Before the Internet, you had to be nice to people in order to make a living. You had to show up for work. Once you showed up, you had to work eight hours with other humans without getting fired.
But an Internet generation has learned how to get rich without being civil. Let me give you an example. At Blog World 2011, I met an entrepreneur who built a very lucrative Internet-based business. Yet he was easily one of the rudest people I’ve ever met. “If you worked at McDonald’s, you’d get fired before your second day,” I said. “Of course I would!” he said, nose tilted high. “But I’ve escaped that jungle and created my own world.” He was proud he could be rude to anyone he pleased and still make a comfortable living with his home-based business.
I don’t have to tell you this is plain wrong. It makes me mad just thinking about it. These guys sit behind their computers creating software and solving real world problems, write flawless landing pages that state all the shiny benefits of their one-stop solutions, and go to bed with the cash registers ringing in their ears. Then they take their money and buy all kinds of crazy stuff, and repeat the cycle without ever worrying about how other people feel. Since they don’t know what it’s like to work in a real business environment, they forget that the rest of the world doesn’t operate this way. In the REAL world, your success largely depends on getting along with people.
The Internet has simulated a fake world, one in which you can create your own rules and potentially build moneymaking machines. It’s not natural and it’s not healthy. It sounds good on the surface but it’s utterly destructive to social competency, ethics, responsibility, and morality.
The Internet is stripping away America’s humanity. It’s turning people into antisocial passive-aggressive maniacs. If all electronics were confiscated for six months, it would do America a HUGE favor. People wouldn’t be able to hide behind their laptops and phones. They would be forced to rediscover the adrenaline rush of working with other humans in the same room, and they’d have to learn how to get along with them.
The demographic that bothers me the most is the 20-year-old white male. He doesn’t know how to work. He doesn’t know how to talk. He doesn’t even know how to make eye contact. Oh yes, he can type 70 words per minute. He can text behind the professor’s back in class. He can party all-hours behind a gaming system.
But put him in front of a human being? He’s lost.
My advice: keep your day job, find one, or create one. If it doesn’t include a physical location, GET ONE. If it doesn’t include humans, FIND SOME. If it must include computers, CONTROL THEM.
And whatever you do, be polite about it. Please.