I know that the web can be a strange place. You can be innocently looking for something quite, well innocent and before you know it you’ve got yourself into some very dark and dangerous place.
Today I decided it was time to properly explore the depths of WordPress. These were two hours of my life that I will never get back and have left me pretty scarred – which is actually a difficult task when you’ve led the life I have.
It all started off pretty reasonable. There were a few strange personal blogs, political blogs, religious blogs and even the occasional fetish blog. All pretty ‘normal’ stuff in the world of the http://www. Then things turned a little surreal after stumbling on what I can only describe as a WordPress version of the old school web-ring; the Leibster Blog award.
Just for those like myself who have not yet properly probed the beast this award is, from my observations, just a novel way of giving bloggers a little bit of promotion who would otherwise probably not receive it. But be warned; having followed some of the blog suggestions that you have to make in order for the system to work I entered a world of pain, misery and pity. It was somewhere that I didn’t want to be and never want to return to.
So what did I find in this place? Well it reminded me a lot of the early days of the internet. Back when people who had a slight flair for html and a modest (to say the best) level creativity were creating websites about everything that you don’t really want to know about. From a design perspective they made Damien Hirst’s more macabre efforts seem like one of Monets sunflower paintings.
Then you have the content. Plagiarism is rife. Many posts were simply collections of pictures, quotes or artwork lovingly created by others but shared without any acknowledgement of who the original artist, photographer or writer was. These were often placed alongside some drivel that made as much sense as a Klingon Opera (to someone who doesn’t even know what a Klingon is – obviously).
The darkness continued as I came across a few conspiracy theory blogs. Secret societies, government organisations and extraterrestrial aliens were the top agendas but one in particular was trying to convince people that everything on the www was being monitored by the CIA.
Things became darker still as I ventured even deeper into the Gothic realms. Now I have friends who are Goths and have no problem with this way of life but what I found on some of these pages sent a ghostly shiver down my spine. These were personal blogs that talked openly about self-harm and suicide. Some talked about “taking the muggles with me” – Muggles? Ain’t that something from Harry Potter? And “Take the muggles with me” damn, suddenly that conspiracy guy’s claim that the CIA is monitoring everything on the internet actually makes me feel a little bit more confortable.
Still the darkest of all were the fansites. I’ve never used the term before but “O-M-G!” These people are proof if indeed proof was ever needed that some people should really be humanly euthanized! Now there is the ‘normal’ fansites where people who enjoy a certain subject, band or celebrity go to geek out on their chosen muse and then there’s the ‘insane fansite posse’.
I witnessed one young lad who had a really weird crush on bollards. Yes bollards – those things in the road that stop traffic riding up on the pavement. His front page was full of pictures of him looking gormless posing next to run-of-the-mill bollards. Weird. Then there was a girl who took photos of computer keyboards, even naming the model of said keyboard and what devices it was used on. But the mother-of-all the insane fansite posse has to be the dozens of Justin Bieber appreciation sites that I had to wade through like a flood of human faeces.
So what have I learned in my not-so-scientific study? Well for one I have learned that using WordPress one can create blogs that can match and even eclipse many of the garish mid 00’s MySpace profiles. I have witnessed pain and tragedy, psychos and right-wing nutters but was lucky enough to escape with little more than a headache and a little emotional scarring. But most of all I have made a mental note to stay well away from anyone believing they are vampires or wizards.
But it’s not all bad. I actually found some great blogs too. So much so that they will appear in a new monthly post that describes the best blogs I find on WordPress and beyond. The post will be called “Diabolical Blogger” and will be posted sometime soon.
Well that’s it for now folks, but have you ever spent time browsing the darker realms of the internet and if you did what did you find?