Monsters of the Internet

By on February 28, 2022

Over the weekend, I bumped into an old friend, Flo (not real name), who I had not seen in nearly three years. Flo is the kind of person whose energy lights up the room as soon as she walks into it. She is admired by many people, both male and female. Many men want to be with her and many women want to be like her. She earns a healthy salary, drives a lovely car and lives in the plush neighbourhood of Kololo.

It’s safe to say Flo has arrived, at least by the standards of the average Ugandan.

Sadly for Flo, she’s been battling depression for quite a while now. For all the success and happiness she seems to be wearing and showing, there is a lot of pain and suffering Flo is trying to cover up. 

You see, Flo is one of those people who many looked up to in regards to the social scene. Her ability to wow crowds by what she looks and sounds like drove many people to put her on a pedestal. And for a very long time, she has quietly struggled with the pressure of having to keep this up. She recently got to a point and realised that while she was/is idolised by many, the sort of comments she gets on her Social Media accounts are truly wild. She’s usually locked up in the bathroom, crying uncontrollably because some stranger online said something bogus in the comments section of her post. 

Like many young Ugandans, the pressure that comes with being an ever-present and active being on the internet is one that has driven several people to the pits of despair, sadness, bitterness, anger, depression and worse, death. 

There is a never-ending cycle of pressure that many young people are struggling with because of comments from random strangers on the internet. When you log onto any Social media platform and start to engage with people, there is a high chance that many of these people are not as kind or humane as you might think they are. What is worse – some of these people get onto the internet with the sole purpose of spewing anger, bitterness, hatred, discord and generally spreading negative energy.

For such people, validation comes in being seen as being extremely abusive, standing out as the only person with balls to say something and basically being the only person seemingly unbothered by sensitivity to the suffering or pain of others. Such people will typically insult anyone and everyone without thinking twice about what the insults could mean or do to the other person. Their nonchalance regarding the effects of their comments is something that will shock any sane person. But they continue to do just that – they continue to navigate social media with no remorse for what they say.

And the ugly truth is that the internet is filled with people of that kind. They will log onto any social media platform to bring others down and to spread their negative energy. Because of the sad fact that we are social beings, some of their negative energy ends up spreading to the people who are otherwise kind and decent humans. And so other innocent people get sucked into this negativity and before you know it, it becomes ‘cool’ to be a troll.  

I know a good many decent humans who have descended into despair, sadness, depression and even death, because of the comments and remarks made by strangers on the internet. And while some of these remarks made by strangers are made with no regard for their effect, they end up affecting people – quite a lot actually. 

It is quite unfortunate that it is impossible to try and talk some sense into everyone so that they are more humane with their remarks, comments and utterances on social media. And so, all one needs to do is focus on oneself and stay away from the negative folks on the internet. There isn’t much you are going to miss if you mute, block, unfollow, unfriend or simply ignore trolls and negative people. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see negative energy on your social media feed. 

We now live in a time when every person who gets onto the internet is supposed to take care of themselves. No one will go out there to protect you from the negativity that is spewing across the internet. While sites might have markers and red flags for things like racism, child pornography or violence, there aren’t many red flags for trolls and people who simply spread negative energy. This means you have to wake up and create the markers yourself. You have to purpose yourself to stay away from people who have the ability to get the worst out of you by what they say online.

Many internet users have the skill of bringing out the worst in us, they really do. They do this by making comments that directly and painfully attack us or saying things that seem like they are damaging to us. The truth of the matter is, the things people say are only as powerful as we let them be. 

If you purpose yourself to spread positive energy and be kind, courteous, sensitive and humane, there is a lot you can get going. And once you encounter negative energy, all you have to do is stay clear of it. Ultimately, people on the internet do not give a flying fuck about you. They’ll say something hurtful to you and then walk away as if nothing happened. Then you will coil up in a corner in your house and cry yourself to sleep, wake up the next day and slide into depression because you were hurt. But how about simply staying clear of these monsters? How about waking up deciding to be an agent of positivity? 

People on the internet are insane, insensitive and insecure. And they don’t care about you. When you die because of the effects of depression brought on by them, the best they will do is drum up a few hashtags for you, create content out of purported sympathy, garner a few more followers and move on to the next victim.

So take a stand today and decide to spread Positive energy while staying clear of negative energy because when all is said and done, you are the custodian of your own mental health and well being.

“It’s like the Wild West, the Internet. There are no rules.” – Steven Wright

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker