Despite Everything, It's Better Than Ever Before For Ficto Safety Online

Nephro is not winning the "thinking too hard about the main character of the internet right now" allegations, clearly.

So, sometimes things blow up on the internet and become the only thing talked about for a few days before being left for the next thing. In the last week or so, however, the topic is something a lot closer to my personal circle than I thought it to be at first.

If you live under a rock, this is about Verbalase of Cartoon Beat Box fame spending $50,000 USD on an animation of him being pursued by Charlie from Hazbin Hotel, thus putting him in financial ruin, as well as him being transphobic, apparently. I don’t have anything too detailed to say about the incident itself because, to be frank, I’ve been too busy playing PHIGHTING! (good game btw) to care about internet drama recently, but you could probably just search this stuff on your own if you want more.

And apparently this has led people in the fictosexual community to get…very scared, as of late, of any further judgement that may come their way as a result of this. And to be quite honest, that’s completely understandable! It is only natural to want to avoid scrutiny. To have a safe space in the vast internet is a rare thing sometimes, and of course anyone would want that, but I do feel like people hitting the panic button over this one guy may be unwarranted.

More so, I feel like now is more safe for fictos to express themself online than ever before.

In the last year, I’ve seen (who I am actually twitter mutuals with) Norah’s entire room dedicated to Randy Marsh, a South Park character, go viral over and over again out of the sheer span of it. And when it does, it doesn’t seem like the reactions from the internet are as toxic as they would be for somebody who’s merch hoard would be even half of that as they were in the past decade, even half. I’ve seen some truly nasty reactions for someone’s lovely dedication to a fictional other in the past. Do not accidentally discover Encyclopedia Dramatica when you aren’t even 13 yet it will give you a lifelong sense of shame not even your Catholic father could bestow upon you. There’s truly horrible people out there waiting to be little haters about the harmless.

But, again, it’s died down since then. The sheer normie take I’ve seen most of the time now is “hey, it’s harmless,” and that’s actually really progressive compared to the earlier days of the web. While I do hail and miss those days for the lack of centralization, alongside many other things, there’s always some things to leave behind in the past, and the “anonymity means i can and should be rude and awful for no reason towards people i think are cringe” mindset is one of those. It’s been dying off a lot earlier than you would expect, too. “Cringe culture is dead” has been a rally chant of the strange and endearing (mostly originating from the revival of scenemo) since before the pandemic hit us.

While I used to be skeptic of the slogan, it really is. Pockets of the internet where cringe culture was encouraged such as r/Cringetopia, it’s many revolting offspring, and a Certain Forum have been killed off, sometimes slower than others, but you have to actively search to find these bubbles now. You have to have some emotional attachment to hurting others to go to these places, rather than them being recommended to you through algorithm now.

It really is better for the fictosexuality community, now than ever, even. What was once something I had gone into hiding online over out of the shame of myself and others is now something I can fully embrace as part of my identity, something I want to be able to inspire others with, and something I can say I’m even proud of. To be cringe is to be free. To love is to free, and to do both is to grow angel wings and soar.

...But if you're still really worried about your safety online, espessially in a niche that gets targeted semi-often, here's a few pointers as to how to avoid people getting weird over you.

- Do not post your face reveal near ficto communities. It used to go without saying, and I've seen this crop up a few times in the past two years, and every time, it does get me a little worried. In general, obviously, try to avoid sharing personal information beyond the basics of yourself (Online Pseudonym, age, ect).

- A lot of the cases of "ficto person blows up online" usually stem from some sort of incident, and the most often case I've seen of this, sadly has been two doubles duking it out because one gets jealous of the other. Please don't do this, being excessively rude to others "in the name of your F/O" in any way is like, a highway to getting mocked just for being with them in the first place.

- In general, just try and be a decent, maybe quiet person online. Again, a lot of the really major cases that crop up of fictos becoming punching bags (ladyalt, a few of the ddlc guys, birdie in the earlier days of sans fangirling) is not solely because they love a character, but because toxic behavior manifests from their love, or because, despite the obvious choice of mockery that could be made, they're just not a fun person to be around, even without that.

- TL;DR: Be nice and don't spread personal information that can be used to track you down later like confetti.