Would I Lie to You

Fake news, as has been discussed at length, is quite a thing around sections of the internet. However, of late I’m also seeing a rather depressing trend towards what can only be called ‘pseudo fake news’ of which this video is a prime example. The scenario is simple: let’s expose other people’s stupidity, make fun of them, and then package it up in video form as entertainment. It’s like Jackass for people who don’t really like to get physically hurt, but feel emotional distress is a ton of fun.

I find it particularly distressing as I forget basic stuff, a lot. Left and right is confusing enough to me that I only managed to pass my driving test by writing it on my shoes. Maths makes my head hurt, learning sequences of moves in the Gym is often more exhausting than the exercise… and the list goes on. The fact that people are now happy, almost gleeful to admit they have gaps in their knowledge and then allow other people to film themselves proving that point? Well, it makes sense, when you not only grasp the science, but understand a desire to be more than we already are.

I tend to kop a lot of flack in my house for my lack of schadenfreude, but honestly there are more entertaining things to laugh at. I suppose too it is because when other people talk about things and there is no knowledge of what it is that’s being discussed, there’s a feeling ‘well, maybe I am the stupid one.’ Except, the fact remains that knowing everything isn’t how this works. I’m an awful cook, and have never grasped the basics. I had to double check what sunny side up meant.

This made me think for lots of reasons, and then made me wonder whether the whole thing was staged. Are these guys actors? Did they get paid for their time? Then I realised that the whole thing was being overthought and it was time for a cuppa. However, if I look at the kind of dross that my husband wades through on his Facebook page, there’s not really much difference between that and this, and I can do better with what’s watched. If I fancy mindless distraction, I’ll go for a run instead.

If nobody watched this shit, there’d be no market for it overnight.

Shake it Off

On the way to School this morning, the youngest got quite emotional over some fan-art that had been drawn for her. It’s something that has happened to me a couple of times in the past, but now I pay for other people to draw me for the headers because, let’s be honest, flattery is a very emotive subject. What is awe in one person’s mind can often become discomfort in another’s. It’s like the aboriginal fear of having a picture taken: your soul is captured without permission, and can never be salvaged.

I heard a theory today that the key to reliable knowledge is constant self-doubt. Just because something was right and true a year ago does not mean that is the case today. The almost continuous flood of online information allows us to re-assess what matters and what doesn’t, and influences are a constant and never-ending means by which the environment around us is redefined. All it needs is someone to come along and upset the apple-cart of familiarity and BOOM the world view changes forever.

I’ve spent a portion of my life using pedantry as a defence mechanism. Now it’s been elevated to a spectator sport, means by which cheap views can be garnered and indignation ignited. It is also the catalyst for an increasing number of Fandoms to spontaneously combust/implode/explode depending on the particular revelations presented. Some are welcome, cleansing fires, whilst others are the worst kind of dumpster trash.

My daughter’s advice to me was amazingly simple this morning: just be nice and do stuff for other people. After decades of being worn down to smooth, painless interactions where nobody gets hurt because no-one actually gives any part of themselves in the process, the concept of offering myself to the current Internet is, let it be said, quite a frightening prospect. However, that’s really how this works. You gotta get out there and interact, or else how else does anything change?

The problem, of course, is that there is no control over outcomes in the Wild West of unsolicited interaction. It is why so many people block and mute the inopportune out of their feeds, why Discords are the new Forums where you only invite who you want to talk to, and that everybody tries on certain days to shut out the bad news when actually, it needs to be heard. I appreciate reasoning for those people who leave when the going gets tough, but at some point, somewhere, a stand is required.

Day Two of the New Regime therefore is asking people who are reading this who’d like to develop dialogues to leave a comment. My daughter might argue I’m trying to hard by encouraging people to respond but honestly, this is the only means by which progress takes place. To encourage this, your comment will now instantly appear when posted, I’ve taken screening off for the first time in years.

