Stop anthropomorphizing the internet


But ‘The Internet’ is shorthand for ‘The people on The Internet’, who are people (except the ones who are dogs). Certainly in the examples given in terms of reactions to TV shows etc.

Should I stop anthropomorphising people?


Yes. Please stop anthropomorphisizisisisisisizizizlling me and everyone else. You’re just a number anyways.


The Internet hates when people do that.


I don’t know if it’s any worse than “America” or “the electorate” or “people…” We got a real Georg Simmel over here. I mean, couldn’t this author have just wrote, “The Internet is not a person, for more on this, read chapter 3 of a Sociology 101 book, then come back…I’ll wait.”

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If we do that, Evgeny Morozov will have nothing left to write about.

Agreed: it’s a metonymy. Like all types of metaphor, technical accuracy isn’t really the idea, and complaining about them on that ground is kind of beside the point. When someone says the kettle is boiling, you don’t argue about how much heat it takes to vaporize ceramics.


The internet?

OH! You mean Steve!


I came here to say this. Lazy writer is lazy.


I want to work a “Not All Men” joke in here somewhere, but it’s just not coming to me.

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Things like this makes Internets sads.

Of course it’s not “a human being”; it’s a bunch of cats.


“Stop generalizing everyone” is right up there in the paradox department with “Only Siths deal in absolutes.”

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That’s OK, the internet is tired of that joke anyway.


Yes, the author almost covers this with a few seconds of awareness. How I found this amid the drivel, I’m not sure:

Awl co-founder Alex Balk hit on this point earlier in the year with a series of perspicacious tweets. “The Internet is the chair you stub a toe on and curse at,” he wrote. “CHAIR DON’T CARE! It’s an inanimate object! YOU’RE the toe-stubbing schmuck.” After dismantling the logic of blaming some nonhuman entity for self-inflicted injury, Balk rolled through with an all-caps pronouncement for the ages. “THE INTERNET IS PEOPLE,” he wrote. “The problem is people. Everything can be reduced to this one statement. People are awful. Especially you, especially me. Given how terrible we all are it’s a wonder the Internet isn’t so much worse.”

There is much to be taken from that blast of clear thinking. For one thing, it highlights a crucial difference between past anthropomorphizing of the newspaper or the media, and what’s going on when we do the same sort of thing with the Internet. When we referred to “The Media” in this way in the past, we weren’t pointing fingers that should have been directed at ourselves. As Waytz puts it, The Media “was not us. That was someone whose job it was to report what’s going on. What distinguishes the Internet is that it’s not just a place to hear the news of the day. It’s a place where we do connect with people.” We get a large percentage of our “news” from friends via social media, and now more than ever before, everyday people are the ones producing and creating and sharing the stories, videos, and information we ultimately despise.

Then again, maybe he’s right. Maybe most people are anthropomorphising the internet to distance themselves from everything that’s awful on it, however, I have a hunch that he’s in a stupid minority.

“…what psychologists refer to as anthropomorphizing.”

In as much as psychologists are a subset of people that psychologists refer to as “users of the English language educated to at least middle school level,” that is a true statement.

Did the author have a word count minimum to reach?


Seriously man, she’s right there.