3 December 2014

xurnami: (darash)
Some people might be wondering why I haven't said much about some of these issues of the now. Some of my friends are even attending protests as I write this about one iteration of one of these issues. However, I have stayed silent on most of them. There are two big reasons for that. One of them is that I've just had lots of other stuff going in in my life which does not give me nearly as many spoons to handle such things. However, there is a much bigger reason.

I have a big rule on my list of people who I follow on Twitter. That rule is that if you are an asshole, you leave. I write my Twitter messages for those who I am following. Since the people I am writing for are not assholes, they don't need to be reminded by me that there are shitty things going on. Things like black kids getting murdered by white supremacist cops with grand juries not even allowing the cases to go to trial or neoreactionaries using pissed off gamers to push their agendas and harass female developers. I assume that most of them have their own sources showing them that news in the method they want to see it. They don't need it reiterated by me.

On top of that, Twitter is about the WORST medium for discussing these topics. You get 140 characters with maybe an image attached. Quite often that image is an iPhone screenshot of text in an article that I'd rather read using many other things than that Twitter message. I just saw an amazing thing about how 4chan's culture influences GamerGate but because every line in it was a tweet it was much worse to read, reiterated itself, not edited, and I feel a much better piece of work if it was just put in a pastebin. Not to mention using a service like Medium or any of the other free blogging sites (like this one!).

Edit: Twitter, I feel, encourages lots of this behavior for their own reasons. They have built a system that requires extensive amount of "engagement" to stay alive and so they have encouraged methods of discourse that are instant gratification. Making others aware is one thing. However, Twitter makes it so easy to just share your outrage and they love that since it increases "engagement."

While I understand Twitter is quick and easy, the retweets and everything else lead to people arguing with bumper stickers. All I can do is agree or disagree with whatever bumper stickers you are stapling to your timeline. All of these issues going on right now are infinitely more nuanced than the bumper stickers. In the second paragraph, I attempted to describe the issue with as much more nuance than a reference to the latest iteration of the problem. And still I had to use lots of jargon to make it not take a paragraph on its own. I can't even describe what we need to discuss in 140 characters.

Along with that is a rule that I've seen from lots of people in the sexism/racism discussions is that you should let the people who are affected by this issue do most of the talking. The best role that allies can take is shut up, LISTEN, and let others talk. In this reality, I present as a white mostly cis male. The best thing I personally can do is focus on discussing these issues privately when I see someone is being an asshole. I've found that comes across so much better than adding a slow trickle of outrage to other people.

If you are interested in discussing these topics, I'm more than willing to listen. But let's have a discussion, not bumper stickers. Let those who are being directly affected speak. I feel encouraging people to listen to direct sources instead of filtering it again is better. Maybe you missed some context with that specific RT you picked. I feel a message of "Go read [twitter.com profile] ShaunKing right now." or "Go read [twitter.com profile] Spacekatgal right now" is much more direct, gives people context, and allows them something they can decide how to engage in. Remember that not everyone has the spoons to take in the outrage at the moment.

Thank you for listening.

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