2013 marks the 15th full year that I've been "aware of" and engaged with the internet. In that time, I've detected many different types of consistent internet behavior, and I'm old enough to be annoyed by more than a few of them. As we enter the new year, here are 10 uber-annoying online habits, behaviors that I hope we can leave behind in 2013.
1. Leaving Comments to Say You Don't Care About an Article: To the geniuses who feel that the best way to prove they don't care about a subject is to click on an article about it, read the article, log in to leave a comment, and write, edit, and rewrite a 100 word long paragraph explaining exactly why they don't care about the subject…we know you care.
2. Asking Social Media Instead of Asking Google: The folks who ask social media questions that could be answered by Google are the baby birds of the internet. It's not enough to find food for them. They expect you to break it down, chew it, and spit it into their mouths.
3. Outrage Trolling: I'd believe you were really that "outraged" about that song that rapper made about light-skinned Black women if you weren't just as "angry" yesterday about that article about hair you read on that blog yesterday or if you weren't just as "furious" the day before that about that statement some politician made about grapefruit. And, I'd still be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if this "anger" about subjects you really don't give a damn about didn't seem to provide you with so much joy.
4. Announcing that you're "leaving" Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin or Tumblr or the Dungeons and Dragons Cheat Code Message Board or…:We get it: just leaving without an announcement won't provide you the real reason for said announcement: to give yourself an opportunity to explain why you're leaving when people inevitability ask you why you're leaving. However, we don't care. Goodbye!
5. Amateur "Twerk" Videos : Admittedly, these videos of very acrobatic young women with legions of time on their hands dancing in their kitchens were very, um, cool to look at when I was younger, but watching them now does nothing but prompt questions such as "Why does it look like you haven't washed a dish since 2003?" and "Why is the cat sleeping on the bread?"
6. Internet Threats Spawned by Internet Beef: You're sitting in a cubicle farm in an office building in Albany, New York. He's in a moldy basement apartment located under a Starbucks in Austin, Texas. Why are you two threatening to smack each other the next time you see each other on the streets?
7. Hipsters Performing Genre-Switching Remakes of Hip-Hop Songs: It was kind of cute and cool the first time I saw those three White chicks sing an acoustic version of "Gin and Juice." It was even still cute and cool the 21st time I saw something like that. But, after the 121st time, I think it's safe to say that the thrill is gone. Irony schmirony. Get your LOLz elsewhere.
8. The Willie Lynch Letter: Stop quoting it every time a new reality show is debuted on Vh1 and repeat after me: The Willie Lynch letter is a hoax. The Willie Lynch letter is a hoax. The Willie Lynch letter is a hoax. The Willie Lynch letter is a hoax. The Willie Lynch letter is a hoax.
9. Referring to Yourself as "the Black ***fill in the blank***": The most annoying part of this habit is that it always seems to be the same five or six White people whose names are dropped (ie: the Black Carrie Bradshaw, the Black Charlie Sheen, the Black Bill Gates, etc). I wouldn't mind it as much if there were some Black Bea Arthurs, Black Bruce Springsteens or Black King Henry VIIIs thrown around as well. If you're not gonna be creative, at least be creative.
10. Commenting on Articles You Haven't Read: The granddaddy of them all, people crafting opinions and leaving passionate comments on articles after only skimming the title is perhaps the most annoying internet behavior of all. Nevermind the fact that the article may actually contain a compelling argument that could make you reconsider your opinion, the title said something you disagree (or agree) with, and you use this as an opportunity to remind everyone you skipped reading comprehension in high school. When writers and publications share stories via social media, they aren't inviting you to a hearty discussion about what you ASSume the article is about…they want you to read it and then leave a comment. In that order, always and forever, amen.