Blake Boston, the young man who appears in the "Scumbag Steve" photo-meme (a picture of a teenager in a sort of "urban" outfit, captioned with various wry sayings that imply that "Steve" is kind of a jerk) sent a moving and sensible letter to "Annoying Facebook Girl" (another meme-unfortunate, featuring a photo of a girl pulling a face, captioned with expressions of enthusiasm over irrelevancies). Boston/Steve has clearly experienced a serious impact on his life as a result of his meme-status, and has given the matter a lot of thought.
But here’s what I need you to know. When you go off to college, and you’re walking down the hall and a group of kids see you and scream, “Oh my god it’s Annoying Facebook Girl,” don’t cry. You see. Some people can’t distinguish the internet from real life. There are people who refuse to believe my name isn’t Steve and that I am not really the scumbag (well not all the time, that is). Just remember who you are. And that you know you’re a decent kid.
You’re going to be in shock for a while, when you see what people have written. But the most important and self-preserving thing you can do is know that it’s not you. You can’t take this personally. I’ll say that again, you can’t take this personally. Hell if I did… well let’s not go there.
The part that will suck though is that there will always be those people that somehow think YOU did this, that you made the meme, and that you could stop it if you wanted to. That you have some control over it. You don’t. The internet birthed you and they’ll decide when you (the meme) will die.
There will also be those people who assuage their guilt by telling you how great it is, how lucky you are to be a meme. Just smile. What they are really saying is, thank god it wasn’t me.
Scumbag Steve’s Advice for Annoying Facebook Girl
Google is downranking websites that use pejorative, racist terms like n*gger, so the awful people of 4chan and /pol/ are replacing that word with “google.”
It’s been more than 20 years since the publication of Making Book, Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s collection of essays, mostly drawn from the pre-online days of fanzines and letters columns; this year, in honor of Teresa’s stint as Fan Guest of Honor at Midamericon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, NESFA Press has published a second volume: Making Conversation, a collection of essays drawn from the online world on subjects as varied as moderation and trolling, cooking, hamster-rearing, fanfic, narcolepsy, the engineering marvels of the IBM Selectric, and more.
Someone — possibly the government of China — has launched a series of probing attacks on the internet’s most critical infrastructure, using carefully titrated doses of denial-of-service to precisely calibrate a tool for shutting down the whole net.
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