I've spent a long time on the Internet -- much more than can be considered healthy, and possibly more than can be considered legal. In that time, I've seen a lot of stupid things, from people weighing the merits of Picard against the two-fisted merits of Kirk to people inventing something called a Lycos to people trading hastily Photoshopped pictures of cats misspelling very simple words.
But even taking those things into account, one of the stupidest things I've ever seen (and that never seems to go away) is the farce of Internet bragging. Whether on Usenet or forums or the Facebook wall of someone you're cyberstalking, it's not hard to find someone on the Internet boasting about their rad video game skills or the beauty of the women they lay all the time or how many Dilbert comics they've made. Once you start seeing these misguided boasts, you'll soon realize they're among the saddest written words on the Internet. Instead of a sign of how awesome the poster is, they are instead inevitably a marker of how clueless they are about how the Internet actually works. Please, I beg you, children and stupid adults:
Also, about half the Internet are typing dogs.
"That's messed up. You're messed up, bucholz_42_sextank."
"Eat my shit, Salk."
"And they call me MC Rhyme-A-Lot cuz I rhyme a lot, and if you ain't impressed, then you're hard to impress."
"So I actually suck at Angry Birds? Well, it looks like self-mutilation again for me."
These people not only believe what you've said, but also they don't think your claim is trivial and won't immediately try to one-up you. But here's the kicker: They don't care. Remember that anonymity thing? You're basically a complete stranger to these people, and it's kind of hard to get worked up about the accomplishments of a complete stranger. In the best case, you're likely to receive polite disinterest in response to your boast; more frequently, you'll get snide replies, mocking you for sharing anything about yourself at all.
That really is just a guess; if anyone has evidence that Oprah's a huge bitch on the Internet, I'd love to hear about it.
"CHECK OUT MY HUUUUUUUGE ASSSS, BITCHES!"
For more from Bucholz, check out 5 Silver Linings Now That Identity Theft Ruined Your Life and The 6 Most Overhyped Technologies.