One thing that isn’t brought up when you talk about the internet is the childlike regression some people seem to go through when a part of an online community. In the past, if you had some odd or strange hobby/interest (let’s say Anime), you were usually alone. At some point it would just fall to the wayside as you grew up and kept up with things your circle of friends kept up with. That was why you eventually stopped watching cartoons. Hell, the public shaming from being adult and watching cartoons was probably more then enough to get people to stop watching them 20 years ago.
My Uncle told me a few times about how my cousin was on he way to being a pro baseball player. Supposedly he was heavily recruited when going to high school for his baseball prowess. So what happened to my cousin? My uncle would sum it up in one word, “Girls”. Suddenly instead of practicing baseball every free moment he had, he was chasing after girls and up late with them. By the time he got to junior year he wasn’t even on the baseball team anymore. That’s what happens when you grow up, you eventually let go of the toys of your youth. Mostly this is brought on by social pressure from your peers.
But now what happens though is you find some online “community” and suddenly there are hundreds and maybe even thousands of people who share the same interests and hobbies. Suddenly it’s okay to be 20 and liking cartoons, hell you talk to a guy from 3 states away whose 35 and likes the same cartoons too. Instead of moving forward and leaving your toys behind, you end up spending more and more time with the community that understands you. You feel as though the people you know in real life are the ones who left you behind. Suddenly your best friends are people who you’ve never met and never known. Instead of being shamed, your reveling in it.
Now here comes one of the worst aspects of these communities. It becomes like a hivemind. Because everyone becomes super-sensitive to any negative comments. People are living within their own little bubble, and are more then willing to fight back. The bubble protects them from ever having to go out and face reality. To them an “attack” (be it a critique, criticism or trolling) on one is an attack on everyone. If one of the members of the community leaves because they agree with something negative that was said about the community, it can cause a domino reaction causing more of them to question things. But this would force people to question themselves, and maybe even grow up a bit. So the natural reaction is an over-reaction to anything that can be the slightest bit negative.
Now the amazing thing is, that if someone who is in charge or held at a high level of prestige says something negative about something the community held positive views on, people will suddenly change their view. If you’ve ever wonder how society could get like it is in 1984, in which people can in an instant go from hating one faction to another, just watch these communities long enough and you’ll see it.
It gets worse though when some of these people have a sexual fetish that gets out of control because of these communities. Some things in life are truly better off being repressed and hidden in basements. Sometimes it’s not good to indulge yourself in a sexual fetish while losing ties to reality and people around you. Just as an example, I remember reading about this slightly mentally handicapped adult who was getting less socially awkward. Then he got a new psychiatrist who convinced his parents to let him indulge his strange fetish, and then he was egged on by an internet community dedicated to the fetish to think acting like he was was normal. Of course none of this ended well, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m not saying all internet communities are bad. But too many people make them the be all – end all of their life. Too many of them see everything as an attack on the group, when it’s just a simple critique. The fact of the matter is that most of them just need to move on in their lives, grow up, and be social normal human beings.