Yesterday was a blockfest, with added muting across a lot of my timeline. What I continue to find disturbing isn’t that other people don’t pick up the cues that they’re actively promoting the behaviour that they erroneously believe they are condemning, but that they’re not able to work that out for themselves. The lack of understanding over how social media works is staggering.

You really don’t understand this at all, do you?

Social media companies need you to engage with other people. It is the fundamental principle of how this all works. I’ve seen people’s graphs on how using TikTok has quickly and effectively pulled in new audiences. It’s seductive enough right now for me to be looking at the app and considering an entrance, and I am ABSOLUTELY the last person you’d ever expect to go there.

All content is relevant as a result, even the hateful stuff… in many cases, especially that, because it picks up traffic from both supporters and detractors. Both sides do a pile on, for different reasons. As long as people use the site to do something, it doesn’t matter what that is. That’s the key here, engagement is profit. It grants the fuel for Trending and gives online news organisations filler stories when there’s no news.

Except now, of course, people are using reach to create their own news.

Lewis as a brand is totally lit right now, and with a performance like this… well, it only gets better. This tweet therefore is notable for a number of reasons. F1 aren’t likely to flag for use of broadcast content without a licence: this guy is a brand ambassador. Most newspapers may well struggle to be able to shove actual footage on their sites, making this tweet valuable in many ways. Crucially, third parties can’t remove his dialogue from it.

Here is a man who totally and completely grasps what he is capable of doing, and is pushing for change. THIS is the kind of content EVERYBODY should be promoting, and yet the drop off from Black Lives Matters proves that most people in power want to remain so, and therefore have no intention of passing the mic any time soon.

If you promote people’s hate agenda, you are part of the wider issue.

There are more than enough fights going on in the world over disparity and power as it is right now, without actively contributing to any more via stupidity. Picking the right ones to be involved in shouldn’t be hard, but beware of spreading yourself too thinly. It’s always better to focus on what you’re good at than try and learn on the hoof.

For me, that means focussing on what I know most about which in this case is how the Internet operates. I am building a brand with a steady decline in numbers, which tells me something is going well here. Maybe ascribing to someone else’s notion of success is the bigger issue. Find a niche and settle in. Respect the rules of common decency. Don’t make things worse.

Make every day a school day.

We Used to be Friends

This discussion is of interest to me right now for a couple of reasons. The main one, undoubtedly, revolves around how change can happen in communities that, on a whole, really don’t care about doing anything except maintaining the status quo. The only example I have of this is how other people have gained notoriety or followers in my own sphere. If you want to be successful in my major Twitter habitat, here’s how you do it:

  1. Art,
  2. Streaming games,
  3. Social justice,
  4. Memes,
  5. Attacking other people,
  6. Becoming a ‘personality’.

Unsurprisingly, intelligent discussion features nowhere on that list: neither does poetry or writing generally. This was my first indicator that if I wanted to succeed at these things, I was in the wrong virtual space to capitalise. As I change tack and begin the process of building a new following, skills learnt are beginning to grant egress. Where you make your contacts matters.

Then we need to talk about what people don’t do, and how you define ‘friends’ on the Internet.

One of my biggest problems using this platform, without doubt, is the ridiculously high level of expectation I pin on other people. If a relationship really matters, you put in the effort. I try to do this with RL friends too, which used to be really tough (for reasons that may eventually be discussed in public) but now, undoubtedly, has become considerably easier because of my attitude to how life works.

The fact remains: if someone doesn’t want to put in the effort, or you’re not important enough to them, all the pushing in the World isn’t going to change their outlook. My mental issues have driven wedges into RL friendships and, in a number of cases, broken them beyond repair. It is what it is. Now, looking for people who understand what any relationship comes with as baggage is quite important.

That’s where the first major caveat comes into play.


Understanding when to walk away is tough online, but with practice and consideration it becomes quite easy to know when you’re in the wrong space. I’ve had someone I enjoyed listening to this week make her quiet, drama-free exit from my feed: it’s only right therefore that her Instagram is unfollowed as acknowledgement we are no longer part of each others’ lives. On reflection, its no surprise.

None of the people who have me blocked are a surprise: I’m noisy, post often and often overlook proper filters. If you fuck me off, I’ll tell you so, that’s the joyous advantage of my mental situation. Except, of late it has become apparent that this often makes bad situations worse, and if you respect other people’s opinions and sanctity all that does is make you look like drama’s acceptable, when everybody really wants a bit of peace.


