Signs My Online Presence Has Been Hijacked

By Jason Menard,

It’s the great social media cop-out: when one posts something mind-bogglingly stupid/racist/sexist/homophobic, the traditional blame is placed on ‘being hacked.’ You never know when it’s going to happen to you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So, dear readers, my list of things, if you hear me say or do on-line, means that someone’s hijacked my Twitter feed or Facebook account, or has forced me posting against my will.

[Insert name here] is winning/won the Internet

We just can’t say something’s funny anymore. Epic overuse isn’t enough – now every meme, every Twitter response, every clever cartoon is now ‘winning’ the Internet.

Every week there’s a new ‘champion’ crowned.

Of course, I also don’t believe that People Magazine should continue to crown a Sexiest Man Alive. After all, Mark Harmon’s still kicking and his dreamy blue eyes and chiseled good looks haven’t faded since his 1986 coronation.


No smiley face, no winky-face, no grumpy face. Just words. The only emoticon you may see me use is the Facebook emoticon grin, but that’s only because I don’t notice that my list has been autocorrected by the system.

So, in the end, my list of points looks like A), smiley face), C)…

Animated GIFs

Apparently they’re like the Lays of Internet-based lists – you can’t just use one. One of my favourite sites, which shall remain nameless because normally it’s a fantastic communications resource, tends to overdo the animate GIFs.

It seems that a title and well-crafted copy isn’t enough these days. We have to find a semi-relevant pop culture reference and shoehorn it into our copy. And then have it play on hyperactive repeat.

I actively avoided Full House when it was on TV. I don’t need to see a GIF of whatever Olsen spawn it is saying “That’s rude” over. And over. And over…

Godwin’s Law

If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s essentially a belief that any on-line debate, someone will eventually throw out a Nazi or Hitler comparison.

Twitter, especially, is a place rife with off-the-handle commentary, rampant hypocrisy (see the recent orgy of Rob Ford jokes (a man who likely suffers from addiction issues) from those usually at the fore of anti-bullying/show-compassion speeches. In fact, the alleged anti-bully crowd is often the worst perpetuator of bullying behaviour on Twitter. But that’s an aside for other days.

The point is that perspective is often the first casualty in any on-line discussion. I try to employ sober second (and third) thought to my posts and generally only blog if I can offer a solution.

Hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, and puerile schoolyard-esque behaviour do nothing to further actual debate. Nor does it make for an inclusive, open environment.

I try to post based upon two principles: attack the idea, not the person; and offer solutions, not just criticisms. And never, never invoke hyperbolic Nazi comments.

Of course, when it comes to discussing how evil the Leafs are, then nothing’s off the table.

Irresponsible “Did-You-See-This”isms

That same Web browser you’re using to access Twitter or Facebook also allows you to use other sites like Google, Snopes, or Wikipedia.

So if there’s a story being shared about how horrible one group is being to another, or explaining how Person X is actually a supporter of Kitten Beating, before you share, you may want to verify.

I know, fact-finding back in my day it involved trudging down to the library and flipping through a 10-years-out-of-date Encyclopedia Britannica, so it was less convenient. But the scope of our misinformation was usually limited to the radius of our equally-moronic pre-teenage friends, so the damage was small.

Now, too many falsehoods are spread to people. Like Gwynne Dyer once said to me many moons ago when I had the honour of having lunch with him and we discussed the then-emerging Internet (Thanks Bob Klanac!): “Those conspiracy theory types have always been around; now they just have a forum to spread their lunacy.”

There you have it. If you see any of these coming from me, call the authorities.

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