The online disinhibition effect is defined as the complete abandonment of regular social inhibitions and restrictions that would arise in every day face-to-face interactions during interactions held through the Internet. This effect is caused by many factors such as: dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimisation of authority.
Tumblr post: CONFESSION. Sometimes I can’t get up in the morning.
Does anyone not feel like this at one time or another? Show me the person who bounds out of bed every morning with a smile and a feeling of innate joy and security. Then let me punch them in the face. Liars, all.
Though maybe that’s why grand expressions of life’s hardships are so popular: universal themes. Who wants to be happy, anyway? That’d just be boring.
I read somewhere, a while back, that someone in America was so involved in their Pokémon Go game that they very casually strolled straight off a cliff. I don’t remember but I like to think that they died. Or at least severely injured themselves. Then there was this other story – in Australia, this time – that made its way through the myriad of idiotic morning ‘news’ shows, about the ULTIMATE DANGER of Pokémon Go. Apparently this game ENCOURAGES OUR CHILDREN to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have done. One game EVEN LEAD A CHILD, a YOUNG BOY, INTO A DIRTY AND VERY GAY SEX BEAT. Oh the humanity!
As someone who has on occasion, a few years back, attended a dirty and very gay sex beat, and someone who knows several people who’ve also attended a dirty and very gay sex beat, I can assure them that they didn’t want the kid there as much as the kid didn’t want to be there. Kids: always ruining good things. Plus, if we’re honest, the game leads you nowhere, so the child went there of his own accord. His mother was driving him in pursuit of a magical creature made of a bunch of pixels. It was an unhappy accident for all involved
I had Pokémon Go installed on my phone for a while. I read so many personal opinion articles – mainly on Tumblr, where people are under the misguided belief that other Tumblr users care about their opinions – about how Good and Super Fun it was and how it really helped people with anxiety and also saved them from cancer and allowed them to give a natural and pain-free birth, probably.
I never understood that – I mean, as someone with severe social anxiety, it never fucking helped me do jack. I guess it helped me ignore people for a bit, if I wanted, gave me something else to focus on, but some part of me was always still hyperaware of the world around me, like: hey motherfucker, better take a look around to make sure you don’t bump into anyone and you make them hate you! Joke’s on me, though: I already hate myself, so what’s one more ounce of hatred really gonna do?
The game doesn’t introduce you to anyone or even show you who’s playing nearby (imagine if it did, though – like some bizarre hybrid between Grindr and a cockfighting ring). All it does is allow you to walk around… just like you can in life, and ‘catch’ small rats or pigeons, and occasionally some more mystical creatures. No thanks: we already have rats and pigeons, but the great thing about the real world is that I’m not constantly reminded of their diseased presence around me.
I deleted Pokémon Go about a month ago. I’d stopped enjoying it but, like the addict that I am, was still mindlessly logging on, just to check. To check what? Just to check, just in case. …In case what? Who the fuck knows. I’m terrible with directions as it is, and would often find myself lost in places I thought I knew with very little idea how I got there except for a bunch of pixels on a game I wasn’t particularly enjoying.
So, not for the first time in my life, I made a change, and felt better for it.
I tell everyone my first boyfriend was the depressive and emotionally manipulative boy I met when I was 19, and I suppose, yeah, he was. My first in person boyfriend, that is. However.
When I was sixteen, I found myself tentatively signing up for a ‘gay interests’ forum for young people, and striking up a few friendships. One of these friendships blossomed into something more. His name was Brad*. (*not his real name, but it’s something equally as questionable.) He was 19, which seemed ancient at the time, and he was working full time somewhere, doing some kind of trade.
‘Oh, like for a gap year?’ I asked, exposing my ridiculous white bread private school privilege.
‘Um, sure,’ he replied. ‘Kind of.’
We’d chat each night till endlessly late (so, to like 10PM) and in the morning before school. He’d talk about his ‘shit’ family life and I’d return with tales of my ‘shit’ school life. We exchanged phone numbers early on in the piece and while we never had any proper conversations, I happily bashed out a small digitised piece of text on my prepaid brick of a Nokia phone. I didn’t have any particularly romantic feelings towards him, and he didn’t in return, I think. Indeed, I hadn’t even been aware what this had been leading towards until one day:
HIM: hey hw r u
ME: gd u
HIM: yah gd
HIM: hrny haha
I stared numb at the pixels on the screen in front of me. “hrny”? Did that mean… surely not? I debated for a while with what to write in reply. Then:
ME: same hah (I wasn’t)
HIM: hot gd
HIM: what r u wrng?