The second caveat flips the picture. When I do make the effort, and attempt to leverage some enlightenment into someone’s frame of reference… do they care? Well, often that’s a job worth doing, there’s the signs of a point being made… but unless the person is open and sympathetic to constructive criticism, that is also often the point where any fledgling relationship ends. I didn’t come on the Internet for people to tell me I’m wrong, I’m here to escape from people doing that to me IRL…

It all depends, it appears, on why you’re here to begin with. If fame is the goal, the last thing that’s required is dissent over any game plan. You can tell the serial goal-setters a mile away, and that’s when a choice has to be made. Does this person listen, or are they simply appeasing you in front of an audience to prove how fair and equitable they can be? Will they in turn seek your feed out, read what you have to say, or are they only interested in the mention you gave them to begin with?


Then its all down to the Curation Game: mute for a bit (is the feed better or worse without them, is there even a noticeable difference) then unfollow or, if the need is there block and move on. The smart people should know when the nuclear button is pressed why you’re suddenly no longer accessible, and there’s a good chance that if the point wasn’t made before, it is now: you did a bad thing, and we’re no longer going to talk to each other.

If the friendship really matters to the other person and you block them, it’s not like they suddenly became inaccessible. An email was sent once to someone asking them why a block was enforced, and their reply was a salutatory warning: I didn’t know this individual at all. The ‘person’ they were online was nothing like their reality, my kind of disruption or controversy was simply not warranted in their lives any more. These situations are the ones that need to be learnt from, as a warning going forward.

Redefining friendship parameters on a daily basis should be a part of a self-care routine.


My thought train begins today with this Tweet:

It is the first time that the idea of ‘social media as a mirror’ has registered in my brain. This, as it transpires, is a remarkably apposite description of how many people use it, confirmation bias included. I’ve not yet seen The Last Jedi, but the divisive nature of reviews says very much in my mind that this is going one of two ways. There are those people watching the film and considering it as entertainment, and then those whose perception of the Star Wars Universe is so personally warped to begin with that this  narrative will inevitably end up as an affront. It doesn’t matter if you believe that the whole thing’s simply a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back or not. You didn’t write the script. That’s how fiction works.

You accept the concept you are given, or you don’t.

However, and this is important, denigration of the older generation is now a thing. This is, like it or not, the inevitable consequence of dozens of sex scandals and the disparaging of both women and minorities, which remained acceptable until this year [*] and now is the metaphor du jour. If you look beyond the vanity mirror of Twitter, and grasp the wider social issues, however, the young have always held a love/hate relationship with their elders. Go back to the 1920’s if you want to see it beginning, and you can argue that youth v experience has been a force majeure in literary terms since time in memorial.

The problem now, undoubtedly, is that there’s a lot more older people dictating the life of those younger than them. The life expectancy of the average American might be beginning to drop, but there’s still a phenomenal number of people who’ll argue that their voice matters, and their opinions should be heard. Looking at Twitter bots over the Christmas period, the assumption is they’re either run by a) under 25’s or b) Moscow. The truth, as played out in the United States, is that old white people are a force to be reckoned with. Piss them off, and everybody suffers, especially the minorities. You only have to look at the oldest kid in Washington DC to grasp what then happens as consequence.


Except on Christmas Day I saw a number of Dr Who fans quietly frustrated at the nature of certain aspects of the Christmas Special script, using 1960’s ‘mentality’ as means by which to garner some cheap laughs. It’s the situation that happens when you look at a Carry On film with modern sensibilities and realise that certain jokes just won’t wear in the current climate. The key here is that you accept both are appropriate in the context of their own time-frame: Who’s about to cross into territory that’s as alien for a lot of its audience as the planets they’ll happily visit if there’s a man in charge. It is time to be sympathetic over the audience you’re dealing with, as well as accepting a past that, despite the ability to travel in time, cannot really be changed.

Many people are afraid of letting power away from themselves and having to trust others with decision making. Movies, TV and books allow those people the opportunity to safely experience these situations without the reality ever taking place, but social media has now empowered some to erroneously grasp that if they don’t like what they read, hear or see, it can be altered. You don’t get to do this with what other people make. They stand and fall by their own choices, and art is not theirs to recreate, but to look at and consider before deciding to like it or not. It is perfectly okay to not enjoy something, but telling a company to remove it from canon because it upsets your own world view?

That’s not how entertainment has ever worked.

