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The Worst Internet Things bracket

There are millions of Internet things. Most of them are great! 64 of them are bad.

SB Nation presents: The bracket of awful Internet things, Midwest Region

(1) SOMEONE IM'ING YOU ON FACEBOOK. As most recently passed along by Scientific Podcast Goes Boink: "Twitter is for loving people you've never met, and Facebook is for hating people you've always known." Facebook is largely an awful place, made more awful by the perpetual threat (before you disable instant messages) of your high school friend making your laptop ding and asking you to come see his prog-rock band with two drummers, no singer, and a rapper in a VOTE FOR PEDRO shirt.

It's made still more awful by the fact that the "read receipts" feature is on by default, so if you've read their IM and haven't answered, they know it. This is the top overall seed, because read receipts are the worst thing about the Internet. The right to ignore people must be preserved. Anyway, if you get one of these IMs, usher everyone out of the building in which you live, burn it to the ground, and live in the forest until you don't hear airplanes anymore.

(16) LOCAL TV STATION WEBSITES. These are especially wretched experiences if you're a freelance writer struggling to pay rent, because the half-done sentences and "they're/their/there" errors twist the knife ever deeper. Some TV station websites are perfectly fine. Some will ask you to take three surveys and watch a commercial from your local dentist and then dump you in an article full of Loren Ipsum.

(8) AD PLAYS, ACTUAL VIDEO DOESN'T. Out of principle, I don't use ad blockers. This is one reason I will never blame anyone for using them.

(9) ATHEISTS WHO LOVE TO ARGUE. Here's a fun one: tell them there's a gap in the fossil record and then immediately mute them. This will banish them to their own specialized Hell, thereby disproving their argument.

(5) KICKSTARTERS FOR WEDDINGS. I swear upon every shred of journalistic integrity I have that I have seen people do this.

(12) TINDER PHOTO IS A GUY IN OAKLEYS WITH A FISH HE CAUGHT. Lady friends tell me that easily a third of Tinder photos are of men, especially middle-aged men, showing off fish they caught. They presumably are gunning for the "rugged outdoorsman" aesthetic, but they're rocking M-frame Oakleys, which takes in more of an "I buy my pants at Home Depot" direction.

(4) FACEBOOK RE-ARRANGING YOUR FEED. If email or books or anything else used algorithms to bork around with the order of your consumption, we wouldn't stand for it. We put up with it on Facebook because Facebook does not matter.

(13) ANY TIME AOL DOES ANYTHING. don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox don't buy vox

(6) GOOGLE KILLING GOOGLE READER. Google Reader was my favorite social media network of all time. It was essentially the best possible version of what Facebook could have been. Then Google trash-canned it in an apparent effort to herd us all to Google+. And look, you're reading this on Google+ right now! You're even wearing a Google+ T-shirt, and you flew a Google+ to work this morning!

(11) PERSON ON EVERY GOTOMEETING CALL WHO IS BANGING A POT AND SHRIEKING. One person's holding a crying baby. Another has a dog who won't shut up. The presenter is standing in the bathroom, towel over his face, speaking 35 feet away from a speakerphone made in 1996. Conference-calling is like swimming, in that human beings clearly aren't gonna get any better at it, no matter how much time we're given.


(14) JON BOIS' TWITTER FEED. 1. Jon works on ambitious project that takes him a month, meaning he'll give you, what, four pieces of content in that time? 2. Jon repeats the same eight or nine gags over and over. 3. Jon tweets like someone who's trapped in a room that won't unlock until he loses every one of his followers. It's insufferable.

(7) ALL INTERNET DISCOURSE ABOUT BACON. "I am on Team Bacon! I have no palate and I want to belong. Bacon pizza."

(10) MARCH MADNESS BRACKET REPURPOSING TROPES. Oh, so you're too precious to just list some things, God forbid. Yeah, leave that for BuzzFeed. You're not like them.

(2) ITUNES. I thought I was the only one who messed up a sync and ended up wiping an entire music library that I had spent years building, but multiple friends have told me that they did the exact same thing. iTunes is like having your hand held by a robot who wants to walk into the ocean and die.

(15) 23-YEAR-OLD BACHELOR INSTAGRAMMING HIS FRIED EGGS. "Made eggs. Giggity giggity! #ForemanGrill #FamilyGuyQuotes"

West Region

This is by far the toughest region of the tournament.

SB Nation presents: The bracket of awful Internet things, West Region

(1) POP-UP ADS ON ILLEGAL SPORTS FEEDS. They're manageable if you can fullscreen it, but otherwise, the game you're watching has to be Game 7 of the Super Bowl in order to possibly be worth it.


(8) ROUGHLY 85 PERCENT OF INTERNET MEN. You're being yourselves and I wish you would stop.

(9) EVERYTHING LONGER THAN 4,000 WORDS. As someone who wrote a 43,000-word article last year, I am one of the worst offenders of all. I don't think we're interesting enough to be talking this much.

(5) VAPING. Yeah, I mean, vaping seems pretty silly and all, with the dumb custom-built vape-rigs and whatever. But ...

