I need to be IN the car, right?

The last five days have been some of the most staggeringly unsettling I think I’ve experienced for a long time. The Real World continues to be dark, unpredictable and full of more angry people than I think most people actually realise. Most of the time that anger only manifests in Social Media. This week, that was peanuts in comparison to what we saw play out in Paris and across Northern France. These are places I’ve stayed in and I love, which hold memories that I refuse to be allowed to be sullied by the disenfranchised souls that decided to try and destroy what is held dear by so many. It might just be a coincidence, I suppose, but anger and confusion seems to have spilt out across the virtual world I inhabit too. It makes sense that people would feel threatened by events, and maybe this would translate into big things causing little things to ignite. When this all happens simultaneously, the World becomes a fight. Except, if I’m honest, that’s always the way it’s been.

This morning, I finally understood something significant for the first time.

Mr Alt got on my back before Christmas about my repeated use of the word ‘perception’ when trying to explain things to him, and last night, as I lay in bed, the word began to peculate in my head. Whether it was the row I had this week concerning what I thought the definition of a certain word actually meant, or the blog I was writing that sprang from the definition of another in someone else’s head, things have stopped being about general concepts any more, and they appear to be boiling down to single expressions. Accountability. Extremism, Feminism. These are definitions that people use to help them understand the World around them. They do this in many places: work, home, social media, and while the rules that govern the first two are often very rigidly defined, those of the third are almost perpetually in flux. What many individuals fail to grasp is that once you cross a line and engage someone else in a conversation via Social Media, your rules fail to completely apply. Notice the deliberate capitalisation there too, because once this happens even the environment may change at a moment’s notice and you could end up being sucked into an abyss you might never escape from.

Turbulence incoming 😀

Last night, I witnessed a meltdown on Twitter I had nothing to do with, but plenty of other people did. I went away and did some digging, and it became really rather apparent what had transpired, and from a distance the utter ridiculousness of the incident became all the more apparent when painted beside what the day had presented to me in World News. I suspect this kind of ‘flashpoint’ is happing everywhere, even as I type: Person A strays into Person B’s space and says something that contravenes/upsets/aggravates THE RULES. More than likely Person A will be completely unaware of said Rules in Person A’s space, and the reaction Person B gives is completely acceptable to them, but the opposite to Person A. DRAMA ENSUES. Then, as more people dive in and the Chinese Whispers increase, it becomes a swirl of turbulence, hapless pulling total bystanders into the vortex of recrimination and judgement.

The thing is, and this is important, these flashpoints do matter a great deal. They can affect Person A’s understanding that people don’t care or grasp how they feel, and that their defence of them is clearly correct: instead of providing illumination and understanding, they simply bolster anger and determination. Person B may stand by their assertions they did nothing wrong, but simply typing what they thought might not have been the most sensible cause of action on reflection. The standpoint of ‘well, that’s how I see it’ is fine until presented with someone who doesn’t. This is how conflict is born, and often the most damage is done to the people who find themselves caught between the two standpoints. The argument of ‘I don’t know these people and therefore it doesn’t matter’ becomes less and less moot with every Real World incident where people under the radar die because of events that could have been prevented IF PEOPLE HAD LISTENED. Just because its not happening in your social sphere, doesn’t mean it never will.

Needless to say, Twitter needs to consider who it recommends to me for follows based on a more sensible algorithm than simply who everyone else reads and who’s in my ‘circles’, because really? Social media is NOT that easy to define any more.

If all else fails…

I’ve long made the joke that my ‘brand’ on Social Media matters a great deal to me. The Alt is a mark I now use everywhere, because I understand the need for continuity, but more importantly I want to make sure people can see me for what I really am. Although it is unchanging on the surface, I am rapidly altering with every day. My attitudes, whilst once static and unmoving, attempt to shift and accommodate as the World evolves around me, and its hard, but what I stand for remains the same. To have the chance to interact with so many people is an opportunity I never thought I would ever see in my lifetime, and to turn any of this down, even the bad stuff? I would be the most stupid of fools. You’ll never have these opportunities again, and every moment is precious, after all. To learn to live in this world is a challenge, and to succeed is always a triumph.

In summary? Take your choices, and if you don’t like them, do something else. But NEVER FORGET the world isn’t just you. Please, PLEASE try and find a way to get on with the rest of Humanity, and don’t deliberately isolate yourself, because there are ALWAYS alternatives.

Trust me, down that road only danger lies.