[*] It’s been a thing since Adam and Eve if you’re the one on the receiving end. Now, because the practice has become socially unacceptable, it’s news.

It’s still happening though :(



It’s been some time since a movie stopped me in my tracks, but last night (as our kids were with their Gran and Grandad) Mr Alt and I ‘rented’ Arrival. It’s probably the best six quid I’ve spent on a film for quite some time, and although it was almost frustratingly slow to start, on reflection the pacing was spot on. It’s also a VERY clever film in terms of its use of a Chinese character (who has a key and pivotal significance to the narrative) as has become the fashion of late for Hollywood. I won’t spoil it for you, because I really urge a watch if you’ve not done so: I guessed the ‘plot’ quite early on, and the signs on the roadmap to final understanding were subtle enough to make this hugely satisfying. My only objection is Renner’s casting as a physicist when all I can see him doing is firing arrows, but that’s my problem to fix and not anyone else’s.

What Arrival has now prompted in my mind is the understanding that language is a hugely subjective tool. There’s a key point in the narrative (which is referenced in the trailer and so won’t spoil you) where, in interpreting the Heptapod’s incredibly complicated, 3D written language, the word ‘weapon’ is used by the aliens with immediate and devastating effect. Crucially, it is immediately understood by Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) as a potential mistake: we are teaching aliens our language, and by doing so there is always the possibility that a word can be misinterpreted because of the way we misuse them ourselves. There’s a brilliant scene in the narrative that foreshadows this too: Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) is amazed that the first words that Banks will ‘teach’ are, in his mind ‘grade school’ and only when Louise explains exactly why it has to happen that way is it clear that learning to communicate without misinterpretation is one of the most complicated things we will ever do.

Social media, on any given day, is a perfect example of how that process can get mangled.

Language is a constantly evolving concept: words change meaning from generation to generation. What someone can consider a grievous insult others will laugh at as a clever pun, or an adroit use of definition, and the problem remains the interpretation of the individual. On social media however, there are other issues to consider. If, as has been the case in the past, I’m discussing something in one place with someone who’s reading about other people’s views in two other places, their frame of reference to mine is different, making their interpretation of the key issue inherently different. If all you did on Social media was have one to one conversations, an awful lot of miscommunication and offence would automatically vanish, but often several conversations will go on at once and in amongst this people are asked to make judgements, sometimes based on only a portion of the total facts available. When the definition of those words get mangled, then it can all go to hell very fast, and pretty much always does.


There is a great deal you can learn from discussion and debate, so much so your kids will be encouraged in school to do just that. My son has been incredibly brave in his admissions, my daughter is just beginning to find a voice which I hope one day will allow her to feel confident in her chosen career. Being comfortable enough to argue is great, but I’ll be the first one to admit that doing so in certain online spaces is a waste of both time and sanity. Even the most erudite of speakers, the most intellectual of human beings has the capacity to become a total imbecile when given half the chance, or the right poke from a Troll. On the flip side, branding a whole group of people as ‘deplorable’ doesn’t do wonders for your PR either. This is where the adage that ‘it takes two to start an argument’ is the mantra to repeat, and the Monty Python sketch on Arguments should be taught to every person who’s never heard it:

M: I came here for a good argument!

O: AH, no you didn’t, you came here for an argument!

M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.

O: Well! it CAN be!

M: No it can’t!

M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

O: No it isn’t!

M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.

O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!

M: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn’t!

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn’t!

O: Yes it is!

M: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

This week therefore I’ll be doing my utmost to improve communication skills in places where I know they’re lacking. I’ll also remember that it matters just as much who I’m speaking to as what I say, and that a wise woman remembers this and plans accordingly.

Some days, the best thing to do is never to speak to begin with.

Fight the Power

When I grow up, I’d like to be a Professional Troll-Slayer.


No, not THAT kind (though I do have the beard for this) but the type that has enough brains, clout and sheer bravado to take the Internet Troll to task: news feeds are now littered with examples of how J.K Rowling slays all who deserve it. Often Trolls don’t care about anything but the attention: their actions aren’t motivated in order to provoke a response, it’s being able to spew hate without caring over consequence. Except now, with increasing regularity, trolls are being held to task in spaces outside of social media.


Jack Monroe’s a local lass, friends with at least one person my husband knows, and extremely capable of not taking shit from anybody. The fact she’s now suing one of the most notorious spewers of arrogant and selfish rhetoric on the Internet, Katie Hopkins, fills me with a great deal of both satisfaction and comfort. This is the same Ms Hopkins whose employers at the Daily Mail were forced to cough up a six figure sum over another libellous claim only a few months ago: sadly however, it looks unlikely that this woman will ever change or discover the importance of considering consequence before speaking. However, one assumes that if you get libel proceedings posted against you enough times then eventually people will stop employing you… but we all know that’s not true either.