Let’s see who is listening…

Somebody that I Used to Know

There has been very little time to sit and consider the achievement of last week until now. I will be applying for the Ballot for the 46 when it is open, with no desire at all to complete the 100. Knowing what’s involved, having had to deal with the virtual versions of both hills, that’s not what will ever be considered enjoyable. I’m not sure a lot of the 46 was that much fun in the rain, but it would be a lie to say the overall experience wasn’t satisfying. Next time however I’m determined to complete the thing on more than three hours sleep.

Sitting here in a foreign country, this is the first opportunity there’s been for a while to think generally away from what counts as normal life since before I started race training. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that on my return there will be much more of the same, with a probable increase in frequency: not because there needs to be improvement, but because there’s more enjoyment whilst doing that than was previously realised. Exercise has stopped simply being for a purpose, and has evolved into a genuine form of relaxation, which may sound odd, but is 100% accurate.

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There are other changes already being formulated too: my working space is going to alter (and reduce) plus there are thoughts forming that might relocate me completely. The benefit of going away, ultimately, is to allow readjustment of everything that surrounds, and it would be a foolish person (in my mind) that did not attempt some form of reinvention at least on a yearly basis. So, on our return (after a break with its fair share of drama) it feels only right and proper to start as I mean to go on.

The other key to this shift will not be to go out and buy new stuff to fill this space, but recycle what already exists in the house. There is plenty of desk space available to move and shift, and I’m not looking for anything sparkly or ‘new’ to work with. It will be a challenge of an ability to creatively recycle, and that’s something that appeals to a brain which is beginning to grasp that the future isn’t about a relentless process of continual consumption. There are some issues left to address at home too, it would be lovely to try and fix as many as possible in the months that follow, and those within my grasp will be summarily addressed.

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This is a much needed holiday. When I get back, the hard work will begin again, but with renewed enthusiasm.

Strange Days

About once a week I think, perhaps a bit less, someone who I know is fairly prolific on Social media will vanish. If they’re a sensible type, there’ll often be a précis to this along the lines of ‘I need to take a break.’ It is becoming the norm, rather than an exception, and denotes that an individual has, quite sensibly, grasped how much of a controlling influence this medium can become. There’s a reason you take rest days in exercise, can’t eat the same junk food for months on end without at least injecting some healthy food groups. Everything in excess is dangerous.

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However, this may not help solve that persistent unhappiness that’s experienced via Global group interaction. Social media is neither soft drug nor cranial stimulant. It is the equivalent of talking to someone for an hour whilst simultaneously doing something you either love, hate or really aren’t that fussed about. If you’re in a bad place, there’s a 50/50 chance it won’t improve your mood, and then you have another important decision to make. Should you rely constantly on virtual encouragement when, if the power went out, you really would be on your own?

Why do I see people constantly using it as a crutch when in reality a ball and chain is the more realistic metaphor?

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There’s the key: appearance. What you see as one thing is completely different to someone else. That’s why we no longer just have glasses of water in the future, you’re either full or empty and let that be a lesson to you, young lady. Do NOT stand in public places and decry anybody else’s opinions as shonky, lest ye be judged as shonky yourself, for the future is being listened to only if your follower count is over 9000 and you’re a registered Opinion Haver. We are approaching the last days of independent thought: algorithms are already blocking your Tweets as noise to the people you really care about. They’re already leaving Social medias because grown men can get them the sack just by having a Reddit group.

Seriously, this is the future of the Internet?

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We dodged the bullet in Europe in the last week over copyright, but they’re already reloading the gun. People in the US are already seeing their net being throttled and metered: it is just the beginning. We will look back on these glory day in a decade’s time (assuming we’re all still here of course) and wish we’d stopped wanking amongst ourselves far sooner. This will be a place where you need to pay for an opinion, and then negotiate the various paywalls in order to have any chance of being heard. If you want emotional support from friends, you can bet it will come with a fee and conditions.

