Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Monday, 28 November 2011

How to behave on the internet.

AS SOCIETY has changed over time - be it aqueducts, cars, the telephone or iThings - humans have consistently failed to change with it.

That's why the social norms of paying your rent, working hard, and sticking with one partner fall apart under the urgings of the limbic system which tell the caveman in all of us to fritter, shirk and fornicate. The wiring of the human brain is based around the needs for food, warmth, shelter and procreation, and getting along with other people only as a means to one of those ends.

We talk less to each other in the flesh and more than ever before via the internet, a place where there is no body language, nuance, rule or apology. You have no idea whether the person you are talking to is a strapping 6ft Royal Marine who happens to appreciate the music of JLS, or a 70-something grandma who surfs the web looking for new nunchucks.

So in the style of Pippa Middleton being paid a mind-bending £400,000 for a book about how to throw children's parties - because let's face it, only a posh girl tangentially linked to royalty could possibly understand the complexities involved - here are some basic tips on internet etiquette for those of us whose unrefined brains struggle with it.

* The purpose of the internet is to ensure everyone has the same opinion. For preference, yours.

* And to look at boobs. For preference, someone else's.

* Be aware that everyone else on the internet is wrong. Always. Unless you agree with them or they have great boobs, in which case the two of you are best friends and it is all the others who are wrong.

* Everyone is on the internet because they know they're wrong really and just need you to tell them this. They enjoy it! Particularly Stephen Fry.

* Don't just tut, ignore or avoid someone you disagree with as you might in a public place. This is considered rude. The correct form is to get their attention and then TYPE OBSCENITIES, preferably in CAPITAL LETTERS. They will soon realise they were incorrect and see things your way.

* Do not attempt reasoned argument, or a polite discussion. They will never agree with you like that.

* Do assume the person you disagree with is one of Satan's personal horned minions from the blackest pits of hell, intent on poking out children's spleens with pointed sticks of flame, and address them accordingly. Do not, whatever you do, presume they may be entitled to an opinion, didn't see the same thing you did or perhaps have said something silly or ill-judged in the way humans have for millennia. The internet has made silliness impossible, except on YouTube where it is allowed.

* Anything written on the internet is a fact. Most of it has been personally approved by Stephen Fry. Even the boobs.

* If you mention a TV, music or film celebrity on the internet and they respond, this makes you better than everyone else you know. If you mention them in the ways outlined here, you are better than everyone else on the internet and are 30% better at sex than you were before.

* Your social status can be deduced from your use of acronyms and links. People who LOL are chavs and those who link to things you do not agree with are EVIL.

* It is illegal for anyone to disagree with any of the above. If they do, they can be hit over the head with a rock or in extreme cases banned from Starbucks for life.

Now I don't know about you, but I have some evolving to do.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?