Before I begin, I’m gonna warn you that my language may not be the most civil right now. I’m very angry, need to rant and I don’t give a good goddamn about cussing being the “crutch of the inarticulate.” Sometimes, cuss words are just what you need to utter to express yourself because “sugar” and “darn” don’t work.
Also, free speech. Deal with it. On to my rant.
I have ranted about the childish nature of the Internet before. And I can’t seem to get out of this habit of bringing it back to the forefront of my mind.
But a friend of mine is having an issue with childishness and stupidity through interactions on the Internet.
Basically, she writes a blog about her job, which is unconventional in the sense that she is a PSO. She’s a lovely woman, I admire her very much and I think she is brilliant. She also puts my blog writing to shame because she edits hers and makes her thoughts far more coherently than I do.
Anyway, she got an unsolicited critique and generally had a negative interaction with someone on the Internet. She blogged about it and for you to understand why I’m ranting, you need to go read her story in her own words.
Go read it or else you won’t understand why this has pissed me off so much.
All right, so I love Twitter. I love the Blog-with-ADD aspect of it — I only get 140 characters at a time to rant with, so I have to be more concise, or write 10 Tweets to get the point across. Ha ha! I love the community it (can) build(s). I love that I can interact with people all over the world in “real time”. I love the public aspect of it. It’s great.
I ESPECIALLY love the fact that it is used 99% for shameless self promotion.
Why do I love that part the most? Because I can shamelessly promote myself. I got a job writing for Zombie Training Magazine because I used Twitter, first to promote myself, secondly to find people with my interests, third because SOMEONE ELSE MENTIONED IT and I began to follow the magazine. You probably found your way here because of one of three reasons: you know me in real-life, or through one of the various Internet forums that I frequent, because you found me/saw me on Twitter or Facebook either on your own or through a mutual acquaintance, or because of the reply I posted on the aforementioned blog.
If you’re here because of that third reason, hello. Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. I hope you’re reading this and actually paying attention because I don’t like repeating myself.
As you can see if you’ve read the blog I’ve posted (with permission from the author, thank you) there is a sudden interest in the contents of said blog. And the comments beneath attempt to devalue one person’s feelings, demonize one, if not both of the parties, and generally cause an ubiquitous amount of arguing over who is right.
And this is what pisses me off.
The comments begin as civilized conversation but quickly devolve into shit-slinging and childish name-calling. Some (if not most) of the parties are actively trying to devalue the blog writer’s feelings and perceptions by claiming that the context was lost in a TEXT ONLY comment. Then they go on to say that the same TEXT ONLY conversation was a misunderstanding and that this whole thing was an overreaction.
I’m not sorry. You’re a goddamn idiot.
Meanings behind words in a conversation without the subtleties of facial expression, body language and tone of voice is very difficult to comprehend a lot of the time. Especially through text, email or forum posts. And that is doubly true on Twitter. (With only 140 characters I’m surprised that I haven’t offended more people constantly!) Living as a normal person and being attuned to those subtle clues, and knowing how to read them in person, is what makes having a conversation an art form. When you lose all of those things, you are left with only the words, and only words can be manipulated, misconstrued and misunderstood, depending on the PERCEPTION of the person reading them. Not to mention the context of the words, and other outside influences.
For example. If I was to say ‘fuck’ right now (kind of like I just did) how would you take it? I was just writing a word. You don’t know if I’m exhausted, angry, sad, exasperated… I could have just hurt myself and cussed to alleviate my own pain. I could have been “multitasking” and just got some bad news. I could be outright trying to insult you with my vulgarity. Or I could just really like to say that word.
The point is that you don’t know what my mood and meaning is behind the TEXT you just read and without my own personal subtle clues in my voice and body language etc. you are left with your own PERCEPTIONS. And that’s okay.
If you choose to leave a comment and say “Kai, you really offended me when you said f*ck just there. I think it’s vulgar and you should choose a different word to express yourself in the future.” I’ll accept that. But my initial response is usually “fuck off” followed by, “I wasn’t TRYING to offend you. I just like saying fuck when I’m trying to get a point across. It’s as good a word as any.”
If you are offended by it then that is what you are PERCEIVING. There’s no reason for me to vilify that. There’s no need for me to demonize you for being offended. And there is certainly no reason to go on a rampage in the comments section. I wasn’t attacking you and I wasn’t directing my cussing at you. It’s a word. It’s my way of expressing my thoughts. It’s also very easy to take out of context. Cuss words are ESPECIALLY easy to take out of context in our society where cussing is as much a part of everyday life (to some people) as breathing is.
Interactions online can’t become a he said/she said situation. When it does, and when it devolves into a general witch hunt because of words that may or may not have been misinterpreted, we have a problem as a society.
Furthermore, unsolicited critiques and vague, dismissive statements like “not my cup of tea”, are NEVER welcome. As a writer, I want to know what you think, that’s why there’s a comments section. But I don’t need a breakdown of every sentence. I don’t want your critiques if you’re just reading in passing. I want thought-provoking conversation unless otherwise stated.
And really, If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I’d rather live with the anonymity of who is reading my blog than have to deal with your PERCEPTIONS, even if they are mislaid.