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Social Media is a Fucking Asshole 1/22/2019

Some pretty curious issues have arisen for me of late, perhaps not as important as something that may be happening in the next room, but one that causes great frustration nevertheless.  A few days ago I had mentioned that Twitter (my chief advertising platform, where I had worked very hard to develop of following) had banned my account.  I do not wish to reiterate the reasons they chose to give me, nor to whine “unfair!  Unfair!” (it was for no discernible reason).  This is past tense.  So I started another account–different name (slightly), different e-mail, different phone number, with the same link here, to Recording Editorial History.

 

My new identity was, of course, visited far less than before (I went from roughly 35,000 on Twitter reads per day, to, after two days, 2,961).  I attempted to rediscover many of my old followers, but, of course, I do not remember their handles, and so those generous re-tweets went to zero.  I followed the same news sites and celebrities, which is where I had developed most of my audience, and that seemed effective, some of the hits I got were by people who recognized the name.

 

Then I got suspended again.  By this time I had learned my lesson.  There was no profanity in my comments, no direct or personal attacks.  Anything negative I had to say was a general criticism.  I even went for subtle, masking my derision behind a cold face of politeness.  And yet, somehow, I was blocked.

 

Hopefully this will be resolved.  I suspect that it might merely be because I posted this link so many times that they feared I was spam, or worse, a viral platform seeking to steal personal information, or to recruit followers to my cult of hatred.  But, then again, they may have also connected me to the already banned account, which would piss me off to no end.

 

The whole point of this is, as I mentioned in the recent essay, “The Consolations of Censorship” (1/20/2019), I am not actually being censored by state run governmental oppression that keeps questionable ideas from public consideration.  No, I am merely being silenced by some multi-billion dollar conglomerate who received enough complaints to figure I was not worth the bother.  I even understand, if not respect, this view.  But it does not alter the fact, either, that the people whom I challenged were far more crude, and way more pettily offensive in their broken expressions of cheap language.  Me?  I was simply mean.

 

Social media, in itself, has clearly been a destructive force, going beyond the simply helpful “How to change your oil,” or “How to make Creme Brulee” videos on YouTube, and focusing on an hour and a half of some spoiled kid playing Fortnight and screaming obscenities at the TV, talking as though the numerous followers depended upon him or her for friendship (which, tragically, no doubt some of them do.)  But Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads–all of them! (let me alienate the sites that support me–except for the advertisers, [http://www.americanhorrors.com/watch-channel/] whom I need far more than them)–even WordPress, here, can be a mode of toxicity.

 

It is cowardly, ultimately; pretend tough guys making threats who long ago used to haunt AOL and Yahoo chatrooms, trying to offend as many people as possible, shouting out racism they may not have even believe, or sexism their incel frustration could only dream about, looking for any sort of reaction.  Nowadays things are far more sophisticated.  The maliciousness has become a part of our identity, and it bleeds over into everyday life.

 

When I was young–this was before the internet, or at least before everybody had it (who remembers the Commodore 64, where I learned how to program DOS?), I remember having deep conversations, face to face, with my friends.  Nowadays most of those friends have become anonymous blips–picture shows and ‘likes,’ coming from people I wasn’t really friends with 35 years ago.  It is just to grow your ‘Facebook friends.’  And while these days in real life I do not have many real friends (my fault, almost entirely, I will admit), the bounty of clicks I have agreed to on Facebook could give me the illusion that I’m actually pretty popular.

 

But nothing did this better, for me anyway, than Twitter.

 

Twitter is a sewer, a lowest common denominator, where even the most noble efforts to raise awareness of serious issues and problems are met with mostly nasty, mocking responses.  These respondents hide behind an enhanced fanaticism they do not generally express in their lives, and they seek to attack or betray anyone who says something even slightly, or potentially, offensive, regardless of context.

 

I have made a bit of a study of Twitter here on Recording Editorial History, as well as elsewhere, fascinated with the destructive nature of modern civilization, reading the constant back and forth between angry, frustrated, and hysterical people, or simply the mean-spirited cruelty of people attempting to make others as lonely and unhappy as they are.  For many of the opinions expressed, there really isn’t much justification.  People take stances sometimes so extreme that they seem unaware that what they are saying mirrors the goals of radical terrorists.  And I doubt that, deep down, these people believe in such apocalyptic harshness.  Yet their faceless ability to vent into a void, which sometimes echos back, gives them a sort of perverse pleasure.

 

For my own part, regardless of how I have been labeled or classified (In college I was once accused by classmates–in the same conversation–of being both a Nazi and a left-wing Commie faggot), I have merely been a cipher, a generally sincere and interested troublemaker who challenges people’s beliefs, on everything–even the ones I may share with them.  But there are people who cannot tolerate this.  Some people form online gangs, the sort of recruitment drive that highlights political movements from ANTIFA to ISIS.

 

One time a person went after me and claimed that ‘liberals like you support terrorism.  You’re probably a member of ISIS!”  This baffled me (and not because I am so profoundly non-religious, which this person had no reason to know).  I tried to explain that fundamentalist Islam has a far more conservative ideology than even the most radical right-wing fanatic in the United States.  This person scoffed and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  Then they clearly made something up to justify their point, saying that Barrack Obama, as President Trump said, started ISIS.  He paid for them to start, and supplied their weapons, and was involved in 9/11.  He claimed he knew people at the Defense Department who told him this (why would they tell some guy tells such secrets in a public forum anything?)

 

I responded that I was not really a huge fan of former President Obama (this is not personal so much that it is difficult to get me enthusiastic about anything in our broken Democracy these days), and that I believed him to be more of a moderate, although perhaps to the left by today’s standards.  I also said that I was not a ‘liberal,’ at least as he was defining it.  Then I added that Ronald Reagan would be considered a RINO by today’s Republicans.  This–this attack on one of his gods, President Reagan, was simply too much.  I was blocked.  I was complained about.  I think one of my remarks was “My God!  You really don’t understand fucking anything!”  Twitter received this edited remark: “God . . . You . . . don’t understand fucking . . .”  I was told this was a religious attack, and was suspended from Twitter for the first time.  His copy of my remark had been retweeted several thousand times by many of his followers in the #MAGA crowd, then sent to Catholic and other Christian organizations.  I was pretty widely condemned, which to me was very funny.

 

But this is what social media does.  It gives people a sense of power, and a rather insidious sort of influence on public perceptions and on our ability to get along with each other.  It can certainly turn lies into truth–‘I saw it on Facebook!’ or ‘The White House tweeted it,’ as though these statements were any more valid than some guy with a handle like Nadanaanaa14 (if there is a real person with this ridiculous name, this is satire and I had no idea you existed) is when talking about some state senator, who does not actually exist, sucking cock in an elementary school bathroom.

 

In many ways I am probably better off without Twitter, sinking into that malign swamp of bad feelings and cruel intentions.  The only impact on me is professionally, which I take very personally.  This has, however, helped me to understand something, something about the fragility of our modern tolerance for anything that does not meet our limited standards of what is acceptable.

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