Welcome to The Internet

Welcome to The Internet

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About

Welcome to The Internet” is a catchphrase can be used to genuinely welcome someone to navigating the web itself or to the internet culture. Alternatively, it can be used as a sarcastic insult to mock those who are not familiar with how internet culture works, for example, in response to someone being disgusted by something they saw online or reposted outdated content. It is commonly found as a caption on image macros and GIFs, sometimes paired with the phrase “I will be your guide.”

Origin

The phrase was first uttered in the February 15th, 1998 episode of The Simpsons titled “Das Bus”[2] in which Homer Simpson attempts to operate an internet provider service out of his home. Knowing nothing about what he was getting in to, when a customer comes to procure hardware, Homer greets him with “Welcome to the Internet, my friend, how can I help you?” (shown below).



Online, the phrase took on a more exclusionary point of view in a January 2000 blog post by redpaw.[3] The lengthy post was directed towards individuals who were not familiar with internet culture and introduced the idea of the internet as a “meritocracy,” where people are not judged by what they possess offline, but by how they interact with others in virtual space. It also provided 19 guidelines suggesting how to interact with people on forums, chat rooms, web pages and e-mail. That year, the message was reposted on a number of LiveJournal blogs[4], message boards[5] and Usenet groups.[6]

Welcome to the Internet.

No one here likes you.

We’re going to offend, insult, abuse, and belittle the living hell out of you. And when you rail against us with “FUCK YOU YOU GEEK WIMP SKATER GOTH LOSER PUNK FAG BITCH!1!!”, we smile to ourselves. We laugh at you because you don’t get it. Then we turn up the heat, hoping to draw more entertainment from your irrational fuming.

We will judge you, and we will find you unworthy. It is a trial by fire, and we won’t even think about turning down the flames until you finally understand.

Some of you are smart enough to realize that, when you go online, it’s like entering a foreign country … and you know better than to ignorantly fuck with the locals. You take the time to listen and think before speaking. You learn, and by learning are gladly welcomed.

For some of you, it takes a while, then one day it all dawns on you – you get it, and are welcomed into the fold.

Some of you give up, and we breathe a sigh of relief – we didn’t want you here anyway. And some of you just never get it. The offensively clueless have a special place in our hearts – as objects of ridicule. We don’t like you, but we do love you.

You will get mad. You will tell us to go to hell, and call us “nerds” and “geeks”. Don’t bother … we already know exactly what we are. And, much like the way hardcore rap has co-opted the word “nigger”, turning an insult around on itself to become a semiserious badge of honor, so have we done.

“How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high school/college!” You may have owned the playing field because you were an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world.

Things like athleticism, popularity, and physical prowess mean nothing here. We place no value on them … or what car you drive, the size of your bank account, what you do for a living or where you went to school.

Allow us to introduce you to the concept of a “meritocracy” – the closest thing to a form of self-government we have. In The United Meritocratic nation-states of the Internet, those who can do, rule. Those who wish to rule, learn. Everyone else watches from the stands.

You may posses everything in the off-line world. We don’t care. You come to the Internet penniless, lacking the only thing of real value here: knowledge.

“Who cares? The Internet isn’t real anyway!” This attitude is universally unacceptable. The Internet is real. Real people live behind those handles and screen names. Real machines allow it to exist. It’s real enough to change government policy, real enough to feed the world’s hungry, and even, for some of us, real enough to earn us a paycheck. Using your own definition, how “real” is your job? Your stock portfolio? Your political party? What is the meaning of “real”, anyway?

Do I sound arrogant? Sure … to you. Because you probably don’t get it yet.

If you insist on staying, then, at the very least, follow this advice:

1) No one, ESPECIALLY YOU, will make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

2) Use your brain before ever putting fingers to keys.

3) Do you want a picture of you getting anally raped by Bill Clinton while you’re performing oral sex on a cow saved to hundreds of thousands of people’s hard drives? No? Then don’t put your fucking picture on the Internet. We can, will, and probably already HAVE altered it in awful ways. Expect it to show up on an equally offensive website.

4) Realize that you are never, EVER going to get that, or any other, offensive web page taken down. Those of us who run those sites LIVE to piss off people like you. Those of us who don’t run those sites sometimes visit them just to read the hatemail from fools like you.

5) Oh, you say you’re going to a lawyer? Be prepared for us to giggle with girlish delight, and for your lawyer to laugh in your face after he explains current copyright and parody law.

6) The Web is not the Internet. Stop referring to it that way.

7) We have already received the e-mail you are about to forward to us. Shut up.

8) Don’t reply to spam. You are not going to be “unsubscribed”.

9) Don’t ever use the term “cyberspace” (only William Gibson gets to say that, and even he hasn’t really used it for two or three books now). Likewise, you prove yourself a marketing-hype victim if you ever use the term “surfing”.

10) With one or two notable exceptions, chat rooms will not get you laid.

11) It’s a hoax, not a virus warning.

12) The internet is made up of thousands of computers, all connected but owned by different people. Learn how to use your computer before attempting to connect it to someone else’s.

13) The first person who offers to help you is really just trying to fuck with you for entertainment. So is the second. And the third. And me.

14) Never insult someone who’s been active in any group longer than you have. You may as well paint a damn target on your back.

15) Never get comfortable and arrogant behind your supposed mask of anonymity. Don’t be surprised when your name, address, and home phone number get thrown back in your smug face. Hell, some of us will snail-mail you a printed satellite photograph of your house to drive the point home. Realize that you are powerless if this happens … it’s all public information, and information is our stock and trade.

16) No one thinks you are as cool as you think you are.

17) You aren’t going to win any argument that you start.

18) If you’re on AOL, don’t worry about anything I’ve said here. You’re already a fucking laughing stock, and there’s no hope for you.

19) If you can’t take a joke, immediately sell your computer to someone who can. RIGHT NOW.

Pissed off? It’s the TRUTH, not these words, that hurts your feelings. Don’t ever even pretend like I’ve gone & hurt them.

We don’t like you. We don’t want you here. We never will. Save us all the trouble and go away.

Spread

In May 2004, the first Welcome to the Internet YTMND site (shown below) was created.[8] The phrase continued to be associated with a sense of elitism about understanding how internet culture works in a March 2005 blog post on Websnark[7] concerning privacy issues on LiveJournal. On June 11th, 2006 the single serving site WelcomeToInternet.org[9] was created, using video game-style victory fanfare music before a voice yells “INTERNET!” over a flash animation of the word slowly growing larger on the screen. The same month, a member of the Relic News forum[10] started a thread complaining about the poor interpersonal behavior he witnessed on a human cloning message board. A handful of Relic News posters responded with “welcome to the internet,” assuring the OP that not everything online is going to be ideal.



On September 15th, 2007, Welcome to the Internet was first added to Urban Dictionary.[11] By February 2008, image macros with the phrase began to appear on humor sites including eBaum’s World.[12] The same month, the phrase also began to be used on 4chan boards including /a/[13] (Anime and Manga) and /jp/[14] (Otaku Culture). In May 2011, a Facebook fan page titled Welcome to the Internet[21] was created, and continues to post image macros and other humor content not limited to those relating to the phrase. As of August 2013, it has gained more than 2.1 million likes. In October 2011, the phrase was used as the title of the opening keynote[15] for the ROFLCon Summit in Portland, Oregon.

Notable Examples

As of August 2013, Welcome to the Internet image macros can be found on Meme Generator[16], Tumblr[17], Cheezburger[18], FunnyJunk[19] and Reddit.[20]




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