The Internet is not an excuse to be boring, stupid, or cruel. Well, cruel's fine. So join me in taking the Pledge to Not Suck at the Internet. Those who pledge get no actual privilege or prize, and the false sense of superiority is a redundant prize for you, but you can maybe make a newsletter for yourselves.
I, (your name or handle here, unless it contains a year other than your birth year, the word "sux," or the number 69 — in these cases you're not yet ready for the pledge), pledge that:
I will never comment on a blog saying "Why do we care?" because if I don't care, I can go away from the blog. Instead I will sit back and have a good five-minute think about my life.
I will not sign up to Twitter or a blog just to write "I am getting my hair done" or other inanities. Every message I write will be entertaining and/or informative; e.g. "Getting a beehive hairdo so I won't fit under the parking garage clearance pole" or "I am on fire, please assist me." (Note: The latter is appropriate only if my hair is, in reality, on fire.)
I will not consider meeting people off the Internet "creepy," because look at me, I'm normal and I answered the Craigslist ad and here I am in the front of the bar alone, looking over my shoulder like a criminal, waiting for my Craigslist date.
I will only add up to one application per month on Facebook. This application will not be a zombie maker, werewolf maker, "top friends" maker, or anything that serves no purpose and is not, again, entertaining and/or informative.
I will hand my Yelp posts to a friend who works in writing or editing, and I will ask them to rip it to shreds, because I am not an awesome writer but in fact a terrible breezy writer. If I am a regular contributor to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, I will now stop writing ANYTHING on the Internet and will now back away from the keyboard.
I will trick people into seeing Goatse, because that is funny and will never not be funny.
I will not comment on YouTube.
I will not add a signature to my forum posts that is more than half the length of my average post. I will definitely not put ASCII art in my signature, because I recognize that 1993 is over and the Internet has pictures.
After one year of commenting on other people's work without producing any of my own, I will produce some work and allow others to comment on it. I am allowed to then lash out at my commenters, but I acknowledge that that polemic will become my only well-known work.
My new blog's title and tagline will not contain these words: random, musings, "just some thoughts," "my crazy/demented/unique brain", or by Perez Hilton.
I will not invite a "friend" on Facebook if I've never actually communicated with them, even if "we share like 15 friends so I guess it's time we connect." Instead I will wait until I meet these people socially, or get my friends to set us up on a blind date because let's admit it, that's all I really want.
I will never leave a comment expressing adulation or criticism in three or fewer words, unless I am doing so in an altogether unique way. "FAIL" is not a unique way. Neither is "LOLzers."
Photo by Getty Images. Nick Douglas writes at Valleywag and Too Much Nick. He pledges to the above, except for the bit about "LOLzers."