyn Gleason

    I was going to send this out on twitter but my followers will judge me for the use of the word ‘pussification’, lol.
    Seriously, I’m with you on this 100% and the Lord of the Flies reference had me truly laughing out loud.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Yay!!!! Someone got the Lord of the Flies reference! Can I tell you how many times I have used that in conversation waiting for some kind of reaction only to be left with crickets. Nothing. Nada. Thank you for proving to me once and for all that that is a funny line!

  • bekiweki

    As a Mormon, I feel the need to respond to the Spencer W. Kimball quote, because there is something behind using clean language – which extends to a lot of different pools of belief and thought. I think the point he was trying to make is that we shouldn’t feel the need to rely on those words or jokes because we don’t take the time to come up with a more eloquent way of expressing ourselves.

    However, that being said, I wasn’t offended at all with this post. If everyone agreed with us, the world would be a boring place and there would really be no learning, no challenges, no progression of thought and ideas. Added to that: I don’t think we have the right to judge (nor should we freak out) when people choose to use certain language in expressing those opinions. I personally don’t use the “F” word but I don’t cower in the corner and cry when other people do. It’s quite silly for me to expect the rest of the world to talk as I do, just as I would think it’s silly that others would judge me for not using that word in my daily conversations.

    I think you said it best when you said we need to chill out, because we really do.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      It’s interesting that you wrote that you felt the need to respond “as a Mormon.” It just shows how attached we become to our identities that it’s a precursor to our response. It’s not a bad thing. Just an observation. I have been a musician for most of my life. It’s part of my identity. So, too often I respond from that association.

      As for what you have to say? I couldn’t agree more!!!!! (obviously)

      • bekiweki

        It’s true, Mark. We really are attached to our identities and I think in many ways, we use them to qualify us and our responses. “I’m a Mormon so I can say this about that prophet” or “I’m a musician so I can say this about the industry,” etc.

        I’d prefer to think of that qualifying as diplomacy rather than pussification, and the latter as not being able to take off the sensitive sweater. Sensitive sweaters are out of fashion, anyway (except if you’re Weezer.)

  • Beckijo

    “…you arranged a bunch of words onto a page and somehow instilled an emotion in another human being.” That bit is fucking genius! And while we’re at it, sometimes the most eloquent thing to say is fuck, it is very versatile (http://youtu.be/4rX7-R54-Q8) and really gets the point across.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Beckijo! Especially for the video…now I can use the word fuck in all sorts of creative new ways!!!

  • http://laurievarga.com/ Laurie Varga

    I for one am glad you didn’t (but sort of did) use the phrase “comfort zone”. That’s one phrase that should be buried for a while and dug up again in about twenty years.

    Great article, by the way. Although I am a busy jerk and just scanned the latter part of it.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      The end was the best part!

      • http://laurievarga.com/ Laurie Varga

        I bet it was! I’m working on getting over my FOMO – Fear of Missing Out ;)

  • http://www.amanthatsaros.com/ Amantha Tsaros

    I am a brand-new fawning sycophant here. I agree with everything. It’s brilliant. You’re brilliant. The scales have fallen from my eyes.

    Seriously, I am so glad you wrote this and I sincerely appreciate the use of the word “pussification”. I have been shouting at the internet for a long time now using similar language. I thank you from the bottom of my…er…heart.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      OK, Amantha…if we’re going to get along, you’re going to have to keep the smarty pants words like “sycophant” to a minimum. I barely made it out of high school English with a passing grade. That explains my inability to properly use apostrpohies or spell the word definately correctly without spell check.

      With that said, I am so glad you are here and thank you so much for the comments and your undying love and support! I will do my best not to screw it up!

  • LaurieD

    Of course, if anyone only wants to receive comments from people who agree with them 100%, 100% of the time, they should lock themselves in the bathroom and simply look in the mirror. (Unless they have internal conflict, in which case they should just take a nap.)

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I tried that. I can’t seem to come to any type of agreement. Even with myself!

  • http://orraclemedia.com/ Rob Orr

    lol! Thin-skinned, stay clear! Well played Marc.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Rob! Little by little I’m weeding out the thin skinned. I think tomorrows post might be F-bomb free. Time to give everyone a little break.

  • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

    I like your post. So many people, myself included, are afraid of offending and are easily offended. It’s time to change.

    So, fuck you and your feeble mind.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I am shocked and saddened by your inexcusable use of the F word. How dare you.

  • http://printfirm.com/ Katherine Tattersfield

    That’s what’s up homie.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign
  • http://www.theworld4realz.com/ Andi-Roo

    I agree with most of your arguments herein. The one point with which I take small issue is in your use of the term “troll” as someone who disagrees, or who disagrees passionately. On my own blog, I am quite clear regarding my stance as a Feminist, Liberal, agnostic but leaning toward atheist, so when some Tea Party member comes along and gets shitty in my blog-face, I consider that trolling — not because s/he disagrees, but because {a} they sought me out and thought it would be a great time & place to convert me, {b} didn’t try to convert me so much as publicly chastise me for my stance, &/or {c} did so in a really aggressive fashion. I know people disagree with me. Some of the comments I receive suggest such. Not all of the dissent I read in my comment section are from trolls. Trolls are a-holes. I don’t go on a Tea Party member’s blog at all, much less with the intent of swaying, chastising, or starting a fight. My disagreement with their stance doesn’t make me a troll; saying on my blog that I disagree with them doesn’t make me a troll; being an a-hole would make me a troll. BUT! Having said all that, I don’t mean to be a troll herein. Because, again, I do agree with the rest of your tirade — passionately, even!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Hi Andi-Roo! Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that there are no such things as trolls. There are assholes out there. I get that. You wouldn’t believe some of the names I have been called. My favorite is “pretencious douchebag.” Although the guy that told me that my picture made hi throw up in his mouth was a good one too.

      What I am getting at is that there are trolls. People that take things way too far. That insist on spewing their hatred all over your page.

      The problem is that the definition of a troll has slowly creeped from someone that takes it too far to just anybody that doesn’t agree with you. You and I can have a healthy debate. Even be heated. But that doesn’t make me a troll.