narcasse: Sebastian Flyte.  Brideshead Revisited (2008) (pathway)
[personal profile] narcasse
As an addendum to my last post a good portion of my ire came from the implications of reposting something that didn’t seem to have any sort of point. It’s a phenomenon that isn’t limited to LJ but one to which LJ is eminently suited by virtue of the social interaction it facilitates.

Reposting on LJ seems to fall into a few categories: spreading news that an event has occurred leaving any reader to look for further means to engage with it themselves, spreading more detailed information which again leaves the reader to either engage with it separately or discuss the matter with other interested parties, passing on either links to means to engage with the issue or advising readers how to engage with the issue themselves or posts that indicate that an individual is aware of an issue.

Raising an issue and spreading the news that it’s occurred makes a certain sort of sense depending on what the issue itself is. As long as LJ isn’t the first port of call for information on a global scale that method of repost serves its purpose though said purpose is a highly limited one. Spreading more detailed information likewise is a viable reason for a repost especially if it generates discussion of pertinent points as well as ways to address them. Reposting ways in which people can engage with the situation are also equally valid. My problem is with the last category of reposts which seem to serve no purpose other than to note that the poster is aware of the situation. That in of itself isn’t a terrible idea but when said reposts have a preachy ring of ‘I’ve posted this because I care, look at me caring’ to them then I really doubt their authenticity of feeling.

One very good example of such a post was one that did the rounds a few years ago where individuals were reposting something to the tune of “I support gay rights, repost this if you do too”. That was it, the entire content of the post was essentially to highlight that the poster ‘cared’ and that anybody else who thought posting a few lines to pat yourself on the back about your awareness was bullshit and thus didn’t repost it obviously didn’t ‘care’. That sort of thing isn’t raising awareness: you just need to open your fucking eyes to see that there’s still a hell of a long way to go as far as gay rights are concerned, nor was it activism because sitting on your backside and posting on LJ pretty obviously doesn’t equal having to do anything about equality in the real world. That reposting spree did nothing about anything other than let a fuckwit or two congratulate themselves on being pro-yaoi, which incidentally, fucknuts, has nothing to do with gay rights. Though I’ll admit that when it comes to the immensely stupid individuals out there who genuinely think that reading Gravitation means they’re supporting gay rights I honestly can’t help feeling a little glad that the extent of their ‘activism’ is idiocy like this because I’m not sure I’d want them anywhere near genuine action for fear of whatever stupidity they could come up with triggering world-wide anti-homosexuality legislation.

That ‘look at me, look at me, I care’ post didn’t do a single thing and if some people did honestly realise that there’s a severe lack of equality in this world as a result of it they were most likely examples of inbreeding recession at its finest. The point being that if you are genuinely that oblivious to events that you need an LJ post to tell you about it then it’s highly unlikely that said LJ post will actually grant you enough humanity to actually care. To go with the example, if you didn’t care about gay rights before you saw that LJ post then you’re unlikely to care because of said post since you’ve already filtered out anything about the issue in your daily life anyway. You’ve actively ignored all other, detailed, sources of information so why would you suddenly develop empathy now? The same goes for the Iranian elections. If you didn’t care about them when they were splashed across all forms of media then why will an LJ post, which gives you no real information about the situation, espouses no means by which you might engage with it and doesn’t even trigger discussions on the topic, make any sort of a difference?

Granted, that Iranian elections repost works pretty well as a piece of emotionally loaded propaganda because it tells you that you’re guilty of not living in Iran, that the Iranian protestors are people just like you and then throws in a few eye-catching photographs for good measure. The tabloids run this sort of setup all the time. And it works, people become engaged, albeit briefly, they repost a form post and feel that they’ve done something… and then they go back to their regular lives. Of course in the cases of more extreme momentarily engagement, for example after Cyclone Nargis there were users jumping on others for not posting about the event too. Because it wasn’t about trying to do something useful but rather being seen to make that empty gesture of caring. Nobody needed to advertise that they’d made a donation, taken part in fundraising, worried about their friends and relatives or relayed information but this was a case where on LJ some people really did buy into the idea that stating you were aware of a massive Cyclone that tore across South East Asia equalled an active contribution.

Suffice to say, there’s a pretty obvious line between passing on information and sitting about being smug because you ‘care’, and what always disappoints me about this is that so many people either don’t realise or actually care where that line falls.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-22 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I support gay rights, repost this if you do too.

So much for freedom of speech if all people do is scramble to post the same thing. I also find that no matter how detailed the repost is, it means nothing unless it is put into my own words; in turn one gets a better understanding of the issue in question which means there is the chance of joyously protracted discussion. Oh dear it's late. Supporting something is fine enough but by putting a topic out there then it would be in one's best interests to be able to talk about it, otherwise if they are attacked with an argument then a lack of understanding will see them fail grandly.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-25 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I should start my own inane repost: I support slapping faghags. Go slap one today!

I don't even mind reposting set messages all that much as long as that message is concise and actually achieves something. Reposting a link, something you can do or even statement to start a discussion makes sense: posting hubris doesn't.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-22 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Apart from the network of migrating proxy servers, I suspect a lot of the cut&paste approach to consciousness raising has to do with the median age and experience of LJ users. It's aggravating in the same sense as those email petitions which used to circulate around the internet used to be, essentially little more than cheering from the stands at a sports rally, except even that required at least physically getting up and moving to the relevant field.

Most of the activism I've noticed online lacks that all-important step of relationship with the people who are directly affected by that activism. Instead of asking what is needed and what form fulfilling that need should take, people take on "a project" as if they were still in high school and a teacher coached them on how to fulfil their community work grade requirement. Ultimately, it's disconnected. So much talk about how the internet brings these protests to our awareness, but at the end of the youtube stream, the protesters remain in an isolationist country in which brutal force is being levied against them. The US has far too much at stake in access to Afghanistan and Pakistan to support too much destabilization.

I suppose the next step of civil disobedience will involve general strikes and sabotage.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-26 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Instead of asking what is needed and what form fulfilling that need should take, people take on "a project" as if they were still in high school and a teacher coached them on how to fulfil their community work grade requirement.

This. It's exactly where so much anti-racist activism fails specifically. As you say it happens in all areas but I see it so much with those well meaning white anti-racists, and they throw so much time and effort behind it never once stopping to ask the people that they're meant to be supporting what actually needs to be done. So they do whatever it is they've decided they're going to do, and it's usually something flashy that they can point to as proof that they're helping, and then wonder why the POC involved don't fall over themselves being grateful. And then when they don't get the praise that they're certain they deserve they start throwing round the idea that POC are just uncooperative and deliberately being difficult.


narcasse: Sebastian Flyte.  Brideshead Revisited (2008) (Default)

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