Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Pitfalls of The Internet.


I was catching up on some blogs yesterday when I came across a post by a new gal I'm following, Mayor Gia. Gia wrote up a fantastic post, replete with funny cartoons, describing how the new SocialCam trend is the devil, and the awkwardness it caused at work.

I am no stranger to that awkwardness, having had to coach a pastor, a fellow church member, and my thirteen year old cousin on how best to remove your video history from your Facebook feed.

It can get strange.


I am an Internet connoisseur. I spend a lot of my time perusing the various nooks and crannies of the World Wide Web, using tools like StumbleUpon and clicking link after link when I find something interesting. I think one day, I'll actually hit the end of the Internet like that one guy in that one commercial that one time. You know the one. 


However, even being the expert on the e-world that I am, I have still had my fair share of struggles, and I thought you might be interested in some of the pitfalls that I have found myself at the bottom of on the interwebs.

The Hotmale Incident: When I was a wee lad, a newbie in the virtual playground, using a dial-up 28.8K modem with call waiting so that every time someone called, I'd kicked off, I created an email account. I decided to go with Hotmail, because that was the preference of some chick I liked at the time. I decided on a name, which I can't even remember, and I busily set about emailing everyone I knew that had an email address. One day, I came home from school, and I was ready to check my email. I haven't always had impeccable grammar and spelling skills. I will refer you to the "thow" incident at the first grade spelling bee. So I sat down at the computer and typed in "www.hotmale.com."

Go there. Go now, if you've got the minerals. I was traumatized for life. I didn't even know about gay people when I was that young, much less the sex. Thank God above that images on a 28.8K modem take about two hours to load. I got the site closed after I saw the first penis...with another penis. I've never made that mistake again.

The Cindy Crawford Incident: I was thirteen, I was at a science camp at Tulsa Community College, and they had just sat us down in front of computers to show us The Internet. What they didn't know was that I had a friend who already had The Internet, and he had showed me a few things. So when they walked away to let us peruse at our leisure with no clear directions, I did the first thing that made sense. I searched The Internet for pictures of Cindy Crawford. The results came in, and I was very pleased. I clicked on one particular search result, and this image filled my screen:

I was thirteen. This image has been burned into my brain for sixteen years.
I have never loved The Internet more than I did at that exact moment. Then something awful happened. The computer froze up like a Transformer in Antarctica, and I was not the technological guru I am today. So, eventually, I had to ask for help. The gentleman running the show came over to me, looked at my screen, and said, "Woah! How in the world did you get this up here?"

I looked him right in the eye and boldly said, "I don't know." 

It worked.

I was a helpless kid, this was the big, scary, Internet. I didn't get in trouble, but they did stick me on a game site and made me play something boring for the rest of the time. 

Googling "The Flash:" Fast forward quite a few years, and I am currently the Youth Minister at Okay. I was in my office at the church, and I was researching a lesson. Our pastor's wife was renowned for the Internet safety software that she had put on the computers, to the point that some articles that contained any kind of violent or salacious print were often blocked, even if they would help in preparation. Some of the Bible sites were blocked, because the software thought they were "slandering religion," or something like that. I was proud of the fact that I had only set the blocker off a limited number of times, and even then it was always a news article I was trying to read or something to that effect. 

Back to researching the lesson. In this lesson, I was going to use superheroes as the basis. So without thinking, I hopped on the Internet and Googled, "The Flash." 

In other words, "I just emailed a report to the pastor's wife that you tried to access porn at church." 
I was mortified. Every time that thing went off, she got a report saying what the person was trying to access. I didn't think for one second about the correlation between a man who can run the mile in 0.0009 seconds and girls showing off their cash and prizes. I never heard back from her on the whole situation. I couldn't look her in the eyes for a couple weeks, but other than that, I guess it passed under the radar. 

The list really could go on and on, such as the time I googled "XXX" trying to find a dvd cover for the movie starring Vin Diesel, or the time I found a family member's web history and ratted them out because I knew I'd get blamed for it, or the times I've been tagged in naughty Facebook pictures because I'm not careful about who I add as a friend. 

But as many traps as I've fallen into, I still would like to list some that I've avoided. 

  • I have NEVER seen Two Girls, One Cup. Ever. It's like I get Spidey Sense if I'm about to be tricked into it. I know what it is, but I've NEVER seen it. 
  • I have avoided Googling "blue waffle." 
  • I have avoided Googling "lemon parade," or whatever that is. I don't know what happens when you Google it, but I'm proud of the fact I've never tried. 
  • I've yet to post a single video about how I watched a movie about a dad catching his daughter stripping or Selena Gomez doing the nasty with Bieber or any of the like on Facebook. 
She's seen more than I have.
In parting, I would like to wish you happy travels on the virtual superhighway that is The Internet. You're probably going to get Rickrolled, more than likely you'll see a Taiwanese lady that's actually a man, and you're definitely going to throw up a little bit in the back of your mouth at least once. But if you stay alert, and you use a little common sense, you might just avoid seeing gay porn at the tender age of 12. Unless that's your thing. 

Via con Dios.