It is funny. Ironic, even.
When I posted yesterday my intent was to talk about my fears about jumping into the SL blogging world again. I had been reflecting on the confluence of events that led me to pull back from writing about SL in the context of a conversation I had on plurk a few days ago. What came out was a few short paragraphs that set off a chain of events I should have anticipated but did not.
The title of the post was "Thoughts About Hive Mind in Second Life." It was not "All the Reasons One Billion Rising Sucks and Anyone Who Organized or Loved the Event is a Jerk." The post was not meant to be a critical attack on OBR. It was not meant to denigrate those who poured their hearts and souls into a cause they feel passionately about. It was meant to say how it is hard to be someone who orbits at the outer edges of the SL community, peeking in to a world that rarely makes sense to me.
I made the point that people with opinions outside the accepted mainstream in SL are often beaten up, ostracized, criticized in thinly veiled passive aggressive blog posts where they are not named but everyone paying attention knows exactly who is the subject. The volume and nastiness of the push back for daring to be different and saying so in public can be a sight to behold.
After I posted what happened? There was a shit storm of blog posts about OBR and push back so loud it caught the attention of Hamlet Au and ended up on New World Notes. What is most ironic is OBR was the background to my post. The nastiness of the SL community when it feels challenged was my main point. Thank you darlings for proving my point.
It takes an enormous amount of personal strength and conviction to continue to put yourself out there when the SL hive mind takes over. Often I did not have that personal strength and so I stopped writing.
Perhaps I just wanted to be liked by the SL elite so I decided it was better to be seen and not heard. Somehow I began to think it was better to be liked and included than to be disliked and shut down. I stopped being true to myself.
Then I got diagnosed with cancer and since my time on this earth may indeed be shorter than I hope, I have decided I am no longer going to be intimidated by self appointed thought leaders.
To the people who were energized by OBR I offer a few thoughts.
If you want to make a dent in the violence against women you may want to consider learning how to organize people for political change. You don't know this about me but my very first job when I got out of college was community organizing for political change. *Gasp*. Yes. Just like the President, I began my career knocking on doors, getting signatures, asking people for money, lobbying for legislation, sleeping in churches and community centers and earning a poverty level income so that I could have the privilege of working for a better world.
Here is what I learned after years of that work: events like OBR are meaningless unless you do the outreach and follow up necessary to turn the event into action. It is absolutely true that events don't change things, people do. However if an event does not change people by spurring them to concrete action, then the entire effort was nothing more than a feel good show.
And, I am not afraid to say so.
I do have a lot of organizing experience so if anyone wants to talk about how to work toward social change, feel free to give me a shout. I am happy to help in any way I can.
(I have to run so this post is going up without proof reading. Sorry about that. I will edit later)