Quite early in my Warcraft blogging career, I wrote a post in total ignorance about the stupidity of Devs naming in-game armour and trinkets after seemingly ridiculous and nonsensical items. What I didn’t know at that point was the name I’d innocently abused belonged to a real life Warcraft player, who was ‘influential’ in the part of the Community I’d pitched up in at the time. Once this was pointed out to me I was mortified, and immediately apologised, but it didn’t matter. The damage was done, and subsequently a load of people I really liked and considered as friends dropped me and my blog like it was lined with asbestos. Yesterday this moment resurfaced when someone linked me a Tweet from an account that has me blocked, I’m fairly confident as an upshot from this same incident. It appears that there are still those that consider me a toxic influence, despite years of trying to demonstrate that I am anything but.
Even when you strive to change and improve, others will not care, and that’s fine.
The assumption of some people when being on the Internet is simple: you’re out to attack me, aren’t you? Then there are the others who’ll lament that nobody cares what I say or write… and the list goes on, countless ways of having your online ego matter far more than anyone else, in a place where it isn’t about being correct or shouting loudest, but being allowed a right to a voice, whatever it has to say. These people continually fail to grasp how selfish ego pushes the promotion of self above all else. It is not about being the centre of all if you’re here to vocalise opinion without prejudice. I’ll freely admit, it took me a while to learn that lesson, and there are still days when I wish that my needs could be instantly assuaged by declarations of brilliance. Then I remember the harsh and horrible lessons learned by living online for several decades, that genuine compliments are never asked for and rarely earned, and how when you’re inescapably under attack every word that’s meant to be praise ends up as poison.
This ‘place’ we all inhabit is not won or lost by the number of followers you possess or the hits on your Blog, and yet there is this constant complaint and background noise that somehow this remains the only way to be considered ‘successful.’ In fact, those who consider success as something another person gives you are the ones really not understanding the bigger picture. I’m watching various arguments happen right now about places that pull in more cash than I’ll make in my lifetime being failures and how this isn’t fair when put beside the obvious hard work that’s been placed into them. Well, I hate to break this to you, but that’s how life works. Stuff becomes popular, then it doesn’t. If you’re smart you’ll reinvent yourself and move on… but if you remain unmoving, there will be consequences. The other point that needs to be made here is very simple: this isn’t about people. If you make company ‘drama’ over specific individuals and their own desires, it will never, ever be a situation that successfully resolves, with one key exception. If your website fails, and it’s just you writing, then the blame is in your lap. If you’re run by a massive corporation and it all goes tits up? The buck could stop anywhere, roll your D20 to decide.
That’s why I don’t need to succeed any more being a Warcraft blogger. I’ll grant you, there was an 18 month period a while back where I entertained the possibility, but then I remembered that naming incident and looked at the environment around me and grasped an important truth: if all you are concerned about is your own existence, that’s living life wrong. I’ll grant that there are a percentage of the player base who are decent, thoughtful and considerate, but of the people who I exist alongside on social media, there’s an awful lot who aren’t. That’s why I now run a very strongly and fiercely curated Twitter list, and I’m quite proud of the fact I no longer just roll my eyes at the collective stupid that abounds but attempt to confront it head on. The truly arrogant people, of course, read my thoughts and either assume it’s obviously directed at them and not general advice or attack me for opening my mouth to begin with.
At least I know then they possess the ability to listen, and possibly change.
Everybody fucks up, just a fact of life, but if your response when someone makes a genuine mistake is to ostracise them? More fool you. On more than one occasion I’ve been this stupid and done just that, and going back to apologise will not show you as either weak or stupid. In fact, it should confirm your status as human along with the rest of us, and will earn you snacks and respect for at least grasping there was fault on all sides. There are still those who’ll only see Twitter as their soapbox, or Twitch as their theatre, and I doubt that will change as long as there’s a fan base to agree and Drama to generate. Oh, and to those who might then argue I’ve turned my back on them for an honest mistake, I’d ask you to take a long, hard look at yourself. Was it just me you had an issue with? Have you overreacted consistently on social media? Can you honestly say you care about the thoughts and feelings of other people? If you feel genuinely aggrieved feel free to come find me and ask for that block to be reconsidered. However, if your sole aim was to get what YOU wanted?
There are those people who tell me that posts like this aren’t helpful, that stirring muddy waters only results in more drama. Well, I’m past that stage and on the other side of the river. Looking back at yet another bridge burnt, I know full well that the people who won’t be stopped by a loss of access will simply move downstream to find a safer way to cross. Maybe they are brave enough to swim across at the point where river meets the sea, pushing against the tides of expectation. If they don’t care and there’s a boat to protect them, perhaps that will be enough for now, but maybe not in the future. Ultimately, your own soul is the arbiter of truth, and mine tells me this way is my true means forward. Those who accept this truth make their own decisions, following and leaving in often equal measure, and long may this be the way this journey continues to happen.
Sometimes, it isn’t about being the same thing, all the time.