I’MMA UNFRIEND YOU…

After every election – no matter who gets elected or rejected – the social media pages fairly sizzle with outrage. This phenomenon is unique in that the heat generated is inversely proportional to the distance between the anger and the event that has produced it.

Or, to put it another way, WE WUZ ROBBED!

This is the cry of every fan in the stands at a baseball game when their team loses. They generally fasten upon the decisions of the umpire instead of the fact that their team played poor baseball. In some cases they yell that the other team are bums.

And the scoreboard has the same numbers on it when they turn the stadium lights off and sweep out the popcorn boxes. The outrage does not affect the actual score one bit. The disappointed fan goes home with no way to extract revenge upon the other team, the other team’s supporters, or the umpire.

But in the social media page, it’s always extra time. If the actual election result cannot be changed, the unhappy voter can always search for those amongst their acquaintance who did not vote as they did – and heap abuse on them. Then after that tirade, the offender can be excluded from the herd by the unfriending process of the social page. The angry voter can prowl off growling and baiting to see if there are more chances for revenge…

And the election results stand, as before, as they sweep away the popcorn boxes…

I often read of elections held in the 19th century that resulted in duels, murders, fistfights, and riots. I am amazed at this, given the fact that there were far fewer electors for each seat, and in many cases did not include women as either candidates or voters. I guess, having no social media to relieve their tension, they resorted to closer combat.

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Share A Lie…

Share propaganda. Share racist diatribes. Share bigotry. Share innuendo. Share abuse and bullying. Share political pressure.

Or don’t. Your choice.

The daily round of social media brings a waste-paper basket full of this sort of thing. People with a political, social, or religious opinion will batten upon something – a meme, a rant, a scurrilously defamatory article – and ” share ” it to others in their social circle. Some do it every day – some when a national event occurs. There is one common theme with all the posts; the poster wants to get way with their abuse – diatribe, bigotry, whine, or whatever – scot-free. They are merely ” sharing ” someone else’s concoction. If they are proved right you should have agreed with them and if they are proved wrong it was someone else’s fault.

Well, no. When you try to slap something unsavoury upon your friends, you are the last person to touch it, and the dung clings to you as much as it does to the disgusting object. Same thing with your social media posts. Those shitty fingers are at the ends of your own sleeves.

If you want to be honest with friends, you can still press them with political and social opinions, but you need to do it in your own words. You write, not share. If you write right, they’ll read. If you write shite, they won’t.

Take responsibility for your own material.

Shopping For A War – Part Five – The Reader’s Digest…

Or will it be ”  War And Peace “?

You have to decide when you enter a keyboard dogfight whether you want to fight it down to the deck until you all run out of ammunition and are reduced to ramming each other, or whether you just want to make a quick firing pass, zoom up, and fly away.

The first approach – what I like to call the Zeke – is for those who wish to become legends in their own lunchtime. Heros who do not care whether their reputations, bank balances, or underwear are shredded in the fight. People who sacrifice themselves whenever they can – possibly for the pleasure of being hurt. There’s probably a PhD somewhere in there but you’d have to write footnotes to get it.

The indefatigable keyboard fighter never gives up, even when they have passed from being questionable to being wrong – and then gone on to being ludicrous and irrelevant. They cannot quit, as quitting would involve them in the suspicion that they were fools and have been suckered into an intellectual Lufberry Circus by smarter thinkers. They generally die in a blaze of inglorious prose against some hillside.

A second fighting style is know as the Thunderbolt. The writer knows that they have one chance only to drop on their opponent with overwhelming force, let ’em have the whole nine yards, and then use the moment of stunned and horrified silence to zoom away and disappear. It is not a case of cowardice – just judicious use of advantage and tactics. Dodging and weaving whilst making the escape is also not a bad idea. They never have to return to fight that opponent again.

A third approach is to enter unobtrusively, throttle back whilst close to the victim, drop a delayed-action meme, and then slide over the horizon before the thing goes up. Make no mistake – no-one will be in any doubt who dropped it. You will get credit, if only in curses.

Shopping For A War – Part Three – Lemme At that Keyboard…

Well, if you have decided not to get physical in your search for a fight, why not pull up the laptop and start being obnoxious. The worst you’ll get is unfriended and you might very well be able to ruin someone’s whole week from the comfort of Mum’s basement.

Note: Mum’s Basement is a cliché. The best work is done from a warm den, surrounded by cups of coffee and plates of chocolate biscuits. It helps to have a pin board up on one wall with lists of victims .

Are you right? Not political Right – I mean are you correct – at least as often as you are wrong? Would you like to improve the score? To be right more and more often? To finally be right all the time? The internet will be your  playground, then, and if you are good at what you do, it can become a killing ground. Literally, if recent news reports are to be believed.

Find a group of people who will read your work. Pick a topic that will arouse them. Choose whether to be righteous or cynical in your posts, but do not switch between the two settings – this will just confuse your audience.* Rouse them to passion with whatever you write, and then note which ones rouse easily. These are your go-to readers when you need a quick fix of righteous indignation or virtue. Don’t be ashamed of this – we all need a shot of caffeine, alcohol, or praise every now and then.

