“The snowflake never needs to feel responsible for the Avalanche…” Jon Ronson
I believe that I am evolving a stark hate for all things technological or in particular ‘social media’. My final days on Twitter (or as a blogger) may be upon me… Time to live in the mountains, run and live off of berries away from social-tedia.
Most comedy show laughter tracks were made in the 1950’s and therefore much of the classic comedy we find iconic and culturally important is in fact driven by the laughter of the dead. The past haunts the future but at least it makes us happy.
I was recently swimming in the pitch black of a sea cave off the Cornish coast. My only navigation was the guides voice and as my cold hands blindly grasped the rocks and I pulled myself through the suffocating darkness the thought of drowning was very strong. I paid for this experience. I had a life jacket on and though the swim to the cave had been long and I was scared, I had never felt as alive or free as I did in this moment. I was so far out of my comfort zone that I started to feel and see my own progress in life. My ability to overcome fear, to believe and trust friends and strangers. Fear and freedom seem to be liberating things for me.
Whereas, fear and shame… Now that’s a different story. That’s about being shackled to something altogether different. Not too long ago I felt I was in that Cornish cave again and this time there was NO helping voice, no way out.
My guts do a tumble dry… It’s Friday night, it’s Facebook shame a school hour (8PM – half a bottle of wine down). I know I need to turn away. I have worked with social services (I have kept a family together), I have given some family marital advice, sorted supervision, been advised on cancer medication and taken a hit to the face to keep a child in education… The children seem to really like me. I am riding high.
But, there are flaws, there are cracks…
Why do I feel so publicly hated? Is it the fear of constant survalience, that I must watch my step (hello secret teacher and anonymous tweeters)?
Why did I read that Social Media post?
Is it my stance? Attitude? Blog? Is my face a substitute punchbag? Am I a little too arrogant?
“Burn the blasphemer!”
Facebook is amazing. Paul Allen! (yeah Paul if you EVER read this!) The boy I went to school with and utterly connected with; who left me to move back to his homeland (Australia) at 16 was found via Facebook a few years ago. He is far cooler than me and every day his coolness is a testament to my uncoolness… But Facebook makes this OK. In fact it makes it amazing. I rejoice in his success. It makes my life a little more special.
On the flip side; social media HITS hard. Almost weekly now so many are judged in the spotlight – this is too unsafe, that is theoretically unsound; his tie is far too lose or, “Has he shaved!?!”and “What’s she saying?” Facebook is the digital stocks for the village idiot who thinks they are a little more. Those rotten tomatoes stick and the acid buns as it runs down your cheek. But, hey that’s OK… They asked for it! Vengeance feels SO good!
There is such a dark-side to social media. It is the conduit for something far worse. Hate and anger are one thing but shaming is its most potent and venomous force. We seem to love a good shaming, a pedestal dethroning of epic proportions. As the brilliant Ron Ronson put it:
“A life had been ruined. What was it for: just some social media drama? I think our natural disposition as humans is to plod along until we get old and stop. But with social media, we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high drama. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. It’s all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people.”
As we… are as people…
1987 – My Secondary School:
“Thank you Sir for throwing that wooden chalk board rubber at my face… Ouch? I really deserved that”
We live and lived a violent track.
If only I had social media then to save me from the injustice. An injustice that was done on purpose and I believe with the real intention to hurt, control and dis-empower. Some things should be bought out in to the open. Justice should be done. There are systems.
Schools (as do most organisations) have complaints procedures. These are rigorous and well documented.
In the decades to come the footprints of social media will still be with us but unlike canned laughter it will be the anger and bile of ghosts we will look back at. The self-righteous rants (Including ones like this maybe) and the celebrity status of Trolls. I am sure that we will look back at this period of human interaction with our head in our hands. Asking a simple question… “What did it bring to our evolution?” I feel that much will be viewed as a time in which technology widened the gap between human interaction whilst promising the bring us together.