However, what this case (and others like it) will hopefully highlight is that you can’t just say whatever the fuck you want on the Internet any more without there being some kind of consequence. On the other side Twitter themselves are finally beginning to respond to many complaints that there’s simply not enough ways to deal with the speech at source. There’s been a number of new features that were introduced by the Company at the beginning of February, and indicators that certain behaviour may be being blocked completely. However there’s no independently verified confirmation of this, just the muttering of various websites with quite obvious and extreme right wing political bias. So, perhaps it is best simply to concentrate on the stuff we know is truth, from the source:


I’ve used the Abusive Tweet service on several occasions since November and it is certainly a better and more thoughtful means of targeting what should be genuine abuse or attempts to spread disinformation. However, what this doesn’t provide for is twofold: the previously normal person who ‘goes rogue’ or the professional person such as Ms Hopkins whose presence on Twitter is as important as advertising for the platform, right up until the point it becomes detrimental. As we discovered with a certain young British chap who made his name via social media, you can get away with pretty everything until sex comes up, and then it’s Game Over. Twitter may have banned him last year but by then the damage was done. If the wrong person gets upset or angry, and goes on a rampage, even deleting those Tweets won’t be enough: as we have discussed with George Takei in recent days, people have surprisingly good memories, and everything can be screen-shotted.


However, by far and away the best tool to prevent people from taking you to court is a brain. You simply don’t post, or step away to begin with. If you do go in with your axe held high, be prepared to fight clean and clever. Rowling’s undoubted brilliance is, unsurprisingly, as a writer, and her barbs aren’t hurled at the person but at their comment. Libel, strictly defined, is a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; effectively a written defamation. None of those sick burns are ever about the person themselves, simply the words used, and as long as you understand how thin that line is? You can tread it safely, secure in the fact that this is the way to approach Trolling with Style. The moment you start threatening a person physically or calling their personality into question is when the alarm bells should ring for everybody.

In essence, social media demands people to consider their anger in a literary context when it comes to people or events they find discomforting. If you can take the time to use your words well, they are better weapons than any you might find lying about to poke others with. In fact the damage these words can and will do should never be underestimated: it isn’t the sensitive or exposed at threat here either. On any given day, the President of the United States can be made angry and annoyed by what he hears on a TV screen or on Social media. Journalists can be offended. Prime Ministers can agree or disagree. I’ve seen this all in the last week, and all of this has happened with the power of letters, connected into sentences. Your words can destroy, or liberate, and yet so many people never consider their significance until it is too late.

Time to think more, friends, and hate less.

Burning Heart

I am not an Expert.

I’ll grant you, sometimes I probably sound like I’m trying to be one. For the record, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT the intention. If you asked me what I’m really good at, I’d struggle to give you a representative answer. I can do a decent fist of writing, if the wind’s in my favour. I take an okay photograph. I’m awful at domestic chores, fail consistently at being both prompt and in remembering significant dates, and my cookery skills remain woeful at best (MUST FIX THAT.) I also fail at being empathetic, sympathetic, understanding and generally spend a lot of time fighting emotional states to maintain a decent illusion of coping. I am singularly, definitely, positively NOT an expert at ANYTHING.

I’m brilliant however at reacting: someone yesterday called me a ‘take no prisoners’ kind of personality and yeah, I will often not really care about how you feel if I think you’re being a Class A Twatface, I’ll just point out the stupid and move on.  However, because I know that empathy is often one of my failings (unless we know each other, then you get double) I do now attempt not to sound like anything at all when I see someone on Social media struggling with a bad time. Then, I watch other people pile in with ‘expertise’ that often makes me want to throw pot plants at them, because in my mind there is NOTHING WORSE than when you say summat like this for a bunch of people to pile in with their own ‘interpretation’ of what appears to have transpired.


