So I’m dicking around online this morning, and a friend shared some theories about a show she’s been watching (with spoilers amply warned for) and an invitation for friends who are also watching to discuss. Other people who watch the show weigh in and are happily trading theories and easter eggs and everything is fine until…
THE CONTENT-FREE INTERRUPTER(S)
“I haven’t gotten around to watching that yet.”
“I watched the first episode but didn’t like it.”
“It really doesn’t seem like my thing.”
“I never really got the appeal.”
Let me translate all of those for you:
“Hello! I have literally nothing to add!”
I’ve written before about how tedious I find Geeky Dominance Displays where “I am a fan of X, do you also like X?” gets answered with an automatic”No, X sucks, let me tell you the reasons!” or “Cool, let me download everything I know about X into you and truly test your knowledge to see if you are a Real Fan!” Those conversations can suck but at least everyone is, like, engaged?
Nobody having a fun discussion of a thing they are intensely watching was waiting for you (not YOU-you since y’all are pretty great Internet Discussers, but, General Internet You) to weigh in just to tell us that you don’t know anything about it. It’s okay if you haven’t watched whatever it is – there’s no pop quiz! There are also no extra points awarded for class participation.
If someone in an online discussion asks you specifically if you’ve seen something or like something (you’ll know when, because they’ll use your name), then of course answer truthfully. And as a default, if you want to talk about something you haven’t seen or suspect isn’t your thing…
…I don’t know…
…start with a question…?
Such as: “I haven’t watched it/I suspect it’s not my jam, but what did you like about it?”
It is also okay to scroll on by casual conversations your friends about things you don’t like or care or know anything about! Your silence can be its own beautiful communication of your lack of interest! Find (or start) a separate discussion of the things you care about!
Maybe it’s also my 53-day-and-counting USA election hangover, but we’ve also got to kill the “I didn’t bother to read the article you linked but I am going to argue extensively about what I suspect is in it + unrelated matters I have opinions about” comment. If you care enough to type, care enough to read. If you didn’t care enough to read, maybe you don’t care enough to type. See how easy that is? It’s okay if you don’t have time to read everything your friends post. It’s okay! No need to weigh in on something you haven’t read and don’t know about. Tell your friends and family and let’s make this beautiful Internet 10,000 times less tedious.
Captain Awkward & Family
P.S. Awkward Spouse would like to send out a special message to people who review online recipes like this:
This recipe is terrible! I substituted every ingredient with a different ingredient, cooked it for a different length of time using a different method, and followed not a single instruction. It didn’t turn out at all! One star!
P.P.S. Awkward Cat also says Happy New Year, or, what she would say if she cared about years or internet comments, or anything at all.