The Internet Junkie’s 10-Step Guide to Awesomeness

“Awesome” is a rather overused word nowadays – especially on the World Wide Web. As long as an article, photo, video, GIF, or what-have-you pops out in some way, it automatically gets slapped with the A-word.

Whether that awesome “something” will be forgotten after a few days or even a few minutes, doesn’t matter – because that’s just how the Internet works. Then again, being awesome on the Internet doesn’t mean relegating yourself to "flash-in-the-pan" status.

With 2015 just around the corner, maybe it’s about time you take a look at what steps you can take to be an awesome netizen.

To be consistently awesome, you need to:

1. Be A Creator, As Well As A Curator

Sharing stuff is great. Creating stuff to be shared is even better. If you have a creative side that you’ve always wanted to indulge, now’s the time to do it! After all, what better time than the new year, right?

Every moment you’re alive is the right time to indulge your passion in writing, painting, designing, etc. (Hey, you only have one life, after all.)

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2. Share Only The Stuff You Genuinely Care About

Okay, so you’re a thousand percent positive that you have no creative inclinations whatsoever. That’s okay.You can still support the creative work of others by sharing these works on social media. Better yet, buy a piece from these creators, and let them know that their efforts are much appreciated.

Also, it helps plenty when you’re genuinely interested in the stuff you share on social media – rather than just sharing for the sake of gaining attention. After all, social media sites have enough “noise” as it is.

3. Reach Out To Other Online Creators

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Sure, you’re ultimately the best judge of your own work, but how will you know whether your work needs improvement if you don’t have another set of fresh, objective eyes to evaluate it?

You can contact a creator you’ve always admired via social media, and pick their brains regarding things that bother you about your work. Don’t feel intimidated about this; most creators are friendly and willing to answer questions. Just make sure your questions are politely phrased, and that they can’t be answered by a simple Google search.

4. Be An Activist, Not A Slacktivist

It’s one thing to share a post about impoverished children, and leave it at that. It’s another to share that same post, get out of your house, and hand out a crisp bill to an organization that helps impoverished children.

One of these serves the cause better, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which. Make this the year that you take that action.

5. Defend The Cyberbullied

It’s no secret that trolls and other nasty people lurk in forums, comments sections, and other online places where open discussions are encouraged. These people often make it difficult – or even dangerous – for newbies to even think about venturing into their waters.

If you see them verbally tearing someone apart for no good reason, don’t just sit back and watch from the sidelines. Stand up for whoever’s getting bullied, and let it be known that the Internet isn’t as nasty a place as overly vocal trolls often make it out to be.

6. Avoid Trolling Comments Sections

On the flip side, you might be a troll yourself. (If not, that’s good; you can skip this section.) In that case, I only have three words for you: Stop. Right. Now.

No matter how bad your day gets, or what’s going on in your life at the moment, don’t take it out on someone else. Take it out on a video game boss, take it out on an old piece of paper, but don’t take it out on a virtual, faceless stranger who doesn’t know any better. For all you know, that stranger could be going through a bad day too, just like you.

7. Dish Out Negative Criticism Only When Necessary

As much as we all wish otherwise, not every creator on the Internet has an abundant amount of talent flowing through their fingertips. If you see a creative work that is… less than satisfactory, let the creator know (in a nice way).

Also, be sure to explain why you think the work isn’t up to par. You don’t want to come across as a juvenile hater who leaves comments like “U SUCK” without an explanation.

8. Be More Creative With Your “Witticisms”

Internet memes might get old, but not human creativity. Get into the habit of thinking through every comment you make before repurposing yet another “arrow to the knee” joke. Fresh, creative, and well-thought-out posts are always the most memorable.

9. Learn Something About Everything

To be clear, you don’t need to be an expert on everything under the sun. Even if you have a monstrously high IQ, there’s only so much knowledge you can store in your head at any one time, in a single lifetime.

However, it does help to know the basics of things people often talk about. (Hey, being the go-to person for interesting, obscure trivia can only score you points in social events.)

10. Be Your Own Brand Of Awesome!

I’ll probably risk contradicting everything I’ve said so far, but I’ll say this anyway: Don’t let anyone else tell you how to be awesome. The things I listed here are guidelines, not absolute rules. You’re the only one who knows your strengths, your weaknesses, and how you can harness these strengths and weaknesses to become awesome on your own terms.

It’s also good to realize that there’s more to life than the Internet. Even if you’re an Internet junkie, it won’t do to just coop yourself up at home and stay in front of the computer all day. Explore the world outside, take down notes, and post what you’ve learned on the Internet for the betterment of everyone – just like the awesome netizens who came before you.