Review Culture

I’ve just come upon a realization; I want to type it out, then implement these new concepts, as everything in this subject area had been very fragmented…but it’s not anymore.

So, here it is:

I no longer wish to participate in ‘review culture’ or social media.

Let’s elaborate.

Social Media

I was dragged, totally kicking and screaming into the world of social media.
Granted, the LiveJournal that I kept for about two or three years was voluntary, but it was a different world back then.

Once LiveJournal kind of fell out of fashion, I just communicated with my online friends through messenger services…but then, Friendster came about. My friends were never not talking about how I needed a Friendster every time somebody mentioned the website, so I started a Friendster.
And I hated it.
Then, MySpace came about. Everybody kept friggin’ on and on about how I needed to start a MySpace…so, I did.
And I hated it.
Then, FaceBook came about, and I resisted for years, but my best friend at the time bitched until I started one of those accounts, too.
And I hated it.
I’ll admit that the hatred wasn’t as strong for FaceBook for a little while, as that was when one needed to be a college student to possess an account, so the network was more intimate, but I still didn’t like it.

About six years ago, I made the decision to close my account on FaceBook.
It was a very difficult thing to do, because people don’t call each other anymore…there’re people you want to keep in casual touch with, yet it’s too awkward to call them, so you only acknowledge them on FaceBook; it’s literally the only string keeping two people tied together, sometimes. And I knew that if the account went down, so did quite a few relationships…but FaceBook only made me feel badly about myself, you know?

I didn’t really use the damn FaceBook account, so people were messaging me once my wedding photographer uploaded pictures of my wedding because I didn’t bother to tell anybody on there I was planning on getting married. There were people who I never wanted to run into again, sending me messages…there were people who never wanted to run into me again who I’d message, and had no clue they were angry at me…people unfriend you for reasons unknown, block you for the same…it’s a world based on talking, yet nobody’s really talking.

Admittedly, it really can create the illusion of people remembering your birthday…but you’re in for a rude awakening if you leave, bro.

There just came a point when I had to acknowledge that that fucking website was a shackle around my ankle, and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

And please, don’t even ask me about Twitter. Holy SHIT.
The entire point of Twitter for most people appears to be getting more followers than one is following, and the human connection is just…NOT a priority.

When I published my book, I thought that it was not a choice: I needed a FaceBook and Twitter account, otherwise, nobody would buy my book, nor would they know about it, so I started both of them.

Guess what?

Nobody knows about or buys my book anyway!

After ruminating about making those stupid accounts, I thought that a highlight of starting them would be that I’d be more accessible to more humans, and they to me, and I’d feel less alone…but it just made me feel even more alone, more than ever before. At least the people I love who know nothing about my activities had a reason not to comment or call…they didn’t know.

Beyond that…it really taught me that I do NOT need nor want to know some things about people.

I deactivated my account for FaceBook in July, as I was just tired of sneaks and creeps…and I figured that I was, again, free of the FaceBook monster…but nope; it turns out, a whole bunch of people were upset and/or pissed off because they thought I’d deleted them because FaceBook doesn’t notify your friends of your voluntary deactivation from the website…thanks for that, guys.

So, I now only possess a private Twitter, which I will probably stop using.
…It is not as if anybody really reads it, anyway.

But, I do really love this blog, and I love it because, to this point, it has enhanced my online experience as opposed to made it miserable…SO FAR.

Review Culture

Remember the 90s?
Remember when one would buy a movie or a book and actually had to take a chance on their purchase?

The first person would say, ‘Oh my God! Have you seen ‘Suchandsuch?’ It was a great movie!’ and the second person would reply, ‘Yeah. I didn’t really like it; it wasn’t for me,’ and then they’d both move on?

Well, now, that person who didn’t like it could make their opinion known to the entire world, and maybe even ruin a career or two, while they’re at it.

Yes, there were professional critics (food/movie/book) back then, but reviews weren’t as rampant as they are, nor were they done by laypeople. And hey: Being the anti-elitist that I am, I LOVE laypeople, but sometimes, they review for the wrong reasons, and it can ruin people.

If you can’t say something nice, shut your God damned mouth…my personal policy before I review anything.

There’ve been so freaking many times that I’ve taken a chance on an independent author’s work, as they are in a way my brethren…I’ve taken chances on traditionally published authors, too, and in both situations, I’ve been more disappointed than pleased. Sometimes, I’ve even been outright offended at how badly a book has been slapped together. But there comes a point where we need to sit the fuck down and realize that not every opinion we hold needs to be broadcasted.

As an author, I know EXACTLY how much work goes into a book, EVEN a shitty one; I also know many people who’ve always wanted to publish a book, and haven’t even written a page…so who the hell am I to tell others it’s not worth reading? To tell others that a movie or television show isn’t worth watching?

The thing that is most disturbing is that I’ve felt that…NEED…that ‘oh-my-God-this-is-SO-bad-I-need-to-make-sure-everybody-knows’ thing.

I bought a non-fiction book at a museum…a self-published history book…and when I settled in to read it, I nearly threw it across the room within the first few pages; I wanted to burn a building down once I flipped through it and figured out it only became worse.

You need to realize that as a person who went to school for nine and a half years (most of that being graduate school), most of my writing career has been academic research…I mean, that’s what my graduate degree focused on: Research. And my personal library is probably 85% non-fiction, if not, more so. So, when I realized that I’d just blown about $20.00 on this book (which is of a particular topic that I actually collect) that was, for all intents and purposes completely useless, I was BEYOND batshit mad. It was poorly conceived, the author CLEARLY didn’t have a background in historical non-fiction, nor did she ask for help from somebody who did, citations weren’t implemented properly…the book wasn’t formated properly, she came off as self-important– ok, I need to stop.

…Ok. I’m back.

–…and I put money in her pocket for this rip-off of a book.
I wanted to tell the fucking WORLD.

Instead, I stopped.
I put the thing down, bitched to my friend, then moved on.
This thing, with all of its problems, is this woman’s baby; in all of her ineptitude, this woman was very proud of what she’d created, for better or worse, and no matter how hard I slam it, it will not change…and there’re probably so many people who appreciated (and WILL appreciate) it for what it is.

Most importantly, nobody forced me to buy it; I could’ve flipped through it before I bought it, but I didn’t. So, why make this person suffer because I didn’t enjoy her stuff, right? My dislike of somebody’s material doesn’t endow me the right to keep a person from making money off of their work or try to ruin them.

We need to be aware of the consequences that others must endure because of our actions. I mean, how does it change your life if you make somebody lose their job or ruin their career?

It’s all too easy to be a consumer; it’s hard work to be an entrepreneur or an artist, trying to make it.

Well, I don’t know about you, but…

I just don’t even want to play these social media or review games.
Social media, reviews…these things were created to enrich people, to help people…to bring people together, but they push us apart and make us apathetic.
Our opinions are important, but they aren’t important to everybody; we shouldn’t be fighting about them or ruining lives or careers because of them.

Maybe being a mininal person whose world isn’t open to everybody on the internet isn’t for everybody, but I like it.
I like to really talk to somebody on their birthday, and it makes many people happy that I don’t know it’s their birthday because FaceBook reminded me, but because I just know…I like to keep myself in check and possess empathy for others.

 

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