I'm about ready for this brain melt to be over. Went way out of character on twitter yesterday, nevermind that it blew up my impressions. I'm not the type to gang up on anyone for any reason, especially playing into martyrdom designed to yank chains and strings like one of those spider traps built into the ground. So many people fell into that pit yesterday that I finally just stuck a sign out practically saying "THIS WAY TO THE IDIOT PULLING YOUR STRINGS", and dang if it didn't actually triple the activity coming through my feeds, and I already had the guy blocked.
I've seen orchestrated mass bombings on social media for years. They're pretty much all the same, all they have to do is stick to their guns being idiotically mean and nasty and people turn toward and start falling right into that hole, pretty much pulling everything mean and nasty from inside themselves out to fling back in the name of whatever is good and right in humanity. It never works. You can't out logic, out reason, out think, out maneuver someone who enjoys watching people fall all over themselves with angry retorts, no matter how well intentioned or determined. As long as the angry mob with pitchforks keeps mobbing, the instigator is successful and just sitting back laughing at all the angry little people he pisses off. That's a big ol' WIN for a person like that.
It's difficult to demonstrate that kind of fail happening in progress live on twitter. I'm pretty sure most of the people who saw my initial tweet announcement about it never picked up on why I did that in the first place. Even spelling it out later, the ones who needed to see it were actually so focused on the fight (even hours later) that they missed other feed rolling through regarding any kind of commentary on it if they weren't personally tagged.
I used to be really good at leading the way into battle. I was able to go straight to the heart and start thrusting my little sword, and I really thought my words meant something. One terrible year a bunch of stuff exploded very publicly and I was stupid enough to plunge right into the troll trap, which exponentially increased my fame around a world fandom in a very bad way. The whole thing lasted several months, and on the worst day, O Best Beloved, I found out that my presence alone was more immediately attention demanding than if the entire cast of the TV show had shown up online all at once. I saw stuff happen on message boards that rocked a fandom so hard that even to this day I get more nearly instant interactive web traffic than that cast does. I'm not saying I get more followers or comments or shares, but I get more daily attention from a wider variety of people.
The saddest thing about it is how many people have come to me privately about talking to those cast members, trying to get me to interact some more, trying to push me into a more visible attention-getting format, knowing that all I have to do is start playing around again to get some fun going. I've been extremely careful not going there, because too many people mistake that kind of activity for official representation, and next thing you know, we're all unnecessarily taking sides again.
I've hobnobbed with several very big webmasters behind scenes through the years, including one of the biggest Johnny Depp fan site and forum owners a few years ago. I don't do this to get closer to celebrities, like many do, but to learn from the creators how to handle being so public, being contacted so much, becoming mini-celebs themselves. The most important things I've learned are very simple- Be kind, don't let people push you around, and don't let a shred of it go to your head. I've met other webmasters who've let it go to their heads, letting their web creations define them as demi-gods in fandoms and then leveraging that power to gain personal attention in hopes the celebrity being worshiped will notice and talk to them. (I am NOT talking about Lexx.)
There was one person in particular I really admired for one of the most beautiful and thoroughly organized fan sites I'd ever seen until almost frantic tweets started going out around the clock to official broadcasters that a message needed to be delivered, and the link basically went back to a fan letter. Really? All that work to force huge amounts of attention onto being the world's most obsessed fan... The saddest part was how urgent it was, almost a panic on a countdown clock. It hit me the fan might be terminal for some reason, so I decided to leave that particular public fandom because I couldn't bear to see the ugly fallout around others not understanding the sadness behind using the distraction of a celebrity to focus through and mask real life pain. I watched fans with money and time rise to power against another fan with terrible illness and depression while secret fans with even more wealth and connections stalked the poor guy until he all but disappeared except at stage doors, and the occasional grocery store in a hoodie shot. I think it's better now, but for awhile it kind of made me feel sick. A lot of the fans hovering around the edges of social media had no idea what was going on and became unwitting pawns.
