Sparing Twitter The Conversation: Wuzza Wossy Loncon Hugo Whuh?
Was about to unleash a crackling tweetstorm on the Twitters — but as I started to prep the tweets it started to look like a Category 5. Too many tweets for your feeds to suffer. They’d buckle under the weight! SHE JUST CANNA HANDLE IT CAP’N.
Something-something Jonathan Ross, aka “Rossy,” aka, I don’t know who that is.
I woke up and people were all mad about him hosting the Hugos? HE’S SEXIST, they said.
And then I went to brunch and got out of brunch and he was no longer hosting the Hugos and now people were mad he wasn’t hosting the Hugos — HE’S NOT SEXIST, they cried, HE’S UTTERLY MILQUETOAST, and then people on both sides of the argument stopped being mad at Jonathan Ross and started being mad at each other, and I saw some particularly nasty chatter (and, mostly, backchannel chatter) on them there social medias that I just felt like backing away.
Outrage moves fast on the Internets. It’s like an electrical fire in a wig factory.
Here’s the thing: just be nice to each other. Even when you don’t agree. Because outrage against outrage only creates more of it, like Mogwai chucked in a hot tub. And then it gets ugly, as ugly feeds on ugly (and now our multiplying Mogwai are eating chicken wings and delivery pizza as they frolic and go mad in the frothing jacuzzi). And people being mean just doesn’t get anything done.
Assume that people who are outraged are sincere and earnest. You don’t have to think they’re right, mind you — nor do you need to appease and placate just because it’s outrage. But assume it’s real. Assume it comes from a place of hurt and not that it’s manufactured just for drama’s sake. Sure, sometimes it is. But you don’t know that and it’s very hard to tell unless you really know the heart of a person — how do you know that they’re just stirring shit because they like the smell and not because they’re actually upset? You don’t. Everyone should approach each other like they’re coming at common ground from different ends, not that they’re trying to burn the crops and salt the earth.
Really, be nice. Even when you don’t agree. Outrage is undercut and tempered by kindness — and kindness is also how compromise is found, how middles are met, how people come to understand each other’s POV. Ask questions even if they won’t ask the same of you. To be clear, I know I could learn this lesson sometimes.
Now, let’s all hug.
I mean, not inappropriately or anything. I’ll hug my monitor and you hug your — OH GOD THE COMPUTER IS FALLING OVER I MADE A TERRIBLE MISTA