This is the virtual equivalent of ‘if you don’t have anything useful to say, don’t say anything at all.’ I know my Grandma used to replace ‘useful’ with ‘nice’ but in the Modern world, that’s not happening on the Internet to begin with. When I watch someone say summat on their feed which is clearly meant as a explanation of their actions and nothing else, to watch other people dive in to ‘interpret’ that is, I have to say, depressing beyond belief. This, for me, is where the GIF has become a way of me being able to show interest, but not dig a hole for myself, which would often happen previously when I’d have only words to fall back on. That whole adage of ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ is absolutely spot on: that’s why, when I’m done here, I should go find more hug GIFs because that’s what I and others need most right now. That and artistically-photographed cake, beverages, lovely serene landscapes and Mini Dogs. Lots of lovely, fluffy and perky canines to keep me sane when it all goes Pete Tong on my feed.


I also sense, behind a number of Avatars, a slow realisation that appearing not to care about anything but your own agenda is part of a larger issue that will start affecting more people than just Governments and large corporations. I may appear to operate a fairly 1/0 approach to caring about Randoms on certain days, but I can guarantee that’s not the case. I am passionate about everything, to the point where some days it is mentally exhausting. I’m now reining in the urge to go HAM on your Feed because I can see the difference between something that needs to be commented on and summat the person just needed to say for their own sanity. Just because someone says summat on Social media does not mean you need to respond, and just because nobody answers you does not mean nobody is listening. This vital point has somewhere been lost, and everybody is an expert at everything.

Oh, and as a reminder I’m not claiming to be an expert here.

I’m just pointing out the fucking obvious.


Because everybody is watching everybody else, all the time, potentially nothing is missed, but we all know the truth is a long way from that reality. Some of you will get hugely aggrieved that there’s no response to what you want to talk about, or that when you need help there’s ‘nobody around’ when in reality that often equates to a few people or even a single person of interest. It is the ‘Notice me Senpai’ approach to life that assumes that at any given time, like it or not, you are the centre of the Universe. Well, of course you are, because that’s how Social media works. You make a space, you carve out a niche, and then you sell it (if you’re wanting to make a name) or you find a soapbox and stand on it (if you’re orating to the crowd) and so on, ad infinitum with all the things this platform can be used for. However, how you perceive that space is far more important than the area itself. Unless you clearly define that to other people, or make that obvious via your own actions? You will only have yourself to blame if the wheels come off, and they always will when there’s not an acceptance that definition could ever be an issue.


You need to be made of strong stuff to stand ‘in public’, when all is said and done. As you get older, vanity and substance should give way to acceptance and understanding, but more often than not you just get more sensitive and less capable. If I am to become an expert at anything in my life, it should be to just being what I am without allowing anyone else to dictate those limits to me. If you don’t like my attitude at first glance, maybe it isn’t just my problem to address but ours to jointly negotiate. Everybody doesn’t need to come down to your level or act as you see fit. Put the expertise on hold for a minute and don’t just think you’re capable of solving all the issues in the World, because you can’t and won’t. If someone refuses to listen? Don’t take it as an insult, and try and understand why. That’s what’s missing more than anything else right now, from every aspect of my life. People don’t want to, or they’re too tired to, or it isn’t what matters any more. That’s a big fat fucking lie.

Understanding is EVERYTHING.

Stop pretending you’re an expert, because you’re not.

Slave to the Rhythm

This is me, thinking about why Twitter works as well as it does when nobody has an agenda. Today, it’s all about how you interact with the platform, and then how other people do the same with you.

It’s Day Two of India vs England and suddenly, there’s an England batting collapse. Joe Root’s just gone for 53, caught at deep mid-off, and Charles Dagnall, one of the ‘new breed’ of radio Test commentators, is retweeted by @bbctms (Test Match Special‘s dedicated Twitter feed) saying what most of us just thought:

My first thought? Oh look, England’s gonna fuck it up again.


I was talking to my daughter this morning on our way to school, about how Emojis are showing an interesting way forward for language in the future. In years to come, images might well replace spoken language as they are a far easier form of instant communication for people to understand. So, when I saw Charles’ comment, this GIF was the perfect response. So, I sent it, and in a moment of cosmic beauty the man decided to reply with an Emoji to boot <3

Here’s Reason #1 why having princes and paupers together is a great thing, especially when it comes to communicating intent. This platform allows you to get people with influence to read stuff that matters. Normally it works best when you aren’t the seller, however: altruism is always the best way forward. Asking your hero to read your shit? No, that’s not the plan here. Asking your hero to read someone else’s shit you think is brilliant? Much better idea. 

