Sunday, 4 May 2014

Looking Up


Okay, so this is all over Facebook at the moment:
Interestingly, I haven't seen it on any other social media, (twitter, tumblr, whatever) which I think speaks to the audience its engaging.
Not that there's anything wrong with people who only use Facebook for social media, but I think it shows that what this video is underestimating is not something that's seen by the bulk of people who use Facebook exclusively as their social media service.
So, onto what really super pisses me off about this video.
But first, I guess, I want to say that I get why people see the value in it. I get the message that sometimes we can miss things that are going on because we're online. I think the message that you'll miss your daughter growing up is incredibly, unrealistically extreme, but I get it. I do. People are starting to experience the world less through going outside and more through a screen. Whatever whatever, kids don't go outside, whatever, I get it.

But that fucking self-righteous, ongoing, implicit throughout, and explicit at the end, idea that offline life is the 'real' life and online life is worse and a waste and not real?
(i.e. "Live life the real way", "One real connection", "How you're glad you didn't waste [your life] looking down at some invention", "don't waste your life getting caught in the net".)
Shut the actual fuck up.
Do you know what you're doing, guy? You're calling mine, and many people's, online experiences fake, a waste, and saying it makes us idiots.
Do you know why you should shut the fuck up, guy?
Because some of my most valuable, meaningful, and personal important relationships are based entirely, or almost entirely, online.

I don't know you. I don't know where you go online. But the online communities I am lucky enough to have found and consider myself a part of are some of the most important in my life and have contributed to making me a better, kinder, more thoughtful, reflective and considerate person than I would be without them.
I have friends I have never met who will reach out to me whenever they feel or can see that I'm struggling, with no prompting.
Some of the best things I have ever done in real life have been based ENTIRELY off these communities which, without social media, wouldn't exist.
I have been changed, transformed, made who I am (which is not a bad or fake person, and I like to think not an idiot) by "this media we call social" which you claim to be anything but social.

Your discussing social media as if it completely negates real world experience is ridiculous. I spend a LOT of time online. A lot. I don't know if you've got that yet by my passion for social media and online communities. But if you haven't. It's a lot. You know what else I and everyone I know online has? Offline friends. Families. Offline lives.
Do you know what you're doing, aside from making an illogical conclusion that just because I like social media, that will somehow mean I'll be tweeting while I propose/am proposed to? Aside from your obvious attempts to tugs emotional strings with absurd exaggerations about how using social media will make you miss enjoying the birth of your child???
You're negating my experience and the experiences of many. You're erasing it as invalid, insincere, and artificial. You're kinda implying that the people I know who have met through online communities (not online dating, or anything - actual communities and friendships online) and have entered into relationships and got married are not as good or real as asking a random girl on the street for directions, and that the sharing, kind friendships I've formed are fake.
The community, companionship and sense of inclusion I feel are not, as you say, a DELUSION. I am part of communities which are some of the most progressive, inclusive, reflective, kind, sincere and open that I've ever encountered and all of those, EVERY ONE OF THEM, is an online community.

And every time your stupid fucking video gets shared on my Facebook, you are sending me the message that the friends and support networks and wonderful communities I have online are a waste of my time, are preventing me from fully living a "real" life (whatever the hell that means) and are impeding my ability to make or keep offline relationships. To which I say fuuuuuuuuck you.
Can you create, for me, accessible offline communities which openly discuss how to manage sexual assault within that community (as many online communities are doing RIGHT NOW, and don't even say something about the existence of sexual assault in online communities as evidence for their badness - I know you're not that silly) and which discuss privilege and oppression and and feminism AS WELL AS sharing gifs from Supernatural? Because I sure doubt it.
Do those things sound fake to you? Do those things sound like a waste of time? Does learning more about my privilege and how to acknowledge it and how to sensitively and appropriately interact with those people over whom I have privilege sound like a waste?
Does being exposed to hugely diverse peoples, communities and opinions, which I would never be able to experience offline and which result in giving me a better, broader understanding of how the world works and how complex people are, sound like a waste?

Maybe you have shitty online communities, dude, but let me tell you, you're in the wrong place on the internet if that's the case. So if you could not insult and degrade and invalidate how I choose to spend my time, making myself a better person, that'd be great.

Also! If you shared this on Facebook, I obviously don't hold this against you or feel upset that you shared it. I understand that my experiences are not really the norm for most people I know, and that maybe this video really resonated with you for person reasons. That's cool. It's just very hurtful to see my friendships and my communities disregarded. Especially because it's not an uncommon thing for people who haven't been exposed to a lot of online communities to do.

This rant is not even to mention the not-so-subtle shaming of parents who entertain their kids with iPads and other modern tech, the ridiculous refusal to adapt to what is, I'm sorry (not really), going to become a more and more integral part of life, and the lack of understanding over the facilitation of authentic experiences for people who struggle with offline interaction (social phobias/anxiety/etc).
You know what? Do it, take your self offline. I sure don't want you here.


  1. Oh god I was totally going to make a ranty post about this video as well! I totally agree with you, there are so many points in that video that are so exaggerated and... well you wrote most of it in your blog lol. Ugh, it frustrates me when online communities and the reasons for being online are completely disregarded and misinterpreted in such a skewed fashion. Anyway, love your blog!

  2. There are fare too many memes and videos like this that are appearing! I posted this to my Facebook wall because I'm tired of folks telling me that I'm ruining my kids with technology. Just like years ago books and newspapers were doing the same, right?! My 15 yr old is talking to folks in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, Russia, Japan, etc. You get the idea! This is how peace starts, but teaching our kids that we're all human on this earth! We can't very well visit every one of these places (though it'd be fun to try) so chatting online is a great way to do achieve the same result. He's actually playing an online game that requires collaboration with these folks! So he's learning to lead and to cooperate with folks around the world. So no I am not ruining my child, I'm helping the world. For myself, I have a support group (unschoolers mainly) because I don't have many like minded folk locally (Charleston, SC). So this is how I maintain my sanity and how I get help as I navigate the world of unschooling. And I help others as well, in the unschooling community. Your blog post is very important and couldn't have come at a better time! Thank you so much!