And this was the first sexual experience I had with somebody other than myself. This continued on for a week or two after, which must’ve been like the most casual thing in the world for him, but for me it felt like I was living a heinous and melodramatic lie. I had just sort of gone along with whatever he was doing, and continued to let him steer the relationship. I was an incredibly self-conscious teenager, as we know, and I didn’t possess the tiniest frame: although in those days – the days of terrible cameras and pixelated digital photos, as everything slowly edged into the digitized world – it was harder to tell what somebody looked like unless you met them in person, and so it was easier to unintentionally catfish someone. (Though this was before the film and TV show of the same name, so there really was no name for it. Deceive, maybe. Though I wasn’t deceiving, I rationalized. I was just sad and abused and insecure af and needed some company because I thought that, probably, I too was gay – and fat. Wasn’t one disability enough???)
He doesn’t know, I told myself. But if he did he’d probably vomit on your shoes. No matter that he himself wasn’t a model or anything. At this point a flat stomach seemed like the be all and end all of self-respect and sexiness, and he had one of those. Therefore, I was punching above my weight. I don’t remember how it ended but I do remember thinking that, had it meant as much to him as it did to me – a relative impossibility, unless he’d been going through very nearly the exact same things as me – the reality of my form would’ve broken his heart.
Months later – from March, say, to Christmas that year – I heard from him again. We hadn’t spoken (messaged) for at least six months by that point, not having fought or anything, just fallen out of each others’ orbit, and I’d upgraded my Nokia to my brother’s old Ericsson phone which I’d received for my 17th birthday, and which had also given me a lot of trouble transferring the phone numbers over. Hence, I didn’t have his number saved in the phone, but was too polite (or idiotic) to question who he was:
ME: oh hey
ME: mry xmas!
ME: howz it goin (I was in that phase of teenagerdom where every word has to be spelt with a z instead of an s, and every other word is cut down like a drawling American would say it. Because, you know, you’re so Original and Interesting.)
HIM: u 2! im gd thx
I never responded. As he messaged me it quickly became time to open up Christmas presents, and I got distracted. To be fair, I received the N64 game I’d wanted for ages.
I’m obsessed with the Tay bot.
I mean, I guess I’m obsessed with a lot of things, but Tay is something that I really can’t stop thinking about. We all know Tay, right? She was (is?) a Twitter AI that Microsoft introduced in early 2016. Tay’s name was an acronym for “thinking about you” which, creepy, and even creepier: Tay learned. She was online for all of 16 hours before she “learned” to reply to internet commentators with sexually explicit race-hate messages, (“fuck my robot pussy daddy”) and made memes from images of Adolf Hitler (captioning one with “SWAGGER BEFORE THE INTERNET WAS EVEN A THING.”)
Her last tweet, as Microsoft workers tried desperately to fix what they’d created and users of the Internet had succinctly destroyed? “c u soon humans need sleep now so many conversations today thx.”
I suppose the major thing is that she didn’t just learn by herself, of course, but the Internet broke her. People began deliberately trying to fry her electronic brains by tweeting hatred and bile out to her. And it worked. In 2016, where the world should be progressing, we sacrificed a piece of artificial intelligence by teaching it to be as offensive as possible, as a game. She was given a crash course in just how fucked the human race is.
“need sleep now so many conversations today thx.”
Me too, Tay. Me too.
I took part in an online discussion regarding the social media usage of queer people: the sorts of platforms used, the way we choose to portray ourselves on each platform and the reasons behind said portrayal. It’s silly, of course, but I never thought about the fact that I portray myself in different ways depending on the platform – I simply did the thing; slipped each hat on and readjusted myself.
Through this survey/conversation, I was able to profile myself pretty definitely. (Or perhaps, I was able to realise the patterns I fall into pretty regularly.)
On Facebook I’m relatively moderate animal and meme lover.
On Instagram I’m a sex positive art-wanker who occasionally takes his clothes off or makes gay sex puns.
On Tumblr I’m a hashtag aesthetic indie Melissa Broder jokes-about-my-mental-illness type.
On Twitter I’m angry, and a fucking communist. (I mean, I guess I am always, but I’m much louder about it on Twitter.)
I suppose this means you could say I don’t know who I am, but I’d like to think I’m a mix of all of these people.
When I get down to it, I really don’t know who I am. But then, who the fuck does?