My mate Julia links me a website made by @clarabellum which suggests that instead of getting upset over the US Election, you could do something positive, like give time or money to make things better. I think this is brilliant, and try and work out how I get this more exposure, and the person on my FL who I think might appreciate this? Duncan Jones. We’ve chatted a little too, I know he’s a voracious Twitter consumer, and he’s on EU time because he’s filming in Germany. In this case, I don’t expect a reply, just sending the Tweet is enough. The fact I get one? So much the betterer.


I created a link to a hero, over a subject I know we’re both passionate about. No, I won’t start stalking him any time soon, and this isn’t about anything other than sharing a love of the things that make us mesh. As a grown up you can do this and just move on, and yeah, you’re totally cool about it. Nah, it’s not a big deal at all.

Yeah, I lied. However, there’s a bigger issue tied up in this and it is worth explaining. I have a particular person who likes to ‘like’ my posts on pretty much a daily basis. They don’t follow me, but are still reading my timeline, presumably via a Twitter ‘List’ that somebody else maintains. I’ve found this increasingly uncomfortable, and only this morning did I work out why.

This is a significant epiphany. Unless I lock my account, anybody can and will read me. Just because I don’t have them on my feed doesn’t mean they’re incapable of communication, either. Mr Jones’ ‘like’ shows me he read the message. Twatface Otherbloke’s cursory liking feels to me exactly like I’m at the pole and he’s got the dosh because if I mattered enough, presumably, he’d have gotten off his arse and spoken to me by now. Instead he’ll just continue to smile and shove those fivers into my underwear. Even a retweet to his followers list might show that what I’m doing matters enough for him to expand my audience, but it could almost be as if I’m being baited. I feel like I’ve become his personal show, and that’s a lot why both sides of this platform often come to blows. Because if you assume to much, or not enough, or often any point in between? It will only end in tears.


The best way this whole thing works is when you stop making it personal. It’s like being in the Pub when the famous bloke comes in, and you get to shake their hand and say how cool you think they are. That’s all it is, a moment of passing, the nod of appreciation that yes, what’s happening here is cool and you have relevance. I’m not after a Senpai noticing me, I’m chancing my arm and LOOK I DID IT. Tomorrow it won’t happen, and the trick to life is not to live on the belief of expectation and simply to life as you live.

Today, I learn the lesson that if I don’t want cash in my cleavage, I should become an accountant.

Ful Stop

I see I’m going to have to explain this to a few people. That’s fine, it is no big deal. I’ve not really discussed the details of my illness with you so, tell you what, let’s do that now. 

Anxiety is a big deal around these parts.


Being ‘not good enough’ is something I’ve carried about, in one form or another, since my teens. Taking the easy route, for a long time, was just how life happened. Only when I met my husband did life start being about better than that, but it is only in the last decade that I’ve really understood what the paralysis of fear and inability has wrought on my life. The whole exercise path has opened up an entirely new world for me to explore, but yesterday I was back in my teens. My PT suggested a series of repetitions using gym equipment, that she thought I was capable of doing, but my brain said no. In the end I was in tears, after 20 minutes of fighting both mind and body simultaneously. I couldn’t do what was asked, even though my body was more than capable of the task.

Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.


When you live so much in your own head, reality gets skewed. Because it is safer not to open your heart in case you get hurt, or simply hide yourself away because you feel people will not understand, there is potential for trouble. Inside your mind there is no failure or fault, and nobody will laugh at you if it all goes wrong. The problem with all of this internalising however is that when reality does happen, it can be difficult to live in both places simultaneously. The last few weeks on social media, with the terror of US Elections looming plus UK issues over Brexit and an increase in fascism as a concern… well, there’s a lot of people both unintentionally internalising and and quite deliberately externalising, all over my social media. This is, for many people, what they perceive as a ‘safe space’ for such things, but more importantly an opportunity for opinions to be heard, often by individuals who might have an influence on change.

It only occurred to me recently that I might be one of those people to others.


The problem I have is believing my own hype. I am well aware that as a result of things I have both written and said, things have changed in the World around me. However, this does not make me an Influencer in my own mind, that ‘label’ is somebody else’s to stick. I just sit here and write shit and occasionally, I hit a target. I don’t think there has been anything I really wanted to change that ever did, either, and that’s the point that gets lost in amongst all the hand wringing and navel gazing. I’ve never been able to make someone like my stuff, and it was never the intention for anyone to hate me. Those are the only two things that matter, in the end, and when it matters most you will not be capable of altering the world to the way you’d like it to be. I wanted a Remain vote but got Leave. Bond’s never going to be a woman. The stuff that matters to me is so intractable, it’s just easier to live in my head for those things and not stress at all.

