Opinion

Yesbasicgays proves oversharers don’t care who’s watching – even the bullies

We all have that oversharing friend, don’t we? The one who posts millions of selfies or is always checking in on Facebook, drowning under the weight of their own humblebrags or passive-aggressive attention-seeking.

And only the very kindest of us wouldn’t have a quick sneer with other mutual friends – maybe fire off a bitchy text or a moany DM. “They’re at it again!” And that’s OK, that’s human nature. Unless you’re very careless or downright malicious, nobody finds out and nobody gets hurt.

One opportunistic person wanted to take this process one step further. And so, out of nowhere, appeared a brand new Tumblr – many an internet arsehole’s weapon of choice – dedicated to screenshotting these needy McReadys, and adding a pithy (in their head at least) caption under each one.

yesbasicgays, featured pic after pic of gay men – of all ages – posing in a mirror or at the business end of a selfie stick, all with the same twisted mouth expression as if to say “What? Me? Taking a selfie? Nah, mate!”

Perhaps it had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the creator didn’t have the comedy smarts to carry it off. His or her comments were mind-numbingly obvious and fatally witless, playground-quality jibes drafted in seconds just so the blog itself could quickly get enough pictures on there so the second prong of this fatuous attack could begin – a Twitter account!

If you are going to be nasty about someone on social media, or hold a mirror up to its various, much-documented ills, you at least have to do it with a bit of affection, intelligence and, dare I say it, wit. We all like to laugh at ourselves, and most of us know only too well how ridiculous we are – but shaming us for it, well, it comes off as a little “basic”, as our detractor might say.

I am perhaps a hypocrite, in that every week I write a blog about how useless the Guardian Blind Date participants are, and I can be quite mean, but I am careful only to make fun of what they say in the column, not their looks or personality. Or lack thereof. (This bit may not be true.)

yesbasicgays, however, was creepy and mean. Like those vipers who screenshot stupid conversations on Tinder and don’t blur out the guys’ faces (it’s always guys, let’s be real), this is just nasty, a really blatant attempt to go viral and to get yourself some glory.

There’s a lot to be said for social media and dating apps’ role in exposing bigotry, of course, but slagging off people just for taking a selfie in a bedroom that could probably do with a spring clean? Pointless.

There was a minor outcry on Twitter when people started to notice the blog, and in a show of sensitivity rare among internet bullies, the Twitter account and Tumblr were hastily removed before the internet’s flaming torches were even half-lit. And that was that. Except it wasn’t.

Once the anger had died down, there came a new wave of emotion about the Tumblr.

“Ooh, congratulations, you made it onto yesbasicgays! I’m so envious!”

“I can’t believe I wasn’t featured on yesbasicgays – I take loads of selfies. #bastards”

And so on. We went from horror that someone would be so unkind to do such a thing to extreme offence that we hadn’t been thought basic or pretty enough to be featured on this hopeless rogues’ gallery. And some of those that had been selected were thrilled – no such thing as bad publicity right? Incredible.

Perhaps to the oversharers, it doesn’t matter who’s watching or what they think of you as long as they notice. And if your friends aren’t liking your pics fast enough, at least there’ll be some internet troll out there trebling your audience with his mean-spirited Tumblr.

Are we a bit dim to be taking endless selfies and posting them online? Possibly. But so what? You don’t have to follow us. Do we deserve to be mocked on a vicious Tumblr? No. Should we be pleased a keyboard warrior noticed us enough to have a go? I’d rather hope not.

If your top three rows on Instagram are mostly pictures of yourself and not the world around you, perhaps it’s not an internet bully that you need, but a friend.

At least then you’ll have someone else to take your photo.

Image: Flickr

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  1. This is exactly the kind of thing Sir Tim Berners-Lee envisioned when he created the protocols for the internet all those years ago in CERN. Another way of bullying people.

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