The “# impressions” or “# views” meters next to tweets or Facebook posts can be a little intoxicating. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing that value, making it rise. It’s always right there, if you manage a Facebook page or use tools like Hootsuite. As if it’s all that matters in our digital world based on eyeball glances.
Before I talked to more women, especially feminists, I used to have a more limited subset of online behaviors I’d call “creepy”. (This is setting aside obvious cases or stalking or harassing or worse.)
I disliked the casual way a friend used the verb “creeping” to mean “looking through a photo album someone posted of their trip”, even when she was doing it. I disliked how what I felt should be a normal, accepted, even invited activity was being termed that way.
I was confused by how liking photos or comments too much, or too far in the past, was creepy. I felt that these things are made to stay online, connected to a person’s profile, so why is any viewing of it at any time, and incidentally notifying someone that they were viewed, surprising or disturbing?
The problem is that it was an idyllic view that I had. I saw Likes and comments and posts are existing only in this online space, and not having physical consequences. As a guy, I don’t really have to be concerned with whether a person liking a lot of my stuff is just excited and friendly, or potentially a problem. Ask women about their experience online (or worse: at dating sites), and you’ll see the other side of this coin.
This isn’t a hit-piece on Citizen Radio or the people behind it. This is a post mostly for myself to collect my thoughts on what transpired on Twitter this afternoon.
Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein are the couple behind Citizen Radio, a weekdaily podcast dedicated to sharing, commenting on, and ranting about social justice issues. I don’t listen to it regularly, though I have heard several episodes and understand the vibe and tone of the show. I follow both of the hosts because they are important figures in the world of social justice in the United States.
The two also wrote a book that’s coming out in October called NEWSFAIL. I pre-ordered this because my girlfriend did so then we could have a similar experience reading it. I also pre-ordered because it’s a way of supporting independent, progressive media, even if it’s not totally my style.
Unfortunately our exchange on Twitter and their treatment of me today has severely hurt my appreciation of them, so I canceled the pre-order. I’m interested in being as fair as possible in my explanations and retelling. I’m not even sure if at the end I’ll still be on my own side.