However, when I’m trying to be happy both inside and out and people won’t let that happen?


Yes, sometimes it’s an effort to be happy. Fucking hell, people, anything worthwhile takes at least SOME notion of application. I can’t just eat chocolate and become a size 10. You don’t get good at gaming overnight. Maybe, if you grasp this, then understanding why making an effort to be positive is so fucking important, but NOPE that’s no on some people’s agenda. You’re only happy when it rains, when things are complicated and you’re stuck somewhere back in the mid 1990’s in your teens where everything was just so much easier. Well, newsflash Bucko, I did that midlife crisis and it fucking STANK so if you could just shut up and go away… and here’s the thing. Social media is two ways. Otherwise they’d call it ‘listening in an echo chamber’ media and nobody would have the Internet to begin with. All those brilliantly helpful people with their open arms and open hearts who are willing me to greatness don’t need to be told this shit. YOU DO.

It isn’t about ignoring you either (though I’ll be honest, some of that has gone on when it becomes apparent that arguing is pointless.) You can only balance when there’s two sides to your scale, or if you have impeccable gravitational awareness, and lots of you can’t even turn on your brain before pressing Tweet, so no chance there. In these cases, I don’t say anything, yet compose Tweet after Tweet in that wee window before deleting every word, over and over again. Part of me wants to tell you how to be better, to put the record straight, to direct your misplaced perceptive reasoning to important shit like cats or memes. Then I stop, and breathe, and know that maybe the reason you did it is that you want just this, me to respond, in one of those ‘notice me Senpai’ moments. Then I remember that the good people don’t need any validation at all. They don’t check Twitter until they’re awake, if at all. Those are the people I need to emulate, and this month I am determined to do just that.

Moan all you like. I just made a choice to stop listening.

Since You Went Away

I wonder if this is worth saying. Then I know that I can’t ignore how I feel, so I’ll say it anyway.

I watch quite closely who comes and goes from my social media timelines, as a barometer for whether I am doing a decent job of providing entertainment. Occasionally, someone will leave, and I’ll be 100% confident I know why. Of course, the way to find out for sure would be to go and ask them… but sometimes, there’s the realisation that I don’t want to know. You assume that certain people will tell you when they have an issue (and when they’re someone you got on well with, that often happens) but when others simply click unfollow? There’s this moment of concern, if that person is someone who you respect or care about. When it’s a person you REALLY like but with whom you have no connection? There is the sad and quite correct realisation that however much you thought there was in common, this person’s on their own path. You can’t change what they are and frankly, you’d be foolish to try.

Mostly, they got fed up with your noise.


I can remember a particular, quite vocal follower in my early days complaining that I was ‘the only person’ in their feed and they simply didn’t want that. I get that this happens, but I also understand that often, I am the immovable force to many other people’s irresistible object. When you hold mirrors up to the world and yourself, it is often impossible to avoid reflections to other shiny surfaces. I know, that if I met certain people in the Real World, we’d never get on. However, if you decide to stop listening to me, I feel it’s actually rude to keep standing and listening. In effect, it’s the virtual equivalent in my mind of someone turning their back to you and continuing to talk. By the action of ‘not listening’ the entire dynamic of the ‘relationship’ changes.

However, that’s only true if you consider this network as an extension of your friendship circle, and as I have discussed before I’ve now begun to grasp that this isn’t the way things should work. You don’t use social media as an extended friends network, even though that happens in my sight almost 24/7. Yes, you can be good friends with lots of people, and when you are there will be an automatic desire to transcend the virtual anyway. You’ll go and find the people outside of social media, communicate with them, meet them ‘for real’ and make it a relationship you began online but now has become soothing stronger. You may feel loss at the departure of people without warning, but if your sorrow is one sided it is the moment to grasp that you were the one who invested too much, and that as a result it is just time to move on.


My bigger problem is that I’m an emotional dinosaur. This happens so much, because I continue to invest unrealistic emotional significance in people who do not care as much about me. I am the one to blame in these relationships, and nobody else. Hopefully if I write this down enough times, I’ll finally be able to stop being this person and evolve into something stronger.

Maybe if I could stop feeling everything it would just make life simpler.

It’s My Life

This morning, I instigated a discussion on social media with one purpose: to start a dialogue on a contentious topic. I didn’t go into the process with the shields up or the weapons out, far from it. I asked questions of the people I knew would be listening, in an attempt to crystallise thoughts on a topic that has become the equivalent of Marmite. I’ve lost followers over my treatment of it, and because I don’t see a problem with the direction the developers of the game involved are taking with their choices? I need to make sure I have some balance. So I ask questions and make my decisions going forward based on this.

