Weather: Dear benevolent deities, we have achieved July Steambath weather. Upper 80s, Humid as hell. GAH!
So I took a week off from the interwebs.
But I really didn’t.
Yeah, I checked my e-mail. Glanced briefly at Facebook. Glanced briefly at Twitter. The only real change in my habits for that week was I didn’t interact. Or respond. Made for a lot of tongue biting and twitchy fingers. But I got art done. And peace of mind came in the silence and lack of brain clutter.
The unexpected result from this, once I returned to social media interaction, was that I was suddenly, acutely aware of the incivility of people. Not that it was new, or even had increased in volume. The fact was, I had forced myself into re-sensitizing. I’d become numb to it to be honest, and I could see that pretty much everyone else was numb to it too. Oh sure, if things got particularly egregious, people reacted. But for the most part the reaction was the usual -“It’s the internet” Shrug. Advice not to feed the trolls. Let it pass. It’s not worth the fight. Let the bile and venom build, just throw a tarp over it. If we ignore it, it’ll go away.
While I understand this is the nature of a free and open internet, I kinda found myself really getting irritated more than usual.
So I made a decision.
I’m not allowing incivility in my life anymore.
Before I get a litany of “free speech” , “I have a right to express my opinion”, “I don’t believe in sugar coating…” BLAH BLAH BLAH — Re-read my sentence there.
I didn’t say YOU couldn’t be uncivil. Or rude. Or opinionated. Feel free! Knock yourself out.
I said I wasn’t allowing it in MY life.
Let me clarify.
I have opinions. Strong ones. Usually pretty fucking liberal ones. But I tend to keep them to myself for the most part. That’s been a conscious decision on my part. I’m sure people can infer where I stand on things by the nature of the pages I like on Facebook or the people I quote or the feeds I follow on Twitter. This isn’t me trying to camouflage my leanings. They are what they are. I just don’t feel the need to explain them or defend them to the internet at large. They’re my opinions. That’s it.
I know others have opinions. Strong opinions. Some that line up with mine. Some that don’t. Some that stand violently in opposition to mine. That’s also fine. My mum and I overlap on some things, but can get a little heated discussing others.
I tend to err on the side of you having a right to differ in opinion or view or fandom or anything. Frankly, and to be blunt: I really don’t care.
Even more blunt: I really don’t spend more than a half minute to read your rants or screeds. If I disagree, I just stop reading.
Here’s a harsh reality that no one wants to hear: I have zero obligation to hear your counterpoint to my beliefs. Just like you have zero obligation to hear mine. It’s a courtesy on both our parts to do so. I’m always willing to listen if your counterpoints are presented coherently, backed up with facts from good sources (not news pundits or “my friend/relative says they heard…) and delivered with the intent to inform not inflame.
Hell, I get annoyed by people I AGREE with when they constantly flog things with histrionics and flimsy at best facts underlying their rants.
Also? I have little patience for conspiracy theories. I don’t place much credence in any of them, regardless of topic matter. I DO believe in healthy skepticism & not placing 100% trust in any institution or authority. But give me facts, numbers and not a series of links to websites with little of either.
So there’s my take on online posting for the most part. Circling back to my point.
I’m tired of all the yelling. Nobody is listening anymore. We just keep shouting louder and louder, hoping volume will get us heard. We use shocking pictures to get people’s attention. (BTW– Showing me a picture of an abused animal or child will get you blocked immediately. I KNOW IT HAPPENS. I support a lot of aid groups to PREVENT it from happening or help after the fact. In fact, as one of my friends recently pointed out– WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE WITH THAT? If you have someone on your FB page or Twitter feed who thinks that’s okay? You might want to reassess your friends. Otherwise YOU ARE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR AND MERELY UPSETTING YOUR FRIENDS!)
When I say I’m not tolerating the incivility anymore? Here’s my solution.
1: I’m going to maintain a level of positive and calm when I post online. (With a minor exception for squee, which is inevitably positive for the most part anyway) If something angers me, I will do my best to post only some way to take action on it, not just grouse, grumble or bitch about it. All that results in is a choir of “I’m pissed too” which doesn’t do anything to FIX it.
2: If you are on my feed and are constantly posting political, religious or personal rants? If they’re civil and presenting facts, fine. If they consist of “Everyone opposite me is an asshole” or “I dislike a thing and anyone who likes that thing is an idiot”? I’ll hide your post. Twice. Third time, I’m dropping you. I don’t care if we’ve been friends for years or family. NOTE: I AM NOT TELLING YOU WHAT TO POST OR HOW TO POST IT, I’m just saying I don’t want that shit on my timeline anymore. You can continue to vent your spleen or share your views. I just won’t be part of your audience. I’m fairly certain you won’t notice my absence.
3.: I have a zero tolerance position on implied abuse of children/animals, bigotry, homophobia, religion bashing, or misogyny. ZERO. I give two shits if you think that’s overly PC or that I lack a sense of humor. If you find any of those things funny? You’re probably right about my sense of humor. Again, I’m not telling you to stop posting those things. Carry on. I just won’t be around to “enjoy” them.
4: I’M NOT ASKING ANYONE ELSE TO JOIN ME IN THIS. Free world and free will, all that stuff. As a human being living in this increasingly awful environment, I’m simply making the choice to live differently. More positive. More civil. And if I need to express dismay at something, I will do so when I am calm and do so reasonably.
And no, I don’t care what you think about this. I don’t care if you think it will make a difference. I don’t care if you’re offended by what I’ve said above. I DO NOT CARE.
And don’t think that I’m not amused that I’m making this announcement in a blog post. Didn’t say I won’t have my contrary moments.
The reason why I’m using a blog post to share this? I just want people to be aware of why I may no longer be on their friends-list or following them anymore.
Ultimately, I just want to get my brain away from triggery things and negativity that I have zero control over fixing. Because, shock of all shocks, I’m a fixer. I’m far too empathetic for my own good, and I can only absorb so much of other people’s indiscriminate anger and venom before I have to walk away.
I have a lot of major life changes facing me right now, and to be blunt, one last time, I don’t have time to waste on internet drama anymore. I’d rather enjoy things and make things and do what I can to get things to change for the better. Raise people up rather than tear them down. Spotlight people who do good rather than focus only on the bad.
So, only positive or productive interactions going forward. I’m sure the internet, and the world, will spin ever on without my having to know everything about EVERYTHING. If I can help someone I will. If I can stop something bad, I will do what I can. But I’m done talking this shit to death. Will my attempts here change things? Maybe. Maybe not. But you know what definitely WON’T change things? Shrugging and accepting that that’s just the way things are.
I promise my next blog post will be more substantial and contain actual art & writing content. :)