Passive Interneting

I have a confession and it’s about time I make it, so here it comes…

Breathe in, Mafe. You got this.

I, Mafe (scribbler, Ravenclaw, lover of friendship, chocolate chip cookies and tea), am a… *tun tun tun* Passive Internet User.

There, I said it. It’s out there for all the world to see. DONE.

Yes. I am a PIU and always have been, ever since I was a wee child and discovered the power of a Yahoo search engine and a dial-up connection.

If you don’t know what a PIU is, I don’t blame you. Why would you? It’s not something I’m proud of.

Here’s a basic equation:

PIU = internet + passive AF human being

A PIU is someone who watches but never comments, reads but never follows, likes but never posts, reads fanfiction updates but NEVER reviews  – the most heinous of crimes. Someone who waits for others to ask her stupid questions on Yahoo Answers or MacForums rather than do it herself.

Side Note: Yes, I sometimes look for answers on Yahoo Answers. It happens, okay? Especially when it’s 4 A.M. and you have a weird colored mole on your butt and just spent way too much time on WebMD for your own good.

But I digress. Back to me.

So, where does this PIU syndrome rise from?

Fear of commitment?

Social anxiety?


I don’t know how or why. All I know is I only have myself to blame.

Maybe it stems from my own passivity – something I try to combat everyday and would like to think I have improved over the years.

During my school days, I was the kid who HATED being called on. Not that I didn’t like to answer questions – as a self proclaimed know-it-all, it’s one of my favorite hobbies – but rather that I hated being called on when I clearly wasn’t raising my hand.

Here’s a proposition:

Hand raised = I know the answer and, after thorough consideration, have something of value to impart to the world.

Hand not raised = I’m still mulling over this conundrum and would like to further analyze the paradigms at work here without being forced to speak and utter some basic AF nonsense.

Given my inability to BS effectively or keep a straight face in any situation (I really have to work on that), these latter cases always ended with me mumbling a stream of random words like “Shakespeare…green…witches… what?” and getting all red in the face.

Don’t misunderstand me though. I had some wonderful teachers and I was a great student. I was! I always paid keen attention in class and finished my homework days in advance. I helped my friends with their work because I couldn’t NOT get involved. I even did extra credit assignments for classes I was already acing (why, Mafe?). What can I say? I loved school and I still do. Total bookworm. Class A teacher’s pet. #IREGRETNOTHING

I just hated the forced participation. That coupled with my own timidity ended in many fear-ridden, passive school moments. Thinking about it now, maybe there is a line between being passive and being contemplative – between being shy and afraid and being assertively pensive. Sometimes being quiet and taking time to absorb is not a bad thing.

For example, I still don’t get why some kids, who didn’t give a flying fart about class and spent it texting under their desks or making fun of teachers, were commended for raising their hands and saying the first thing that popped into their brains like: “I like that Dickens’ metaphors are metaphorical” or, “Well, sir, I think that he means what he says but he doesn’t want to say it, you know what I mean?”

“Oh, well said, Timmy. Five gold stars for you!”


I know I’ve been out of high school for a while now and should be over it, but I am petty AF and when I think about it it still makes my eye twitch.

I get it. Assertiveness and outspokenness are valued in our Western society, but we shouldn’t underestimate the mental might of the shy and soft spoken. Like I said, there is power in actual contemplation, in choosing your words wisely and not disparaging them. But I digress again.

As a kid I was too shy to realize I was not just some weird, quiet nerd, and while I have been able to overcome my timidity (#PROGRESS) and speak up in most daily situations and places  – sometimes verbal diarrhea-ing all over the dinner table, at family barbecues or at holiday reunions – the one that remains unconquered is my Internet passivity.

So, in efforts to curtail this atrocious M.O. I’m working on being more of an Active Internet User, or AIU (What the hell are these initialisms, Mafe? I don’t know. Just roll with it).

This blog is a step in that direction (I hope), and, while this all seems a bit silly, I think it speaks to something bigger.

A willingness to grow, maybe?

To be more proactive and creative, perhaps?

To not be afraid of “connecting” or making a fool of myself?

To express confidently how I feel and why I feel it, and throw it into the eternal ether of the Internet because maybe somebody somewhere feels the same way?

I still have a ways to go from that bookish scaredy cat, but I am optimistic.


A toast to personal growth and sort of adult decisions!

To all my fellow Passive Interneters! I believe in you!

And to many more years of making a fool of myself on and offline, but not giving a crap about it because I’m trying. I’m working hard. I have something to say, and that’s got to be worth something, right?

Peace out.


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