The Ugly Side of the Internet

Day 111

You know how you just cruise along in your own little cocoon of a world where everything is just hunky-dory? Then one day something unexpected rears its ugly head and you realize you’re not in Kansas anymore?

Well, that was me this morning.

I have been weening myself off of Facebook where things are so divisive and political. Instead, I have been spending more time reading other people’s blogs. I enjoy a place where people use words to convey ideas. I have made a lot of new acquaintances who may, over time, become friends.

The blogs I read may not necessarily be penned by like-minded individuals, but I usually find commonality with people who share similar interests or maybe just write compelling blogs that give me something new to consider. Always healthy I think.


One way of finding such blogs is to search the WordPress reader. That has been fine until today when very unexpectedly — WHAM — I was confronted with some very unexpected and unwelcome images.

I am very much a ‘to each his/her own’ kind of person, but I like to control what comes into my world. Not always possible, I know, but generally, it works well for me. Until today. Today a very innocent search using a tag I have used in my blog many times uncovered some VERY adult images. Thankfully, I did not need to see the entire post, but the images were a little too graphic for morning coffee.

So, I tried to block the sites (there were about 4) in WordPress Reader which did not seem to work. I was receiving an error that something went wrong. I tried this several times for each site and eventually, they disappeared from the reader.

Last week when I was contemplating moving my blog to a self-hosted site, I did some research on how to include my blog in the WordPress Reader. My understanding was using JetPack, it could be done except that tags would not carry over. Hmmm. WordPress has a way to report free hosted sites, but from what I saw, they cannot block or remove a site that is self-hosted. (I’m a little fuzzy on the details.) This made me wonder, then, how these sites came up after using a tag search. Still not sure about how that works so maybe I need more research.

The point of my blog today is just the grim reminder that this Internet we all love so much contains the same cross-section of people and society and likes and dislikes found in the broad spectrum of life. I do not always agree with censorship, but I do like to choose if and when I see or hear certain things. Today I was gobsmacked to have this encounter here and in this space — I was being naive.

So, just a reminder that even the most innocent of words or ideas can be construed for any purpose or to attract anyone. I appreciate all the people who take the time to express ideas, work through difficult times or even share their personal successes. For me, however, I need to do a little research and see if there is a way to filter the content that gets presented to me.