The Joys of Scrolling on Past

Remote learning and the daily onslaught of news of the dumpster fire we are living through today impacts my regular blogging schedule. I really try to stick to it. Sometimes I just say “eff it” and let it be. Other times, I get last minute inspiration and decide to write about it. Posting late is better than not, right? Maybe.

Social media is a way to connect each other. A way where we can connect with people from our past. Share with our loved ones that we don’t get to see nearly as much as we’d like to, whether due to physical distance or just too busy with the daily grind. Meet new people and grow relationships. We can share interesting information with each other. Writers and other artists can share their work. Social media can be such a blessing when used properly.

But, with everything else, people are the problem not the principles. People, as adults, have a choice in how they act in every aspect of their lives. They can choose to act proper, or they can choose to turn social media into a tool of drama. They can choose to scroll past things they don’t agree with, or they can pick fights out of boredom, superiority complex, or some other reason that honestly makes no sense at all to me. Arguing on the internet… is an interesting adventure to watch happen before your eyes. People fight to the death as if it matters whether or not they are right. (Spoiler: it doesn’t matter.)

When I see something I don’t like, I just scroll on by. That’s the joy of the internet. If I see a meme of half-truths that someone is passing off as facts, I don’t bother correcting it. Why? Because what good will that do? Being right doesn’t matter in the world of social media. Being the loudest does. Being the bully matters. Being right is inconsequential. You could show off all the facts you want. You could have the moral high ground on a specific topic. But you can’t change who the other person is. If you have that much of a problem with them, quietly unfriend them and move on with your life. I promise, in the grand scheme of the dumpster fire we are living through, it doesn’t matter.

Someone wants to vent about something, even if you think they are irrational to do so? Scroll past. Someone wants to post a meme from their preferred political party, even if you disagree with or think it’s inaccurate? Scroll past. The joy of the internet is that you can just scroll past it. (Key point, which really needs to be emphasized here.) You don’t have to engage. There’s no need for anything other than being kind and supportive. Especially in these days when everyone is so stressed and divided. The world needs more people to pull together right now, not to grow further apart. We are supposed to be a community that helps each other out. That helps each other through these difficult times. And if you can’t contribute to that, why even bother?

Don’t Believe the Social Media Hype

We all live off of our social media. I’m definitely on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit for an obscene amount of time everyday. It’s the best way to keep up with Overwatch League news and get those precious Baby Yoda memes. (Those get me all the time.) But this is also where people put out the best versions of themselves. Even I try to take images on my more self-conscious days that don’t show off that pile of toys and other crap on the floor that I just didn’t feel like picking up.

The problem is that for every time a parent brags about their child’s grades or gets those adorable photos, it’s not real life. While they are taking that picture of that awesome report card, her children are probably tearing apart the house as they scream bloody murder and tattling on each other while she has her other hand on the bottle of wine. Because sometimes the glasses aren’t enough and you just need to go to the big show. It’s like that meme where everything’s on fire and they are sitting there going “It’s fine”.

That mom isn’t posting a selfie saying “felt cute” because she felt cute. More likely she needed the validation because that day was an awful day. That’s fine. People need something to make themselves feel better and they shouldn’t be judged for that. I’m pretty much a 90% anti-judgement person. The rest of the 10% is reserved for parents who don’t use car seats for their kids, mistreat their children in any way, mistreats my children, mistreats dogs, and people who don’t like Baby Yoda memes.

People see those perfect photos of their “perfect”children and other people get jealous. I’m guilty of it. When I see a parent who has a young kid who started speaking on time or early, I get a little jealous or feel bad about myself because my youngest didn’t start talking until he was 4. It’s normal to feel bad about yourself as a mother, especially when looking at social media, because there is so much pressure on us. We have to stay at home with the kids, but also work to earn money. We have to have a clean house all the time, have a size 3 body with DD chest, be perfect cooks, and slaves to society. It’s a lot of pressure to put on people who on most days just feel successful if their kids are alive at the end of it.