Then someone pops up in my feed who takes issue with a word I use, and here I am in a situation where perception becomes a problem. It’s not somebody who follows me either, so I attempt to engage them (albeit defensively myself) and they are not interested. Then, when I suggest they could follow me and we could talk more, their automatic assumption is that all I care about is the +1 on my total, and now I’m laughing until it registers. That’s how this works for many people. If I suggest you follow, it’s the equivalent for me of opening my door and letting you in. I’m showing willingness to engage in joint dialogue, but because I do that before following you? I’m only here for the numbers.

What a depressingly cynical place the World can be.


The future does not assume you care. The Future is never about just randomly meeting someone and instigating dialogue: you need vetting, and 37 profiles, and certificates and everything… until you get to Twitter. Then, if you cannot make your message universally understandable to everyone without there being a shadow of doubt or ambiguity, you’re soundly fucked. Forget trying to be friendly or start new dialogue. You’re condemned to the inescapable truth that someone will just look at your 140 word pronouncements and judge your entire existence simply on these and nothing else, before moving on. God help you if they’re tired, drunk or high when they do this, by the way. There’s no coming back. That’s it, you’re doomed.

For someone like me who is now naturally cautious before committing? I’m never going to win at this game. Occasionally, I luck out and the stars align and actually, I’ve found some wonderfully decent people simply by using Twitter. I asked one of those people to look at the conversation this morning and assess what she thought had happened, and the pronouncement was the same: you look at the conversation in isolation, and yeah, I’m angling for followers. I assume a lot of things in conversation that never actually become apparent until you follow me, and in the end I’m not the greatest person to make a first impression with. I have an amazing amount of faults on that front. However, when someone tells me they know what I mean when I say something? You really don’t.


As a writer, I know what my work means to me, and that is an entirely subjective experience, as it is to anyone who reads it. I can hope the major points I’m trying to make show through, but in the end it is inevitable that some people will see things that simply don’t exist. I can tell them they’re wrong, but if they choose not to believe me? That’s it. After that are the people who can only cope with exact definition, for whom there is just right and wrong and nothing else. When you spend your life considering the minutiae of life and relationships and conversations that becomes a little too inflexible as an opening consideration. Yes, I get that it matters to people, and I’m not expecting you to change. In fact, I know how frightening that can be for some people to even consider. I’m not here to push you out of your comfort zone unless you accept the responsibility for yourself.

I am here however to talk, write and try to make people think.


Some days, undoubtedly, I get the balance wrong. Then I suffer the consequences of people deciding to keep trying to shut me up for good because I made a choice to stop talking to them. That, of course, is the ultimate irony: the trolls who try and silence you are doing so just because they couldn’t communicate well to begin with. They never grasped the fact that respect means give and take, joint understanding and a willingness to meet someone halfway.  For them, you either agree with their outlook or you’re worthless, and that’s why I feel bad when I decide to block someone after having interacted with them for less than five minutes. I went straight from ‘Hey’ to ‘Fuck off’ in the time it used to take me to hand write the first half of a physical letter. Except in this case, that’s all I actually needed to make that decision.

It’s like the incident my husband related to me after the atrocity in Orlando, when a member of his staff was buying a newspaper in a supermarket with a headline about it. The cashier scanned the item and, obviously looking for a lead in to conversation, decided to open with:

‘Well, it doesn’t matter really does it, they were all gay anyway.’

You see, random person who clearly has an issue with labels I don’t know about, there is a remarkable amount I can learn about you just in 140 characters. If you come into a situation and decide to highlight your issues before I even know your real name? If you make this about attacking my point of view when a) you don’t know me from Eve and b) it is abundantly apparent by the rest of the conversation it’s not meant to be contentious or inflammatory? This will not end well. Mostly, for both of our sakes, if this is the way you open your account in communicating with me?


The problem then comes, of course, with my empowerment becoming interpreted as a malicious and senseless attack on someone else’s ideal and outlooks, when all that happened was I asserted my position in a space. That’s the far bigger problem going forward, and one that has some quite disturbing consequences going forward.

If you want the World to hate you, it will, especially if you give enough reasons to begin with. Sometimes, it isn’t the other person in the ‘relationship’ that’s the problem, it is you.

When you realise this, time to act accordingly.