I have to write this down because I need a place to put it. The problem with Twitter is that things move quickly, and it’s a bitch to nail down something I find funny or poignant or important. This is Twitter’s curse and its triumph: it’s a snapshot of what’s going on, a place to collect mental warmups and the ephemera of our lives.
It’s also a place for clueless asshats to gather and steal time. If you’ve gotten a link to this through a reply from me on Twitter, it’s because I think you’re one of them, and I want you to know how much what I think you’re doing is wasteful and wrongheaded and it requires me to sit you down and point out the mess you made on the carpet.
It’s like this: I like that random people follow me. It’s just like the early days of the web, when a comment was like finding a nugget of gold in the pile of sand someone had dumped on my desk. That spark of recognition, that light that goes off in my soul when I know another human being has read what I’ve written and it’s meant something to them: that’s a marvelous thing, and it makes a tool like Twitter that much more special. It brings a little warmth to a world that is always growing colder.
And you ruined it.
That’s right, you ruined it, because I got an email saying that you followed me on Twitter, and I clicked on your profile, and I found out that you call yourself a social media maven, an online marketing guru, a SEO expert.
You are none of those things.
You are a murderer.
You have killed a few of my precious seconds, and all because you think your link farm or your blog or whatever twaddle you’re pushing is worth my time, my limited time, my never-going-to-get-it-back time, my time that I could spend with my family or writing or on my bike or connecting with another human being or making the world’s greatest sandwich, and for what?
You follow me, because you hope I’ll follow you back so I can hang on your every word.
Don’t lie to me. You follow a few thousand people. You think I’m going to believe that you really pay attention to all of them?
No, you follow them in the hopes they’ll follow you back. You’re preying on the protocols of Twitter. You are a parasite, a leech, a tumor on the Body Internet, and I feel sorry for you.
Why? Because you are that most awful thing: you’re boring.
You’re boring because you only care about trying to sell stuff. I don’t care if it’s your services or your thoughts or a new website about cheese; you are trying to sell me something, and we both know that what you’re peddling is worthless. That’s why marketing was invented: to convince people that the shit sandwich they’re being served is actually tasty roast beef.
I should know, because that was my job.
“Aha!” you cry, “hypocrite! You self-loathing loser!”
But there’s a difference between the stuff I sold and what you sell: I knew my audience. I went out and hunted for them. I used tools to speed up the process, but I knew who I was looking for. I knew what I was selling was something that people would want to know about, if they only knew about it. Nine times out of ten, I was right.
But you? You have a tool that scans Twitter for keywords and follows automatically, and those keywords are boring. “Marketing.” “Social media.” “Online.”
What’s worse is that they devalue both of us. They turn me into a commodity and your words into so much bland mush. You don’t care about me except that I could be one more number on your Followers list, and that’s a sad, sad thing. You measure your worth in how many people are engaged in the sad game of Pay Attention To Me.
You could be so much more.
That’s why I’m sending you this link before I block you. It’s not that I’m angry at you; it’s that I’m disappointed. You seem to get how Twitter and the web and the online world all work, yet you’re wasting it all by trying to get me to pay attention to you.
What if you spent all that energy into doing something that was worthy of attention on its own? What if you turned off the auto-follow tools, sat down, looked hard at your life and found that brilliant, amazing thing inside you that wants to shine? What if you worked like mad honing, shaping, polishing that thing until it was so fucking bright that people couldn’t take their eyes off it if they tried?
What if you want tried to make things better?
Most of you who get this link won’t get very far. You’ll write me off, continue checking boxes and going about your boring business. That’s fine. Within twenty-four hours, I’ll have blocked you, and you’ll be out of my life.
But some of you will read this, and it’ll gnaw at you. You’ll roll it around, like that bit of corn stuck in your teeth, and you won’t be able to dislodge it. It’ll drive you nuts, and that’s because, deep down, you’ll know I’m right.
An oyster needs a grain of sand to make a pearl. I hope yours turns into something beautiful.
Since your minions are no doubt lurking this convention center, I have to hold my tongue. But here, on my site, I am free to say:
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. You make my job more difficult with your DRM setting bullshit that doesn’t apply to a movie I fucking shot and created myself. Die, die, die.