Play on your simpler readers as much as you like – they’ll generally respond predictably and you can keep them going with a very small maintenance dose of smarmy memes. They may not be humourous people in themselves, but they can recognise humour in others and condemn it. Remember that you can always wave a flag, poppy, or cross and get a healthy shout of approval.

Then try for the harder targets – the readers who are more intelligent and/or sophisticated. They will need more careful cozening and subtler stimuli. Do not expect them to boil and explode as easily as the base layer, but you’ll be surprised how rewarding it is when they finally do go off. Then you can chide them for lack of self-control.

*  And confused readers are likely to switch off and go to the refrigerator.

 

Shopping For A War – Part One – The Battleground

Nothing to do with politics or the military here, folks. Everything to do with human relations on the internet.

I count 224 souls on my Facebook list but have no idea whether some of them are really still there. There are a couple of greyed-out profiles that may indicate that they have signed themselves off – one hopes only from the social site. A few more are on semi-permanent do-not-follow status that is only breached when I get bored and curious. In some cases they have always rewarded me with the same behaviour that got them unfollowed in the first place and have been hung back on the rack.

Several more are popped into snooze mode during special occasions like the current federal election. Once this is over and their sense of electoral outrage simmers down they will be worth looking at again.

Note: I have no idea how many people have locked me in the social media bathroom at any one time. I just write and broadcast these little essays and hope for the best. If I get the worst it is just part of the game. If I get the wurst I make sauerkraut and boiled potatoes.

The social media site is a wonderful thing – there is such falsity and barnumistic advertising on it as to suggest that it has no value whatsoever. Yet every day someone makes a valuable contact or comment somewhere and it doesn’t do to remain completely ignorant about what is going over the net. You can ignore Harry Potter and the Game Of Thrones and benefit greatly but you still need your daily kitten fix on Facebook.

Unfortunately for the more modest of us ( And I am always making Modest Proposals. I’m swift with that. ..) there are people who deliberately bait, goad, and entrap on even the kindest of social sites. And we do well to realise it and shape our actions accordingly.

Tomorrow: Picking sides is like picking noses…

 

Kindly Point That Meme In Another Direction.

Thank you.

Please do not think that I am unsympathetic to your cause. I’m sure your cause may have true aspects and fine points – I daresay that you can press it with wit and sophistication. And Lord knows, we need goodness, wit, and vitamins every day.

The problem is you are serving up horse manure, and I have long since lost a taste for it.

I would have welcomed your spiel in my 2o’s. I would have agreed readily, nodded vigorously, and subscribed generously. If you were young and attractive I would have gone through hoops to impress you in the hope that you would press yourself to me. Here. And here. And here again…

I have now arrived at the point of time when pressing is optional and it actually is the thought that counts. And if you can’t manage to keep yours in order I am not interested.

If you ask me to believe the unbelievable I shall politely refuse. If you ask me to support the insupportable the answer will be the same. If you wish me to deny the evidence of my own eyes, ears, or other senses, you can launch yourself off a steam catapult and fly away. Keep it up and I won’t rig the arrester wires for your return…

 

Harmony And Harmonica Are Two Diffferent Words

Are you on Facetwit? Or Googram? Do you respond to your phone, computer or tablet every time it makes a dinging sound? Are you a modern version of a Pavlov dog?

Congratulations – you are a prime candidate for Le Régiment Zukerberg. Also known as the 101st Internet Lancers. The Old Brigands. You are the person that they want  – because they can make you do anything that they want you to do – and do it willingly.

If you are suspicious of this, consider your history on the internet:

a. Do you write your own material or just ” share ” what they lay in front of you? Are you advancing on your own recognizance or are you led…or driven?

b. Do you respond predictably? Can they count on you to share, tweet, like, or proselytize just as directed?

c. Do you do this for free? Or do you pay for the privilege of doing it?

d. Are you passionate? So passionate that you will embrace anything that you’re told to embrace? Would you do this physically at the bidding of a master? There’s always a place for a willing prostitute, so don’t worry if the answer’s yes.

e. Can you be turned quickly from one opinion to the opposite if Central Command decrees it? Are you ready to applaud the Brest – Litovsk treaty one week and declare class war the next?

f.  Are you willing to ignore the bad behaviour of other people if it is useful to your party? And to find cause for outrage in the mildest opposition?

If you can agree to some or all of these observations, you too can be a social media instrument. An instrument of power – of vengeance – of justice. Also of propaganda, of deceit, and of treachery. What a career you can have.

But be aware that it is not all happiness in the Divine Instruments Of Justice Brigade. While you might think of yourself as a Trumpet Of Glory, the reality may be that you are merely a Harmonica Of Wind. And the sad thing is eventually someone will turn you upside down and rap you against the table to get the spit out.