Thursday, October 13, 2011

Extrapolate to Your Circumstances and Move On.

I’ve found over time that I need to take lengthy Twitter “holidays”. I don’t read or tweet at all. Sometimes, it just becomes “too much” for me. There’s sometimes a mob mentality on Twitter, sometimes it’s too emo for the day, sometimes there’s subjects I’d rather not read, and sometimes trying to even flirt with your boyfriend gets people's panties in a twist. It all gets spewed out on a tweetstream. And sometimes people jump in, without knowing any of the backstory, and usually without even asking a simple question “what do you mean by that?”

One of the things I LOVE most about Twitter is that, simply by ASKING that question- I can learn damned near anything I’d ever want to. I can view differing opinions and question divergent life experiences. Every socio-politico-economic-religious viewpoint you’d want to know about is Right. There. On. Twitter. For the asking.

I’ve been on a Twitter holiday for the past week or so. During that time, I’ve rarely tweeted. I’m still a little pissed off that people think it’s okay to butt in on a conversation, assuming they know what the fuck people are talking about and getting offended that our conversations don't always stop to include their circumstances.

I’m beginning to wonder if people have forgotten that one behaves online in social media- well...sociably? Have people forgotten HOW to actually HAVE a conversation? Here's a hint: It's probably not a good idea to break into a conversation and accuse someone of being an insensitive asshole because their conversation didn't include your specific raison d'etre.

I have a special affinity for Twitter. I love popping in, having a small bite of conversation, and continuing along my day. As Septimus said once “it’s like having a water cooler conversation”. It’s especially useful for me because I don’t actually have a watercooler (or people) where I work. It breaks up my day, and I’ll admit- sometimes I get carried away with it. Especially when flirting with Septimus.

I have a pretty terrific “core group” of people that I tweet with and I seldom have problems there. There's another group of people I tweet with occasionally where I have to be prepared to explain things ad naseum before we can figure out that what we each said wasn't meant as a literal analysis. And then there's a third group of people- the ones that don't really know me who see an out-of-context tweet and get their panties in a bunch.

One of the things about Twitter that often makes it difficult for me is that third group. The other people who find their way into a conversation, midstream, without background, and THINK they know what you’re talking about. And only having a partial conversation showing on their tweetstream, they sometimes get it very wrong.

Just the other day, I was in kind of a bad mood. Septimus knows that when I get like that, I go to Twitter to get cheered up. He also knows that I “read more into” his tweets than he says. That’s part of the benefit of being in a relationship with someone. That shorthand that you learn to pick up over time. We’ve developed a twitter style between the two of us that (so I’ve been told) is quite cute to watch. But mostly, we started using twitter to flirt with each other and we’ve continued in that vein. If Klout had a “knowledgeable about someone” stat, we’d be at the top of each other’s list.

But as I said, I was in a bad mood and he knows what puts me in a better one. So he started tweeting tips about cocksucking. They were tips designed to make me smile. But more importantly, the were tips about how HE liked to have HIS cock sucked. Someone broke into the conversation, perhaps after only seeing one or two of his tweets, and got offended at Septimus’ “generalities”. Another person got bothered by the fact that he was tweeting about cocksucking as if MALES with PENISES were the only people who had their cocks sucked! [I’m not trying to start a gender war here, but seriously?] We’re in a heteronormative-cisgendered-monogamous relationship. Of COURSE he was tweeting about his penis! That’s the only one that interests ME! (and him, I daresay)

At first, when those tweets started showing up on my stream, I got pretty hot under the collar (hee hee). I had dozens of “fuck you PC police” tweets ready to go, when I figured I just needed a break. I sent a last tweet that said something along the lines of “great...now I can’t even use twitter to flirt with my fucking boyfriend without the goddamned kinky PC police getting their panties in a twist?” (or something along those lines). Then the DM’s started.

One really great tweep- ginger_snap, DM’d me with what has become my mantra for dealing with the nonsense that happens on Twitter: “extrapolate to your circumstances and move on”.

And, with those words- Twitter suddenly became clear.

People don’t “extrapolate to their circumstances”. See a tweet- especially a passive/aggressive one- and it must be directed at you, personally. See something on twitter and it must be directed to the world as a whole. Specifics become generalities and people forget that with only 140 characters, one just CAN’T cover every conceivable permutation of relationship, gender, sexuality, fluidity or experience. We tweet to our own experience and regarding our own circumstances, but social media has fostered a belief that people expect that our experience and circumstance is the SAME as theirs (or at least should include theirs).

And it very well may be- but only if they’re willing to extrapolate to their own circumstances. Don’t like how we tweet about cis-gendered cocksucking? Extrapolate to your own damned circumstance and move on. Don’t like what’s being said about polyamory? Extrapolate to your own damned circumstance and move on. Don’t like how someone’s relationship appears on twitter? Extrapolate to Your Circumstances and Move On.

With only 140 characters a tweet, the ONLY think that’s for certain is that not everything is germane to your circumstances. So extrapolate to your circumstances and move on.

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