Love and kisses,
Tags: from hell's heart I stab at thee
Tags: from hell's heart I stab at thee Tweet
(I really should just leave the post as is because, dude, that’s a title that speaks for itself. But if Mrs. F can get paid for cranking out reams of bullshit, then I can do that and more for free. Because I love you.)
We’ve had a subscription to The Atlantic Magazine for a while, and its monthly arrival is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we get the excellent long form journalism of James Fallows and Mark Bowden, articles that discuss the big wide world and all the weirdness within. And on the other, we get a bucketful of stupid from Mark Steyn, Christopher Hitchens, and Caitlin Flanagan. The first two I can usually ignore, but Mrs. Flanagan’s writing is, to me, the literary equivalent of a chemical plant fire: breathtaking in its power and beauty, yet full of noxious fumes that make me dumber the longer I stand and watch.
I hope you enjoyed your workout. I also hope you get some sleep; the bags under your eyes were big enough to pack up the gear from a Cirque du Soleil touring company.
The reason I’m writing you, madam, is that I didn’t appreciate the way you waltzed up to my lane, whistling tunelessly and giving me a “Are you gonna hurry up and get the hell out so I can do my aqua-jogging, you lap-swimming low-life?” look the entire time. I realize that you don’t swim, but I’d like you to know that I was absolutely fucking exhausted after this morning’s workout and not in the mood to hurry. The next time, I’d appreciate it if you did me the common courtesy of asking if I minded sharing the lane rather than hovering above, just waiting for me to haul myself out of the pool. Maybe if you swam instead of just bouncing from one end of the short lane to the other, you’d learn that.
Love and kisses,
…using the words “you need” when asking me to do something will not get you the intended result. Or any result at all. Unless the request is “You need to step over here in order to keep from Godzilla from stepping on you” or “You need to get in this line if you want an Everlasting Strawberry Orgasm Doughnut. That line is for getting radioactive scorpion enemas.”
Just so we’re clear.
You can take your draft for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct and shove it right up your ass.
Love and kisses,
Dear Santa Monica City Council Members-
Yesterday, I got a parking ticket outside my apartment.
Now, this happens on the occasional Tuesday or Wednesday when I forget to move my car for the street sweepers, but yesterday was Monday. The SMPD Interceptors usually stay away from my neighborhood on Mondays, so you can imagine my surprise and anger when I leaped in the car to go to the gym and saw that little white and sea green envelope stuck in my windshield wipers.
As I plucked it off, I noticed a new sign, one that, as far as I can tell, hadn’t been there until this weekend when I was in Oxnard for two days. It said this:
NO PARKING SCHOOL DAYS, MONDAY-FRIDAY, 7-9 AM AND 2-4 PM.
SCHOOL LOADING ZONE.
Now, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Lincoln Middle School since I moved here eleven years ago. I love the community orchestra that plays on Tuesday nights. I hate the morning drop-off traffic. I love that I can jog on the track in the evenings. I hate the way parking vanishes whenever there’s a school function.
This new signage knocks our relationship way into hate.
I’m mad at two groups, folks, and one of them is you. It’s not the ticket, but the lack of warning. Never in the past twelve months have I gotten a letter, a door-hanger or a phone call that had to do with this change in parking. Why is it whenever there’s something that has to do with the City’s long term planning, I’m inundated with mailers, but when something happens that affects the day-to-day living of me and my neighbors, I don’t hear a peep out of the City offices?
The other group, of course, is the parents of LMS students. I find it amusing that the City will undertake traffic calming measures to change people’s driving habits on Wilshire Boulevard or enact legislation to make Santa Monica more sustainable, but it won’t do a damn thing to encourage kids to walk, bike or take the Big Blue to school. More importantly, it won’t do anything to discourage parents from clogging up the intersections of 14th Street with California and Washington Avenues, intersections that already get plenty of traffic thanks to 14th Street’s reputation as the fast way to get across town.
There is, I think, a solution that will help maintain a balance between the parking needs of the neighborhood and the safety needs of the students and parents, and it is this: blow up the school. Just pack the fucker with dynamite and level the goddamn thing. Then pave over it, build a monument of a man with his head between his legs and his head up his ass, and we’ll always remember how you continue to screw up and make me resent ever voting for any of you.
Love and kisses,
[Note: no, that last paragraph won't be in the letter I send to the City Council. But, dude, it felt good to write.]