Yesterday was tough. Paris has enormous personal significance for me, since my early 20’s. I said a lot on the personal feed yesterday, and history will recall that I learnt about the fire, almost moments after it started, because of Social media. In fact, I knew about it in a house on the East coast of England well before major news outlets reported the fact. This is why this medium has become so important.
The world, quite literally, is at my fingertips.
Of course, it matters a great deal in these situations who you follow: I have a number of Parisians on my feed thanks to that computer game. At a point in proceedings someone decided that the way to go with reaction wasn’t ‘this is horrible’ but instead that ‘yay, organised religion is burning’ was a better angle. Once upon a time, that might have been a great way to pull in the more radical fringes to your cause. Not any more.
There’s a consequence to being in the public eye: if you fuck up with an audience, it is increasingly difficult to hide your crime. This was the fate of a Sky news anchor yesterday who said all the wrong things on camera and when apologising via a Tweet forgot to actually say they were sorry. Words really matter, especially on a text based medium. Using the right ones is a skill many don’t grasp.
Individual culpability on an instant message network has never mattered more than it does now. Knowing when to say stuff, or more importantly, when to stay quiet is a life skill that so many have never successfully grasped. It’s something only now I’m comfortable with, after (I think) nearly eight years on the platform. It’s also why I’ll never, ever EVER go back to Facebook.
I remember the day when it became apparent that even if I was interested in leaving my past behind, other people weren’t. The perpetual obsession with marking yourself against those you were educated with, social groups you felt uncomfortable with and subsequently left, is a source of constant amazement. The human obsession with maintaining such bonds when the knots they are tied with are inherently flawed has never made sense.
This is the place where I am happiest after half a century, without doubt, divested from the distractions of the past. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of that via my husband’s need to be reminded of those people and their achievements, and am reassured that nothing significant is either lost or missed from removal. After all, if these people truly cared about me in the first place, they’d be here now, reading what I do.
The fact no-one bothers beyond the spoon-fed auspices of mass media hubs is a lesson in itself: I know this is possible, because individuals have made that move. Some came and stayed, others got frustrated with my attitude and again left. I’m not here to personally entertain anyone or conform to your view of what I should be. This is about evolution, development and expansion.
If that matters enough, you find a way.