I’m not passing judgment on it (especially since that would make a huge hypocrite of me), but just noting it in the hope that awareness of the issue might lead to self-awareness, and maybe moderation of its more negative effects on others (i.e. jealousy, political/religious argument, bullying). It may also cause us to look at ourselves and our motivations for engagement in social media, and perhaps lessen the effect of rejection when we find that our comments aren’t liked, or people don’t reply to tweets.
In any case I chose not to expand the topic into an article, largely due to time constraints, but also because there have been some much more insightful pieces written on the topic (for example, FilmCritHulk’s essay (some NSFW language) touches upon some of the same points though through the lens of the Gamergate movement and its supporters/detractors).
Another reason was that thinking about the topic itself caused me to become introspective about why I write, why I comment, and why I post. I don’t get huge amounts of traffic to my website, my posts on social media often go unread (and unliked), and emails to people often receive no reply, to the point where I wonder whether I have done something utterly horrible to cause them to not even acknowledge me. It can be hard at times to not let it drain your emotions.
But for this blog at least, I have to remember that ultimately I write for the sake of writing.
Yes, there are other reasons for posting a blog weekly; it keeps my friends and family up to date, forces me to take my mind off study for a few hours, and allows me to meditate on ideas. There may even be some shred of delusion of noble intent, that something I write might help other people, but I shouldn’t bet on it.
The main reason I write is to keep my writing going, to not lose the ability to articulate my thoughts. When we lose our ability to articulate what we think, we lose our ability to have a voice, to communicate to others when it really matters. I don’t want to lose that.
I have to remind myself that my writing is not meant to be for gaining social acceptance. It’s made public to ensure that I consider my language and my ideas, make them clear, make them defensible. It makes explicit the rule I learned in my government career that one should write as if you might find your words quoted (or misquoted) on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow, or used as evidence against you in court. I post it to social media just in case people might be interested/bored enough to read it. Even if there were no pageviews I’d keep writing and posting.
But thanks for reading anyway.