(12) PEOPLE WHO HATE VAPING. ... they're not trying to bother you, they're just some folks going off by themselves and dorking out over something they enjoy. They're over there having fun and you're over here clawing your damn eyeballs out in bitter anguish. Everything is fun and pretty good except for you.

(4). ANYONE WHO CHARGES MONEY FOR A "HOW TO BLOG" CLASS. Welcome to Jon's Blogging School!
1. Work very, very hard and be prepared to not make money for a while
2. Look for stuff nobody is doing, and do that; don't be afraid to aim high and fall short
3. Learn how to Photoshop and make video and do other stuff like that, there's lots of stuff for that on YouTube
4. Promote your stuff like you're proud of it, and if you're not proud of it, don't get too down about it, because failure is okay and probably necessary
5. Be nice

Thank you for attending Jon's Blogging School!

(13) EXPERT VILLAGE VIDEOS THAT ARE SPLIT INTO 14 PARTS. This actually would be a 1-seed if it still stood today as the colossal trash fire it once was. If y'all missed out on 2008-era Expert Village ... man, it's the stuff that should be taught in school.

For example, there might be a how-to video on how to make pancakes. This could be accomplished with a three-minute video, but Expert Village dragged the affair out into a 12-minute epic, split it up into 45-second videos, uploaded them all to YouTube, and dumped 30-second ads in front of each one. They never made playlists or linked to the rest of the videos, either, so watching them in order was nearly impossible. They're probably still out there somewhere. It's digital ruin porn.

"Jesse Owens was born on September 12th, 1913."
[three rollover ads consume screen]
"You won't believe how many gold medals he"
[click to next slide]
"won! Jesse Owens won over one million gold"
[nine video ads start auto-playing; your laptop's processor melts and spills out of the USB ports]

(11) CRAIGSLIST DATING. Go use literally any other dating service. Go find romance literally anywhere else. Go meet someone on a Wikipedia talk page.

(3) PEOPLE WHO THREATEN TO UNFOLLOW CELEBRITIES. "Grandpa, how did you win this medal?" The old man's eyes welled with tears. "I followed Kanye West and found him annoying."

(14) YELP REVIEWER WHO QUOTES THE "NO TIPPING" SCENE FROM RESERVOIR DOGS. The rarest of Pokemon is the person who misattributes this quote to Tyler Durden.

(7) OFFICIAL LIVE TV STREAMS THAT PLAY THE SAME FOUR ADS OVER AND OVER. Over the last year, I have seen the Aaron Rodgers "pump you up" State Farm ad more than I have seen my family.


(2) MANUAL RETWEETERS. I probably like you, but I definitely like you if you don't know what this means.

(15) BLOGGERS GOING ON CAMERA. When I went on camera to announce this bracket, I had to keep my cardigan on because there was a giant toothpaste stain on my shirt. We are irredeemable.

South region

This is by far the toughest region of the tournament.

SB Nation presents: The bracket of awful Internet things, South Region

(1) BRANDS. Every holiday eventually loses its intended spirit. Christmas has its commercialism, Easter has its Easter bunny, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has dozens of brands desperately crawling over one another to repurpose the Civil Rights Movement to sell stuff. They take turns throwing themselves upon the pyre every single year because they are stupid.

(16) ANYONE WHO STARTS ANYTHING WITH, "SORRY, FOLKS." We really don't need any more scolding on the Internet. Except for this bracket. We need this bracket, and then no more scolding after that.

(8) PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT BUZZFEED. I wish they would find a more prominent font/shade with which to credit folks, sure. By and large, though, they're making stuff that people enjoy, and unlike many sites of their kind, they don't carpet-bomb their pages with ads that make their pages unnavigable. Please note that you'll rarely, if ever hear a non-creating Internet user whine about BuzzFeed. If you're complaining about them, you're probably someone who creates Internet stuff yourself. You should be more like them, because people enjoy them a lot!

(9) MAYOR OF YOUR CITY CITES BUZZFEED. This is admittedly unfortunate, though. 14 Reasons Why Knoxville Is The Best City In The World!

(5) GCHATTERS WHO HIT ENTER AFTER EVERY THIRD WORD. You step away from your computer. From the other room, you hear it: DINK. DINK. DINK DINK DINK. DINK. DINK DINK. DINK. Maybe all your friends just saw the President tweet at you and ask you if you want to eat pizza and play Mario Kart! Or maybe Brandon from work is thinking about watching Chopped.

(12) PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT BLEACHER REPORT. it's a good site that i occasionally enjoy

(4) RESTAURANT WEBSITES. The lone exception is the website for my sandwich shop, of which I am very proud. We are closed.

(13) FUTURISTS. Spencer wanted me to put this one in. I don't remember why. Maybe they will understand why in the future.

(6) WRITERS WHO TRY TO BE MADDOX. This isn't the problem it used to be, I don't think, so it's only a 6-seed. In the earlier days of the Internet, Maddox was one of the only hugely visible Internet Writers. In a proto-Internet full of boring writing and useless crud, Maddox was doing his own thing, and doing it really well. He might not be your bag, and is only sometimes mine. In any case, thousands of Internet Dudes decided to try to be him without really understanding what made him good, and the results were metric tons of the most furious, obscene, offensive, and dull writing there's ever been.

