Why the Internet is Great and Terrible for Introverts (Like Me)

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

When my sister and I first were allowed on the internet, it came from a little USB stick that we had to trade back and forth.

My dad, bless his heart, gave us that tiny USB whenever we wanted — and mom didn’t know.

(She does now.)

As my years on the internet have gone by I’ve learned that the internet is basically a magic place where people think they can say hurtful things without any consequences.

The result of this feels weird to me.

I love writing and putting my writing out there.

In the case of Fanfiction, any flames or bad reviews from trolls are looked upon with disdain because I don’t really care about them. Sometimes they’re funny to read because it’s obvious they didn’t even read the story in question.

But when it comes to nonfiction work — on Medium, my website, or comments on blog posts — I get that spike of anxiety.

What if someone hates what I have to say?

What if they say mean things because they disagree?

I’m like this when it comes to video games, too. I play single-player games like Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed because I don’t have to worry about other people interfering with how I want to play the game.

I don’t have to deal with the Leeroy Jenkins of the world.

People are mean.

Anonymity only amplifies our existing personality traits.

People who are mean become vicious trolls on the internet.

People who are generally good tend to be the nicest people on the internet.

Kids are meaner.

The advent of the internet also brought about a new medium for bullying. What better way to tell someone to kill themselves than through the internet?

Anonymity makes it easy to say things we never would say to someone’s face. The thrill of that kind of power goes to some kids' heads. Never before have they been able to tell someone from another country just how stupid they think they are.

The disconnect from reality makes mean kids meaner.

It requires balance that seems to be in short supply.

Introverts, like myself, have found the internet a haven, but only if we stay in relative safety.

We also have to remain mentally strong.

Strong against the trolls whose only mission is to spread negativity and hatred.

Strong against the bullies who successfully drive children to suicide.

Strong against the luring pull of the dangerous side of the web.