The secret backbone of the internet
There is nothing quite like being a kid online. It’s the perfect fusion of brain sponge and brackish information water. There is real power to being anonymous when you’re too young for anyone to take you seriously, and you get mad neurotransmitter rewards for all the immersive learning you happen to do with every click. And it only makes sense that as you get a little bit older and start to reconcile yourself with the idea that information doesn’t just exist, it’s generated by people behind a keyboard, just like you, that you want to contribute too. Being online and knowing what’s new makes you feel smarter and more tapped in than the adults in your life.
This all plays into my theory that everyone online that is not explicitly 30 is 12.
Everyone abnormally weird and stupid on Twitter is 12. Every Instagram comment on a celebrity photo about some beef is a 12 year old. Every “stan community” war is conducted by an army of pre-pubescent little freaks. Every single comment on TikTok is by a 12 year old.
Once you become 12-year-old-pilled, you start seeing everything online differently. Sure, you think, this tweet is stupid, and would be easy to dunk on, but the person who posted it is literally reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid right now. Sure, these TikTok comments attempting to cancel someone for being vaguely toxic are exhausting and stupid, but the person who wrote them just learned about the water cycle, so who cares. Everyone who engages in online fights is probably 12 or doesn’t realize they’re fighting a 12 year old.
Having the forbidden knowledge that 12-year-olds create and consume most of the stuff online lets you float through websites serenely, high up in the air, looking down on the petty battles and vulgar epithets with a dispassionate gaze.
There’s something else about 12 year olds, though—they have the time and energy to do online work that adults have no interest in doing.
Look at this lyric video for Hasa Diga Eebowai from the Book of Mormon. You really think an adult made this? Why would they?
Look at the Wikipedia page for The Guardians of Ga’Hoole. Everything about this page screams 12 year old; in fact I’m so into this page I wrote about it for our first newsletter.
The internet is secretly built on a backbone of child information labor. It’s okay, they want to do it, but I sort of feel like one should keep in mind that everyone that isn’t you is probably 12, and act accordingly.
I remember some thing where you could pay to have a bunch of Indian school children say whatever you want in front of a chalkboard. I don’t know if that was fake or real. But it was fucked up.