Take The Long Way Home
Updated: Jun 5, 2021
Welcome to my new blog.
First off, thank you for coming. You've taken time out of your day to come see what I have to say, and that means a lot to me. I hope you'll find things here that make you laugh, make you smile, but also make you think.
When Twitter started to become all the rage roughly a decade ago, I stubbornly resisted. I was a big fan (and avid user) of LiveJournal, which encouraged users to write as much or as little as they wanted, whereas the entire concept of Twitter to me seemed to encourage oversimplification and short attention spans at the expense of nuance, clarity and depth. It was all about maximizing engagement while minimizing effort. Eventually, so many of my friends ended up there that I really had no choice but to follow if I still wanted to interact with the community.
I gradually adjusted, even building up a respectable following, trying to put my complex and sometimes only marginally focused thoughts into multiple tweet threads, hoping that the totality of what I'd said was compelling enough to defeat it's discouraging length and format. But just as it felt like I'd started to have some success with it, world events began to make Twitter an increasingly dark, angry place.
Trump's presidency was like living in emotional acid: just existing daily was knowing that some new atrocity was occurring when you hadn't had a chance to process the soul crushing impact of the last few dozen. All that rage and sadness built up online, all that helplessness and burning need for justice created something that initially was mostly good: a newfound demand for accountability and decency. A desire to protect people from those who would do them harm. A fandom that wasn't going to take it anymore, even as the understanding of what exactly "it" was seemed to rapidly get confused and distorted until "callout culture" became the new "SJW".
What started as making people aware of the dangerous acts of a few people by presenting comprehensive, detailed proof was increasingly misapplied to attempting to "out" well known individuals with serious but flimsy accusations for quick attention and clout. And instead of recognizing that this obviously wasn't an either or situation, that in fact some callouts were necessary and some patently ridiculous, both sides raged over the validity of "callout culture" as if any admission of less than total righteousness completely invalidated every instance as well as their own personal beliefs.
Because this is what Twitter does. It's TL; DR mentality slowly and insidiously trains you to skim, to skip, to not invest, to guess and judge based on a lack of critical info, to perceive anyone expressing a (forcibly abbreviated, potentially non-optimally worded) opinion that doesn't seem like it matches up with yours as a foe that must be vanquished in mortal verbal combat for the approval of our audience. It even ENCOURAGES people to express negativity with memes that at best result in agreed echo-chamber frustration and at worst can make people reconsider their connections to, and opinions of us.
Social media is a tool that can be used for good or for bad depending on the motives and intelligence of the person using it. At it's best it can be informative, supportive, funny, lighthearted and make us feel connected. Like a knife, it can be a useful utility or a dangerous weapon. You can hurt others, as well as yourself, if you use it without extreme care.
At it's worst it does the opposite. We feel isolated, frustrated, helpless, lonely, inferior, unwanted and forgotten. We start to believe that we don't matter unless we're doing something of interest or benefit to others, and when we don't get the (short) attention (span) of others, some insidious voice deep down inside of us whispers that WE must not be very interesting or valuable as friends, and people. We frequently read into what little information we get, and our fears are all too eager to fill in the gaps. On top of how it can make us question ourselves, social media reflects and amplifies the current mood of society like being in a greenhouse on a very hot day. Unfortunately, the last few years have been a steady diet of disheartening events, something anyone reading this didn't have to be told.
All of these things have made Twitter, for me and others, an increasingly difficult place to get any emotional benefit from. I love to write, I love to share myself, to express myself vividly and verbosely. I want people to feel encouraged to connect with me, and I want them to do it with as many words as their heart desires, without any fear of talking too much. Twitter only allows me to be creative in churning out witty one liners, recycled memes or fursuit photos, just so someone can click on a heart or some arrows, as if that score is the public perception of my total value as a person.
I don't think I can abandon Twitter just yet, because too many of everyone is still there, and a beautifully constructed ghost town is still very lonely. I don't need 8000 followers who mostly never engage with me to be happy. I just need a few invested, inquisitive and motivated people who enjoy being here and interacting. I would love to see people leave detailed comments and utilize the forums here for questions about music or fursuiting or even complex life issues they want help with. But I realize this is a pretty big ask, and I have lived long enough to learn to keep my expectations low.
Still, I should have done this long ago - if for no other reason that being true to myself. I have much to say, and hopefully a lot to offer. I hope this is a place where others can share their feedback and have their curiosity and uniqueness encouraged. Regardless of who comes calling, I have to do this for myself. Time to find out if Field of Dreams was right:
"If you build it, they will come."