Has the Internet Gotten Meaner or Have I Just Gotten Older?

I’m now 35 but I grew up watching the show when it was ZDTV and continued watching as the show became the well loved Screen Savers on Tech TV. I was just a teenager then but the show changed my life forever. I was able to learn about tech, a subject that I loved but had no practical information available in a public library.

Today I am a successful Web Developer and tech enthusiast and I know I owe a lot to watching a lot of Tech TV with yourself, Leo Laporte, Kevin Rose, Martin Sargent, Patrick Norton, and many more.

To offer my 2 cents on the state of online discourse… I think the internet feels meaner as a result of it being so much easier and so much more social. These days it doesn’t take any technical ability to get online and share your opinion on something. And more so be able to send it directly to someone who you know will not see the world the same way you will and to top it off in a public setting no less. Email has always been around in the early days but since an authors mean comments wouldn’t be noticed by anyone other than the recipient it didn’t offer the public display of disdain the sender or “troll” is hoping to see displayed publicly. I have seen people who could contact me directly to tell me how they think I am wrong on something, but they much prefer to do it in an @ reply on twitter or a comment in my public timeline on facebook. They want the attention and the public facing reaction.

There probably isn’t any sort of great solution to the problem of people enjoying some bullying with anonymity. But perhaps I can compensate a little by saying thank you. Thank you for all that you have done and that you still do. And whatever you do, don’t stop doing it.

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