The Data Apocalypse is coming: don’t say you were not suitably forewarned.

There Goes the Fear

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The first thing I did this morning (ignoring the 20 minutes it took me to get my underwear on) was find out how much information Google has stored on me. The fact this will take ‘some time’ is not filling me with joy, I’ll admit. However, Google is the single biggest hoarder of online information that I possess and so, this is worth the effort.

Then I checked which email addresses use have been pwned.

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All of my concern might seem a bit desperate, but as this Guardian article suggests, the Internet is no longer just happy pictures of cats and glitter. It is a place where everybody scrapes your data for their own nefarious ends. Therefore, being self-aware was never more significant than it is now. It only takes five minutes to check, and has made me realise that even though I’m pretty cautious, maybe deleting Facebook isn’t enough.

There’s a lot more still to be done.

I’m kindof glad we don’t do Smart Gadgets in this house too…

Underneath it All

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You cannot choose the people you inspire, or that will like you and most crucially of all, however hard you try, some people will never be your friends. I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way over the years: there’ll always be someone who you think you’d like to get to know better and then something will happen to ensure that never comes to pass. The last situation in which this transpired came back to haunt me at the weekend, a mutual tweeting someone who I reached out to but… on reflection, it wouldn’t have worked. They wouldn’t have been the problem, either. I would have ruined it.

The people that have helped chart the course over the last few years have been getting thank you’s this month (as I mentioned back at the start of November) and with the last four this week comes to pass an event that has made a lot of sense in the wider scope of what I’d like to happen going forward. You can give blanket thanks to people on Social media all day and night, knowing that many users simply read what they need or want into situations regardless of your desirers. Naming names is the way people understand how much they matter to you, pure and simple.

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Sometimes, people get disappointed. They put a lot more emphasis on you than is the case the other way. When I do a cursory account check of new people to follow, it is always with half an eye on who else they consider interesting. It means if you’re reading this and your Twitter friends list is full of female ‘online personalities’ and porn robots, I’m fairly confident we won’t have a lot in common. I’m pushing more and more for those people who understand that participation isn’t just complaining online about how unfair life is, those willing and prepared to give back more than they take out. Thinking needs to be the default these days, however tough that might be on a daily basis. That means not only considering what you say, but more crucially what you don’t.

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Having survived the early stage of Patreon, it is time to start raising the bar. Persuading people to give you money (especially in this day and age) is a tough ask. I have big plans starting this week, and need to get more people on board, who are prepared to take a chance on me and what I believe in. We don’t need to be friends for this to happen, either. However, that might happen, or it might not… a lot of it isn’t up to me to begin with. Life isn’t a predictable set of occurrences. If we get lucky, then so be it.

Sometimes, just inspiring people to be better is enough.

Today

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Look, I don’t want to jinx this, but this week’s going remarkably well. The whole ‘upping the step count’ thing’s moving amazingly to plan, there’s gonna be two sessions of PT instead of one, and it’s only taken me until Wednesday to sort about 80% of the To Do list. I keep looking over my shoulder, expecting summat rubbish to transpire, but it has as yet failed to materialise. I know what is driving the push to get stuff done, however, the reminder from various quarters this week that we are only visitors to this existence. Each day needs to be lived well, and with a passion.

That is certainly how things are coming to pass this week.

Also, this week I have given my daughter something that, a decade ago, probably wouldn’t have existed. I’ll be chaperoning her and a friend to see Dan and Phil, Internet superstars, on their 2018 World Tour. If the levels of squee in this house yesterday were any indicator, I’m going to need to invest in earplugs for the night. Fortunately, this is taking place at my favourite London venue, the Eventim Apollo, where I’ve seen both Elbow and Kate Bush… at least it’ll be familiar surroundings. Maybe I can watch some videos before I go, so I don’t look like an utter n00b when I get there…

Right, just enough time to get another load of laundry on before I have to walk to the Gym :D