Patrick Hope: How to succeed at the Internet without really trying
Respect. Adulation. We all want it. It’s a part of the human condition that we want others to recognize how awesome we are. But it’s time for me to drop a knowledge bomb on you.
You can’t make everyone respect you. It doesn’t matter if you’re LeBron James, Chris Christie or Amy Adams — who is clearly not respected enough as she got robbed of an Oscar again this year. Some people just flat-out aren’t going to respect you.
So you have to prioritize who you want to respect you. And your priorities should be people like your family, friends, co-workers or significant other. Those are the people whose opinions matter.
Haha no, I’m only joking. The people you really need to impress are random strangers on the Internet.
Think about it. The Internet is bigger than all of those other groups combined.
“But Patrick,” you’re probably asking yourself, “how do I get people to respect me on the Internet? It seems really hard.”
Well, you’re in luck, as I’m about to hit you with all you need to become the hottest thing on the Internet since Gangnam Style and that one shirt with wolves on it.
I’m going to presume that you don’t want to work very hard at this. After all, working hard at becoming an Internet personality means less time for important things, like fantasy sports and watching stuff on Netflix. Again, you have to prioritize. So how do you get to be the next big (Internet) thing with as little effort as possible?
You become a commenter, that’s how.
Commenters are the frosting on top of the cake of, well, anything on the Internet. Articles, videos, pictures, it doesn’t really matter. Everything has a comments section these days. And if you play your cards right, you can make people skip right past that article to see what brilliant minds such as yours have to say instead.
This is the part where you have to decide where you’re going to be a commenter. Your first inclination might be to set up shop on YouTube, as it’s one of the most popular sites out there and every videos has comments.
Then again, you might be worried that you’re not ready for the spotlight like that. Here’s some free advice: If you have a working keyboard, you are eminently qualified to be a YouTube commenter. That place is collectively a cesspool of poor spelling, delusional superfans and spambots. If the YouTube comments section were a physical country, it would be a failed state. So let’s just eliminate that as an option right now and save you a bit of time.
Instead, I’d advocate choosing a special interest and going with that. Do you like politics? Then hop on over to Huffington Post and start spewing insults, I mean “debating,” to your heart’s content. Debating people online will garner you tons of fans who’ll pop into every discussion you join. You might also get a lot of hate, but you know who also gets a lot of hate? Important people. So keep at it!
Maybe you like video games. Well, declare your allegiance to your chosen console or the PC Master Race and get to work developing a seething hatred for anyone whose tastes differ from yours.
Remember, you are the important one here and people will always respect your bold, unflappable demeanor as you talk about frame rates and resolution. Or, even better, show off your dazzling e-lawyer skills by talking about copyright law. Everyone respects e-lawyers. Trust me on this.
But the problem with being the purveyor of truth and knowledge in politics or gaming is that eventually you’ll have to give actual opinions, and that’s a ton of work. And remember, you don’t want to work at this. There has to be a way to get respect through sound bites alone, right? Well, thanks to TV pioneers like Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, it is possible thanks to the world of sports commenting.
Commenting on sports is about one two things: Hot takes or jokes. It’s one or the other, so choose wisely. You’re either the guy saying Carmelo is hot garbage or you’re the guy making a joke about how his expensive watch habit is a waste of money as nothing connected to Carmelo’s body ever passes, even watch hands.
Hot takes are probably the easier of the two, as they’re all visceral. Stats? HA! Who needs those when you understand the game at such a deep level as you do.
If some nerdy stat nerd brings up numbers to support his argument that Yasiel Puig is really good, respond that Puig doesn’t have the grit or scrappiness to be an elite player. Also, that nerd clearly never played pro ball like you. Well, you didn’t play either, but you’d have a couple most valuable player trophies by now if that coach in Legion ball didn’t have it out for you.
People will be drawn to your fearless attitude and ability to tell it like it is.
But maybe you don’t want to have hot takes. Maybe you just want to make puns or jokes about Brett Favre’s unfortunate dalliance with a cellphone camera. Perfect! Hop on over to the Deadspin and start commenting away. Those +1s your jokes get are like little pieces of self-worth that you get because strangers think you’re funny or insightful.
Treasure them always. And (PROTIP) if you go this route, actually be funny. Things will end poorly if you’re not.
Some people might tell you that the advice given here isn’t going to actually make you an Internet legend and that being a commenter is a waste of time. Those people are wrong and are likely telling you this because no one ever gives their comments a thumbs up.
When you’re not around, they probably causally name drop you, saying things like “Yeah, I know Torii Hunter Straight Mashes in real life. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.”
So what are you waiting for? Get commenting! And if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a joke about how Sam Cassell looks like a baby alien.