You need to be careful on social media. Don’t believe everything you see. Don’t believe every news story that pops up without checking sources. Don’t believe that the person didn’t take 20 selfies before deciding on the perfect one. Social media is about perception. People want others to perceive them as perfect. See, I may sometimes take photos that minimize the mess that’s usually surrounding my home. But I’m honest about being an adequate mother that just gets lucky sometimes. It happens. Sometimes I do get the house perfectly clean. Sometimes I cook a killer homemade meal, and others I toss chicky nuggies and tater tots on a cookie sheet so I can get back to work. No one’s lives are perfect, so don’t let social media trap you into thinking they are.

The Cautions of Censorship

I’m a writer, which means I’m very much pro the concept of “freedom of the press”. I’m aware that this freedom only goes so far. For instance, generally speaking private organizations can do whatever the hell they want and there’s nothing you can do about it from a freedom of speech point of view. This freedom really only applies on a governmental level. The government isn’t shouldn’t be policing citizens on their opinions. The idea that governmental officials can get the false narrative of “fake news” out there is appalling to me. This should be more appropriately titled “opinion news” or “biased news”, and both sides are guilty of only showing the cards that best fits the narrative that they want to put out there.

The notion of censorship bothers me. I write because I want to share my thoughts and opinions. I’m always careful to let people know that what I’m saying is opinions, not necessarily fact. I’m a blogger; I’m here to write opinions based on the facts as I see them. When faced with a real possibility of a slide away from my freedom to write as I wish, I do get scared. I see this shift happening, and it really scares me. When the press is deemed “the enemy of the state”, bloggers and writers are probably not that far behind so long as they don’t “fall in line” as they should. I wasn’t cut out for following blindly; my parents made me that way.

Social media is getting more and more… loose… with their ban hammers. I don’t like the thought that you’re one wrong meme away from Facebook jail. Do I find some things on social media offensive? Sometimes things cross a line that I don’t feel comfortable with. Do I report it or even do more than just scrolling on past it? No. Because whether or not I find it offensive or agree with it, they still have the right to post it. As long as they aren’t specifically calling for mass murders on people or specific groups of people, I don’t see a problem with it. If people want to post racist, homophobic things, then that just lets me see the people I don’t want to associate with. It isn’t anyone’s job to police them. If people want to post awful things on social media, let the real world deal with it.

For instance, a person posts a racist thing on social media and then gets fired. If you were dumb enough to post the thing to begin with, you deserve the real life consequences of your actions. I think the moment you start censoring social media this way, you make it harder for us to let social Darwinism sort itself out. People are going to be racist homophobes; banning their content on social media just emboldens them. It makes them a martyr of their hateful causes. I want to see who people really are, which is the benefit of the cesspool we know as social media.

Let’s ease up on talking about what offends us and work towards teaching the next generations to be better than us. That’s the only real way that we are going to change the world. Not by being anonymous keyboard warriors that hide behind a false sense of security in our blanket forts.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

Resolve to Social Media Better

I’m about as social media savvy as  an 80-year-old grandmother that has never even owned a computer. I take this as a lack of interpersonal skills and being otherwise socially inept, over an inability to use a computer. Even still, I know enough on how to play the game. This is more than I can say about 89% of my social media counterparts. Though, without them hilarious websites that mock these people wouldn’t exist so I suppose they have their place. That, and I have to admit that I do love watching the drama unfold, especially when work is slow.

I’m a person that is completely anti-resolutions. (This will go into more detail come Wednesday.) However, they have their purpose. These resolutions are what keeps gyms in business, because people pay for a year in January, and never go back by February. But if you’re going to go down this path of insincerity, I do have a suggestion: why not try to social media better? Here are some tips that you could follow to accomplish this:

  • Vague Posts: Let’s be honest here, we all have a few people on our friends list that says something like “never cheat a cheater” or “boys lie and make girls cry”. Nothing else… but that. Everyone jumps? Did your partner cheat on you? Is your relationship in the tank? Then people respond accordingly with concern and assumptions. Then, the original poster goes nuclear. “Why are you assuming things? I never said that.” Well, you never said anything but a vague post that could easily be interpreted as such and you gave no indication otherwise. If  you did not want those assumptions that are so infuriating to you, maybe you should have been more specific. Unless you were vague on purpose for the sake of getting attention, in which case you got your wish. If you didn’t want the attention, don’t post it.
  • Opinions are like butts, everyone has one and they all stink?: This is especially true around election times. Do not post opinions on any topic, especially those about religion or politics, if you do not want people with different opinions posting on your post. By posting your opinion, you have just given everyone who reads it the right to state theirs. If that upsets you, you know where the delete button is. Then, next time remember that and refrain from posting it. Instead, memes are a great option.
  • Dirty Laundry is for the Laundry Mat: We all get mad at our family, friends or significant others. This is a fact of life. What we do not want to do is get mad at them and post it for the world to see. Tempers might be temporary, but the internet is forever. And those hard feelings will stick. Not only that, at some age it just becomes tacky and undignified. And by some age, I mean any age that is only than “teenager”. If you are older than “teenager” and doing it, maybe you should re-evaluate your life choices.
  • Stupidity Spreads Like Wildfire: I believe it was Will Smith who said it best once, when he was asked about how he feels about his son’s presence on social media. His response was something along the lines of “Kids are stupid. They do stupid things. They have always been stupid and have always done stupid things. Just now, they have social media to be stupid on.” Paraphrasing, because I could not find an actual quote. It’s true. If social media existed when we were kids, would we have done half the stupid stuff that we did? Probably not.
  • It Takes a Big Person to be Nice: Finally, remember when your mother would say “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all?” I never listened to that, not because I’m a mean person but because I lack that filter that censors awful things from my brain from coming out of my mouth. I’m okay with this, because I do have some self-control when it comes to actually typing things out. Unfortunately, previously mentioned 89% does not have this control. This is why bullying is such an issue today. Instead of saying to a person on their Facebook or Instagram, “Wow, you’re fat. Why are you posting a bikini picture? That’s gross”. Instead, admire their courage for doing that. I’m on the skinny size, and I don’t have the self-confidence for that and I admire those who do. If you can’t find anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut. Opinions do not have to be cruel and purposefully hurtful. In fact, at that point I don’t even consider them opinions. If your mother would be appalled at you saying it, maybe it shouldn’t be said.

That about covers my list of how to social media better. However, if you have anything else to add I am all ears. See you on Wednesday for part 2 of this discussion on resolutions.

The Overly Social Media

I sit on Facebook a lot. I do it a lot mostly because staying home all the time with the kids makes me feel a bit disconnected from people. Unfortunately Facebook mostly fills up a void, and I didn’t understand what that void was. Then I figured it out: as much as we all love to think we’ve grown out of high school mentalities, a lot of people haven’t. Facebook is like watching and being a part of all that drama you actually don’t miss being a part of in high school. You get to sit back and enjoy watching people think they’ve changed from high school. Most of the time, they’re right. Sadly, most of the time they are also very wrong.

You have people with fancy jobs, that still have their heads in the bickering high school games. You have people that just haven’t outgrown this child mentality that think the world is out to get them or that the world is there to be at their every whim. Some people don’t feel like growing up, so they just act like spoiled or rebellious teenagers, and we get to sit back and watch them do it where everyone can see. At least that’s the upside of Facebook, you can’t really hide what you are because we live in a world where people report back everything they eat, with pictures included. You can tell a lot about a person by their social media, and not just because of what they post. You can tell someone who doesn’t use their real name has something to hide or doesn’t want to be found. You can tell when people whine about asinine details of their life, they want the attention for it. You can tell the way people word things that they really just want to start the drama and watch it unfold. And you can tell when people just want to “troll” other people.

I enjoy the free entertainment. I enjoy watching people act on Facebook, not because they are particularly entertaining, but because of how they act. I enjoy watching people post things out of anger that really shouldn’t be posted because it doesn’t teach me that I don’t want to cross that person, it teaches me I’m not sure why I’m friends with them. I follow them anyways though, because I don’t want to be that person that deletes someone from their Facebook and have angry messages thrown at me about how I’m a little bitch. Don’t worry, I know I am.

I’ll still read Facebook obsessively, and check in on Twitter all the time. I enjoy the non-interaction because it satisfies that social need I have without actually having to socialize. I’ll enjoy posting pictures of my loved ones as I currently do because I have loved ones that I don’t see all the time that wants to see my family grow. I’d say “Stay Classy” in my best failed Ron Burgundy voice, but this is social media and that might be asking for too much. So, I’ll say “you go on goin’ on”.