Sep 15, 2011

It's Easy to Be An Asshole Online

It's very easy to be an asshole in the virtual world. I know. I've been that asshole many times. I've "fought" with people, I've argued with complete intention of embarrassing and showing down the other person, I've picked unnecessary squabbles with people, I've irritated and instigated, I've poked fun at people who were in trouble or in pain. I've done all that. And I am OK with that. The people on the other end also seem ok with that because they never retaliated hard enough. Which is a shitty reason.

Let me give you an example of asshole behavior. Suppose, I see you walking towards me in a mall and instead of stepping aside and letting you pass, I push you back. You can now either turn back or try to walk by me again. But I will push you again. I will push you till you turn back. If you want to pass, then you have to push me back. Or, you can punch me in the face till I give up and let you pass. 

Practicing peace in the face of violence will only get you beaten. Either hit back, or go home.

Come back to the online world now. 

What we face/practice in the online world is a kind of emotional violence. This is the ugly side of online interaction. The jokes we make on others are on the expense of their pain. Which is the point of every joke, but the lines are blurred in the online world. Now, why would causing hurt/discomfort to others make you feel good? Because it emphasizes the alpha dog instinct in you. It makes you feel powerful. Gives you a fake and fleeting sense of confidence that you're some how more clever and better than the other person.

Let's take another example. The Grammar nazis. If someone's grammar error bothers you so much that you will compose a tweet and then append the hashtag and go through the trouble of posting it, why the fuck don't you DM that person to tell them the correct grammar usage? Hell, write an essay about grammar usage and email it to them if it bothers you so much. But why embarrass another person in public? Because it's easy? Because it's fun? Because you can pass it as a fucking joke? "Haha, I was just kidding man, take it easy. No offence intended!" No, it's because you're sitting comfortably in front of your computer or with your phone in your hand and the person on the other end won't smash your face in with a brick. That's fucking why.

Because, oh, it's so easy to be an asshole online, while being nice to people will make your shit stop in your gut and probably kill you.

You want to make a joke, make a joke. It's fun the first time, the second or the third time, but when you're after people's lives like a monkey fed on cocaine with a mobile phone in its hand, then there will be feedback. There will be retaliation. You will find someone waiting for you around a corner with a brick in his hand and hate in his heart. What you find funny will definitely not be funny to other people, specially when they are at the receiving end of the joke, for about a 100th time.

To sum up, try not being an asshole for a change. 

This post has a contradiction. Maybe two. Can you spot them?



  1. Talking about contradiction, I could just spot one. You start with being an asshole at a lot of times while end with the statement that one shouldnot try to be an asshole but try being nice. Btw nice read. Was good reading the reality :)

  2. I'm pretty sure you're confused about whether you want to be an asshole or not just as I am.

    Here's my day:

  3. I remember reading a similar kinda article in TOI long time back though..

    The most important point of being a bully or asshole online is the complete Anonymity it offers, And the anonymity gives you the power that you would never do if people knew who you were!

    That's the real reason I feel people act the way they do online!

  4. people are cruel. it is easier to be cruel when no one can retaliate. Not much anyway.
    By the way; Like my new avatar?
    I felt a change.

  5. I love this, I think we are all assholes but the BEST asshole is he who is brave to simply walk away from the fight.