Because I know that 16-year old me will not appreciate a narrative advice from a 23-year old,
I wrote a poem that she’ll most likely pretend to brush off (but go back to when the lights are off).
There are just too many social impositions that we feel obliged to adhere to these days. If there’s a new song, we should at least know the chorus, who sang it and how well it’s doing on the Billboard charts. Remind ourselves that denim on denim is back and boy bands are cool again. Paperbacks are only as good as the next e book version of it (which I don’t agree with by the way) and twitter is a must have or else you’ll know nothing whatsoever of you friends and/ or frenemies (another trend).
Isn’t it exhausting though? Keeping up with all of it. Don’t get me wrong; I love progress. I am from my generation after all but where do we draw the line between coping with the times versus alienating the things that we enjoy from the life that we have now?
Here’s my little nugget of wisdom:
It does not matter how many screaming teens or self-righteous individuals are already in the bandwagon. Just distance yourself from it and go on living you non ‘cool’ life. Trust me the old belief ‘where the line is the longest, the food is best’ isn’t always true. Sometimes people at the back of the line are just to scared to say otherwise.
Granted we are protected by a veil of anonymity and very few if not none will be able to tell who we really are when we decide to hide behind the masks of our online names but it doesn’t make us any less vulnerable to judgements made by our fellow netizens. The pang of anger and hurt we feel when we read derogatory comments about our posts, what we stand for or, much worse, who we are as people is not diminished by the fact that they don’t personally know who we are and that they’re not saying it to our face. It’s equally painful.
Yesterday I was posing a question towards a stance a blogger had on gun control. It wasn’t anything personal nor argumentative. It was a simple query regarding the logic of his parallelism. He then responded with a full on tirade about how I must be black or an immigrant of some sort who wishes to reek hell on US. At first I thought he was joking. It really did not make much sense how he attacked my character and how he stereotyped non-white races as pro destruction or violence. Although I found it extremely offensive, I wasn’t going to let him turn me into some conflict crazy monster who argues with everyone who has a different view so I simply told him that there was no need to feel attacked but he just wouldn’t stop. He then deleted all my comments and the comments of those who also had a different view.
It’s a blogger’s right to moderate the comments on his page especially if it hampers the image or the goal of his site. However, I hope that we’re all responsible enough to understand that presenting our readers with a skewed version of the truth lessens our credibility as bloggers. Just because you quoted a Harvard Study out of context, it doesn’t mean you’re handed the authority bastardize the dignity of discourse. Disrespecting those who have different views or are of a different race or culture under the guise of a pen name or an online profile is barbaric. Let’s not make the web an avenue for bullying, promoting irrationality and creating racial divide.
And by the way dear Sir, erasing my comments and the comments of all those other people on your page only proves that you think they have merit and you’re a little scared your readers will think the same. Let’s be dignified netizens and respect the influence we’ve been awarded.
More than half of my Twitter community aren’t using their real names. A good amount of my Facebook friends aren’t who they say they are. Most of my followers on this blog I have not met nor had a conversation with (but I’m thankful for each one, really). In the age where we live half our lives on virtual media, we ought to understand why people act a certain way online and act different off it.
Context changes a lot how people interact with each other. The cloak of anonymity and the lesser possibility of physical confrontation emboldens a person to pursue actions which he might not normally consider doing during face to face interactions. The premise is similar to the rush of courage we feel to go topless on a beach in Ibiza while we refuse to do same thing on the beach in our neighborhood.
It feels as if we have lesser responsibility towards our actions when people who care are not aware we are doing it or people who see us doing it don’t care about us at all.
On the downside, more and more netizens are becoming unaware and uncaring of what they thwart about online. They believe it’s legitimate because it’s an expression of their freedom but ask them if they’ll do the same, use the same words, curse and not care when they are in front of the person they’re addressing it to. Chances are more than half of them will retract their words or would not show at all.
Granted we have the right to say what we want, when we want, the way we wanna deliver it but with that right comes the responsibility of standing by it, defending it and being quoted for it. If you have the nerve to call someone names and walk all over them, have the nerve to be called out and have someone trash you too. That’s how freedom of expression works, on and off the net.
It’s not all bad though. I finally found the guts to write again, anonymously at first. I was afraid, you see, to be judged and not be good enough or as good as most people thought I was. Slowly, my confidence grew until one day I realized I was typing in my name at the end of my work again. Had I not written anonymously at first I don’t think I’ll be able to take the pressure. I wouldn’t have posted my work at all. I know this rings true to many other people.
For some anonymity is like training wheels, they come off when we’re ready to ride on our own. For others they keep the art or thought pure, free of the bias others might have against or for the writer or artist. Still others find it important to maintain a mystery, an image. I am in no position to judge any of them for I too was once there and every now and then I revisit the perks of namelessness.
I guess the bottom line is you get to decide what role anonymity plays in your life. Will it be the hero that pushes you to higher grounds or the villain that drags you down? You have to make that choice because nobody else can dictate who you can be, whether it’s on social media or in real life. Just remember accountability is not mutually exclusive to people who have names plastered on their opinions. Remember, what you say about others says more about you than it does about them.
Do everything as if it has your brand on it because it matters less that people know, what truly matters is that YOU KNOW.
When what you see in front of the mirror doesn’t please you, doesn’t mean you should change you. Perhaps you should change your point of view.