Disclaimer: I’m not saying previous generations didn’t do any of this stuff, but given that this is the time I’m living in, I can speak from firsthand experience.
1. Confusing not having to justify our actions with being unable to justify our actions.
Don’t-have-to-explain-myself and can’t-explain-myself are entirely different concepts. Don’t-have-to is a defense mechanism for can’t. People do incredibly crappy things to each other and revel in the fact that technically there’s no explanation necessary. LIFE IS A ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY STORE, LET’S BREAK IN AND LOOT. We’re convinced that inconsiderate or irrational behavior shows some odd form of confidence, because you don’t worry about being well liked or clarifying your actions to others. Entirely too often, the simple fact is that we can’t justify the bad things that we’ve done. I get it, it’s great to free yourself from the chains of society’s judgment, but it’s also nice to be capable of validating your actions, at the very least, to yourself.
2. Replacing the phrase “Call an ambulance!” with “Are you recording this?”
It’s incredible how many emergencies are recorded by people who could also just put down their camera and help other humans not die, even if that just means calling 911. Um, hey, I’m drowning in this lake, would you mind calling for help or at least running the video you’re taking through an Amaro filter when it goes on Instagram so my death can be replayed in an aesthetically satisfying hue. Don’t worry, my demise isn’t a huge deal – now if your video is being recorded vertically, that would be tragic.
3. Doing idiotic things and calling it a “prank.”
Any day now, a YouTube prankster will die because they tried to do or say something moronic to the wrong person. Their subpar explanation/plea of “Wait, it’s a prank, it’s just a prank!” won’t work, and they’ll suffer the harshest of penalties. It’s incredible the stuff people are pulling off that’s gone from invasive to aggressive to testing patience to now double-dog-daring someone to physically harm ‘em. I won’t link to any videos because that’d promote the jackasses who make ‘em, but here are a few examples of the ill-advised garbage currently being done on YouTube.
1. Pranks in the hood: Go to a poor neighborhood full of minorities and harass them until they lash out.
2. Surprise kiss girls prank: Go up to girls and kiss them on the mouth without permission. Usually they’ll have the ladies close their eyes or something, as the prankster/pervert pretends this is somehow amusing and adorable.
3. Pretend to steal someone’s stuff/pretend you’re going to kill them: Prankster will ask to use a person’s phone then run off with it, or place a briefcase next to someone and run as if it’s a bomb.
It’s like they don’t realize that the phrase “it’s a prank” isn’t a magical phrase that stops a furious person’s reaction or makes anything they’ve done acceptable.
4. Choosing to try recording evidence of every experience instead of actually living in the moment.
People eat lukewarm meals because they had to take the picture, filter it, come up with the hashtags and share it on Instagram before taking a bite. People have video footage of songs being played at concerts that they can re-watch countless times, though they can’t recall it happening in person because they were playing camera operator. Yes, it’s incredible that we can share awesome sights and instances, but it sucks to focus so much on showing others how great something is that you forget to thoroughly enjoy it for yourself.
5. Abusing internet anonymity.
Internet commenters are like ultra malicious versions of Simon Cowell on steroids. Many aren’t just harsh critics, they’re out for blood. It’s making us an insensitive bunch, as cowards can anonymously say horrible things and never have to see the results of their mean-spirited words. We don’t have a human person legitimately sad or crying their eyes out in front of us, we can only downvote or hopelessly reply and move on.
6. Making everything about ourselves.
Look at me volunteering! Look at me handing this homeless man a dollar! Look at me taking the ice bucket challenge! Hey, I get that the last one has raised a remarkable amount of money, I just find it sad that the only way to spread awareness was to concoct a plan that offers people a chance to have their own moment in the spotlight before donating or whatever.
7. Having a desire for achievements without valuing the actual meaning.
The achievements differ, from wanting recognition to longing for materials and everything in between. I want 10,000 Instagram followers, but I don’t care about building a relationship with those people, I just want them to suddenly exist and praise all of my posts. I want to have a lot of money but I don’t want to like, do stuff to earn that wealth. So many people just want stuff immediately, and with no sentimental value required.
8. Aggressively bashing and/or mocking different belief systems & personal lifestyles.
It’s almost as if peacefully disagreeing isn’t an option, and we have to yell or turn on CAPS LOCK to aggressively educate any buffoon who doesn’t agree with us. It’s sad because the internet offers an opportunity to be introduced to and learn about various cultures, perspectives and opinions, yet so many people shutdown and hate on anything that doesn’t fit their system. We have every reason to be the most tolerant, empathetic, humane generation the world will ever see, yet you turn on the news or go to any YouTube comment section and it’s clear that we aren’t.
9. Holding a large percentage of communication over text messages.
It’s impersonal and full of abbreviations and acronyms to keep the interaction as hasty, short and detached as possible. Then we wonder why so many people are socially awkward. With the lack of in the flesh, face-to-face interaction we have, Skype & FaceTime are like hooked on phonics for reading body language. That’s sad. Here’s an acronym for you constant texters to decode: WNTDBASAP.
10. Oversharing all of the things.
Not every little thing your brain spews out needs to be photographed, video recorded or written into 140 characters or less statements, and shared with the masses in a potentially permanent, inerasable abyss. It’s not like someone’s got you at gunpoint forcing you to use social media, and if they do, chances are it’s just a YouTube prank, so lighten up.