(11) CROSSFIT MESSAGE BOARDS. Lemme expand this definition just slightly, because I feel like sharing this:


(14) FOLLOW-UP EMAILS FROM PR PEOPLE. This is kind of a self-indulgent entry, which is why it's a 14-seed, but my phone buzzes 10 times a day on account of emails from PR people asking me to promote God-knows-what. Half of them are "I just wanted to follow-up" emails that drag the entrails of the original email behind them like a cloak. I once had a PR person email me, send four follow-up emails, and call me "unprofessional" for ignoring them.

(7) SOMEONE ASKING "DID YOU GET MY EMAIL" IN REAL LIFE. "No. I do not own a computer."

(10) ROLLOVER ADS THAT WON'T GO AWAY AND TELL YOU YOUR OPINION MATTERS. No it doesn't, as evidenced by the fact that I am trying to watch a video shot from someone's phone of the scene in Home Improvement when a kid tells Tim Taylor that "Tool Time" is more like "Fool Time." My opinion could not matter less.


(15) NEW PARENTS ON FACEBOOK. Actually, I'm gonna call an audible and shift this to, "people who complain about new parents on Facebook." That is very entry-level "joyless Internet lump" material. I am the monster I hate.

East region

This is by far the toughest region of the tournament.

SB Nation presents: The bracket of awful Internet things, East Region

(1) R*DSK*NSFACTS.COM. That site is part of Dan Snyder's effort to prop up his racism and culture-marginalizing for long enough to sell a few more sweatshirts. I didn't link to the site. Instead, that link goes to what is probably my favorite video on YouTube. It's from a 1994 high school football game. If you haven't seen it, then ohhhh man, you will not regret the five minutes you give it.

(16) YOUTUBE LEGAL DISCLAIMERS UNDER UPLOADS OF "THRILLER" THAT SAY "I DID NOT MAKE THIS SONG." I actually love these. They're here because I wanted to bring them up.

(8) ANYTHING ABOUT STAR WARS. It's Star Wars night at the ballpark! Dress up like your favorite Star War! Every Star Wars movie is bad.

(9) SPOTIFY AD INTERRUPTS AQUEMINI. The $10 it takes to achieve an ad-free Spotify experience are the best $10 I spent every month.

(5) DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG. I feel like maybe we should grant amnesty for those among us who recommended Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog to the rest of us. Some of us are lousy at math, some of us can't run fast, and some of us have terrible taste. Who among us, and all that.

(12) GOOGLE MAPS TELLS YOU TO TAKE THE C TRAIN. If you're trying to get home in New York and you're supposed to take the C, just take literally any other train. Get off at any stop with a name you like, knock on someone's door, and ask if you can live with them.


(13) WEB-FUNDED DOCUMENTARIES WITH SOUNDTRACKS THAT ARE JUST WHISTLING. Either whistling, or acoustic-guitar strumming with some twentysomething doof singing "hey-oh! oh-oh-oh!" over it. I recently gave a few bucks to a Kickstarter for a documentary that looked really intriguing, only to find it was formed with the aesthetic touch of a bank commercial.

(6) YANKEES WRITING THINKPIECES ABOUT THE SOUTH. "The South is a land of many contrasts. I was in Atlanta's airport one time. Louisville is next to Memphis."

(11) HATE-FOLLOWING. It ain't good for you.

(3) BASEBALL TWITTER DURING SPRING TRAINING. It's mostly just fans getting in dumb fights and beat reporters sharing grainy, long-distance photos taken through a chain-link fence of David Freese like he's the dang Sasquatch.

(14) HOCKEY TWITTER DURING THE NBA FINALS. Insecurity issues abound. It's fine for a sport to be the third- or fourth-best sport! That means it's still a pretty good sport!

(7) COORS LIGHT REVIEWS ON BEERADVOCATE. Years ago I made a foray into beer-snobbery and found that it was deeply unrewarding. A growler of Old Man Inquisitor Excoriationist Old Sea Shipwater Man XLVIIIIIIII Ale Stoutale Nitro Interlocutor Behemoth Alestout is great, sure, but so is a can of crummy light beer on a hot day. Every beer is pretty good.

(10) COMMENTER ON EVERY DUNK VIDEO WHO SAYS "THAT WAS A TRAVEL." We in this field of work refer to them as "dunk truthers."


(15) SPORTSWRITERS TWEETING FROM AIRPORTS. I've said this before, but we as sportswriters really need to keep on the low with our grievances. Just quietly do our work and not get noticed. When the inefficiencies of our society are rid of, our jobs will first on the chopping block. Who needs a bunch of jerkholes getting between them and the sports? Nobody, really. We need to very quietly ride this deal out until the wrong person notices and does away with this entire useless industry. I mean, do you know how to work a drill press? I don't!

SB Nation presents: The most important things in life