It's not that I'm burnt out by it, but I often feel mentally drained within several minutes of surfing the internet. There are now too many voices competing for attention, and there's so much mediocrity that it makes me feel physically ill. Okay, maybe I am a little bit burnt out, but it's with good reason.
If something doesn't appeal to me in real life, I can just walk away from it and never have to encounter that thing or person ever again, but the internet isn't something I can abandon so easily. I've been a presence on this worldwide communication tool for over 20 years, and I'm not going to be giving up on it any time soon. Thus, I have now devised a way to make my internet experience enjoyable again which you'd be wise to take notice of.
1. Use AdBlock Plus.
There's nothing I hate more on the internet than advertising for things I don't want or need, so whoever invented Adblock deserves a medal for creating such a convenient tool. Being able to deny lame YouTubers their Google Ads revenue has never been easier, plus I never have to see all the fluff surrounding Facebook or Twitter again either. No more trending Tweets about Justin Beiber or One Direction for me!
AdBlock is just awesome in every way, although you definitely shouldn't use it on my blog if you still want to see all the pretty pictures!
2. Delete cosplayers and gamers from your social networks.
In the thousands of years of human civilisation, I don't think there have ever been two groups of nerds who people despise more than these infantilised idiots. While there's nothing wrong with playing Facebook apps occasionally or dressing up for Hallowe'en, these retards take things to a whole new level of irritating. If it's not a million automated Facebook posts about which level of Candy Crush they've just reached or how many eggs they still need to buy a new chicken on Farmville, they're on Twitter posting dozens of pictures of themselves dressed as some kind of superhero character from obscure Japanese comicbooks, cartoons and console games which nobody has ever heard of. Gah!
Yes, cosplayers, we get it. You're an overgrown child or a wannabe model who doesn't have the looks to be a model. You may appeal to some acne-ridden pubert who wants to see your wonderbra-enhanced boobies in hundreds of pictures which all look the same, but nobody else can put up with that or your over-exciting enthusiasm about "Dungeons and Dragons"-style RPGs which haven't been popular since 1992.
Once you've unfollowed/unliked them, believe me, it's like a breath of fresh air!
3. Unsubscribe from YouTube fluff channels.
Look it, there are only two reasons to watch anything on YouTube - movies and music videos. Everything else on there is a load of bland crap, motor-mouthed Americans who think they're funny (and probably are for 5 year olds), gamers, cosplayers, make-up girls, bad movie reviewers playing "show and tell", and butthurt ranters. Honest to God, I truly believe that YouTube is one of the few sites on the internet where you can find somebody to hate with every fibre of your being within 5 minutes of signing up. And don't even get me started on the grammatically-challenged comments!
Once you realise this and only subscribe to the movie channels, YouTube is actually pretty great except that 90% of the illegally uploaded movies (most of which still don't have a DVD release) will disappear from your playlist within a week of watching them. DownloadHelper is, of course, your friend!
4. Unfollow/block people with mental health issues.
Whether this is on Twitter or Facebook, there will always be people who you followed, "friended" or liked (usually because they were pretty) who then turn out to be deranged assholes. Why they have to spoil it all by being irritating beyond belief is anybody's guess, but one of the answers I've come up with is that human beings really don't need to know that much about each other before they start getting annoyed with each other's follies.
As a rule, the people I tend to unfollow very quickly are those who are an "-ist" of some kind. People with causes are the worst! Primarily, I block feminists, athiests, buddhists (who are just athiests by a different name), anybody who is into politics or boring news items, and vegetarians/vegans. In real life, I would not be friends with a member of any of these "groups", so why would I want them in my internet life?
It also almost goes without saying that I won't follow anyone under 25 years old because their brains don't work properly. I may have to raise that limit to above 30 soon though.
5. Banish lame blogs from your reading list.
I would name names, but what's the point? Instead, I'll give you a few general examples of the blogs which I never return to.
I don't like sarcasm or snarky people, and it really doesn't work in literary form. It's not funny, and even if it was, I wouldn't find it funny because I have no sense of humour.
Although I've been described as a hater myself, it doesn't necessarily follow that I want to associate with more haters. My blog posts are fair and honest rather than setting out to hate something just for the sake of hating it.
iii. Multi-posters/group blogs.
Any blog which has more than one writer is doomed to failure because they hardly ever agree with each other, the quality varies from one post to the next, and their attached forums are always full of whiteknighting fantards.
iv. Poorly presented blogs.
Whether they are poorly written or ungrammatical doesn't bother me as much as blogs with images which are too big for the posts or hang off the edge of the sidebars. I also won't return to any where all the text is centred like a poem, are too difficult to navigate, or I can't scroll through their posts with the up and down keys. Sites with "Top Ten" lists where you have to click through ten pages to see each each item should be banned!
v. Anything I have to pay to read.
Seriously? Who pays to read a blog? Not going to happen.
6. Never go to Reddit.
Whatever anyone posts on that crappy site will be seen as trollbait or downvoted into oblivion, so it's not worth the effort. As a moderator of several subreddits, I spend more time deleting spam and blocking trolls than enjoying the communities I've created. There are also several long term users of the site who need to be banned from the entire internet as far as I'm concerned.
The only good thing about sites like Reddit and 4chan is that they used to keep the majority of the internet's detritus in two easily avoidable places. Unfortunately, they've spread to YouTube and other places since.
Want a free message board? Just sign up with Proboards instead.
7. Boycott Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other e-beggars.
Very easily done if you have the good sense to realise that it's all a scam. Normal people work hard and save up for things, or take out loans if they're in business. Giving your hard-earned money to somebody who already has more than you just so they can make something which they then expect you to buy is absolutely bloody stupid! Don't forget that Kickstarter and Indiegogo get paid out of the raised money too, so there's nothing altruistic about any of it.
Just unfollow/unlike anybody promoting one of these "crowdfunding campaigns", and you'll never have to grind your teeth in anger over these e-begging scumbags again.
8. Don't follow the pretty people.
They'll just make you feel bad about yourself as they post a million pictures from their latest free holiday somewhere exotic or tell you about somebody else giving them gifts simply because they're pretty.
Things come too easy to these people anyway, so make internet life harder for them by not pandering to their vanity and narcissism. Give yourself a reality check; even if you had a million dollars worth of plastic surgery, you aren't ever going to bump uglies with them!
As an aside, I won't ever employ pretty people in real life because they are useless at everything, have no personalities other than a plethora of entitlement issues, and are thick as two short planks.
9. Don't follow celebrities.
They are never as cool as the characters they play on stage or screen, and most of them have no personalities of their own. If their posts, status updates, or Tweets are actually written by them, they'll still be boring as Hell to read and will probably involve what they had for lunch.
Constant promotions about their next project will most certainly piss you off unless you are an obsessed mega-fan, in which case, may God have mercy on your soul.
10. Spend less time online.
Once you switch your computer off, there's a whole world of real people out there who are much more interesting. Or if you're like me and don't like people, there are cats to play with and movies to watch! Either way, taking regular breaks from internet bullshit will make you a lot happier.
If you found any of this useful, or even if you didn't, leave me a comment below.