It doesn't take much to start trubbas on the webs. Just this last week there was a big broohaha in the Benny C fandom over a sudden announcement that he'd be attending a certain convention, and the side taking was about whether the guy needed the time off for family time and fans being selfish enough to demand his time and 'force' him to agree to show up for something.
Ok, let's take a real look at this. First of all, actors generally want as much attention as they can get unless they are having emotional breakdowns, and even then they kind of want the attention. Second of all, if they are willing to make a career of leaving family for weeks at a time to film, avoiding one convention isn't going to fix anything. Third, so much of their publicity is packaged and handled by other people that it's more about stepping up for contracts to sell merch (remember, they hire their faces and bodies out to sell other people's merch) that the way to the top (and staying on top) is outworking other actors. Face time is the most important thing in that kind of career. Spouses and families can fall into step or sit back and chillax or flee the scene, but it's all part of that kind of career, not unlike being married to a trucker, a franchise manager, a public servant like firefighter or surgeon, or a politician. Actors who make it to the top and manage to stay on top have it way more together than you think because it's their job and they want to be there. The less visible actors are more like us, some wanting to be home more, some opting to take time off to do other things. That is their prerogative, but personally, the fastest way to deter actual stalking is simply live as publicly as possible. A few learn this trick and pretty much have somewhat normal lives, even 'on top'.
Your feelings about someone else's life have nothing to do with their life, whether they're a refugee, someone on either side of a gun, or a political figure. You can have all the big feels you want about poor this and awful that and it's not going to change anything, especially if you're reading your own emotions into someone else's actions. SO, if a person is out there purposely baiting you to have big feels, like that guy yesterday, you aren't changing anything arguing with him, stomping on his face before he can stomp on yours again, talking sense into psychosis, whatever. You're wasting your time. I said long ago to my psychologist that churches feel like campsites for every conceivable mental illness, and I'll extend that to the way people organize in groups on social media. You tend to hang out with people of your own ilk because it's validating. Stepping into other territory without studying it and planning strategy isn't going to change anything. If you enjoy trolling trolls, fine, but I'll admit here that I was stupidly out of focus this week (thank you, head cold from hell) and stepped into a fray thinking it was funny. I'm not thrilled that I dragged my feed into that kind of focus when my goal is something else.
My psychologist asked me this week what I want out of all this venture on social media, and I said to win. He asked me what I get if I win, and I said the world. He asked what the world gets, and I said they win, too. The way I'm playing, we all win.
It's not about who I'm smarter than, better than, higher in a spotlight than. It's about perspective, context, big picture. If you pan out far enough, everyone on a ladder looks near the ground. From one of my most popular posts ever written before the Xanga migration and then finally moved to an easier to read blog and pretty much let it lay dormant, Synchronicity, Suicide, and the Eyes-
"It seems so empty when you zoom out a little too far and see the bigger picture. We’re not all that different from worms writhing around in the soil. We’ve only elevated ‘awareness’ to an art form, and I’m not sure the people around me are all that aware."
When a human has sunk to the level of troll, the fastest way to shut that down is turn it off and walk past it and leave it behind you. I know it's fun ganging up and showing our betterness and wit and smartness, but it's also extremely negative and adds absolutely nothing to the overall beauty of the human spirit. If you've got time to stop for trolls, please let me introduce the idea that you've got time to be doing more positive things with. There are real people out there needing real attention in much more important ways. If you've emotionally exhausted yourself on a troll and then have nothing left for a loved one in emotional dire straits, maybe ask yourself if that was a good move on your part.
And then, of course, there are a few who are actually really good at being troll champs and I have a lot of respect for that, mostly because it's entertaining more than it is anything else, which actually wins over troll since the troll himself is being used for sport. It takes really good troll-back skillz to do this, though, so spend a little time studying the truly greats before you leap into this kind of lifestyle thinking it won't ruin your day. If trolling trolls gets you more riled up, you're not doing it right.
Don't cast your pearls of wisdom to pigs who don't appreciate them and only grind them under their feet and use them against you. Your words can be so much more powerful if you use them gently with the butterflies around you. You may not see the heights your words help others aspire to, and that's ok, because you'll know they were heard and meant so much more than being gleefully tromped underfoot.