A Meerkat Rants: All That You See is Not All That We Know

“Why is nobody talking about this?”

If you have spent any time on social media (and I’m looking at you specifically, Tumblr, but every platform’s guilty of it)  you’ve seen some variation of this, typically typed in an incredibly well-meaning, aggrieved tone of sorrow and outrage, where ‘this’ is a thing they have just now learned about.

This is…annoying, but usually manageable, specifically by linking back to the posts that ARE talking about This, and have been for some time. And, for the most part, that’s all you need to do – the original poster, presuming honest outrage, will track back and discover their allies (and boost info, rather than adding to the empty howls).

But – and you knew there would be a but, otherwise I’d have no rant – for the some part, the howls continue, because THEY haven’t seen or heard it, so therefore it isn’t happening, or isn’t happening ENOUGH or BY THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

It’s a version of gatekeeping, and people, it’s a gate that seriously does not need keeping.

Yes, it’s important to bring things to public notice, jesus wept, yes.  And yes, it’s important to keep things in the public eye, because the world is vast and busy and stuff can get buried, or overlooked.

But.

The world is vast and busy. And social media, although also vast and busy, does not encompass the whole of our awareness.  Not every person can be alert to every thing that’s happening, even within our own country (personally: hi, the is America, we’re currently under a High Trashfire Evacuation), much less worldwide.

So when someone comes swooping into our feeds, outraged and aggrieved that NOBODY is TalkING aBOUt ThIS!, they’re not actually helping the situation they claim to be upset we’re not upset about.  Especially when that outrage is based on their own inevitably limited sampling of social media.

It’s not that we don’t care.  It’s not even that we’re not paying attention.  It’s often that we’re already overloaded.

And the assumption that because You (generic You) haven’t seen it being discussed it’s not being discussed.. Well, You piss off the people who have been having the discussion already, and were wondering where the hell You were.

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About Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne is a recovering editor-turned-novelist, with an Endeavor Award, a Nebula nomination, another Endeavor award nomination and a Washington State Book Award nomination under her belt. Her most recent series is the award-winning "Devil's West" trilogy, starting with SILVER ON THE ROAD, and her same-universe story collection, WEST WINDS' FOOL, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE DEVIL'S WEST. The novella GABRIEL'S ROAD was published by Book View Cafe on April 30th, 2019. Her Patreon, featuring original fiction, writing advice, and original Rants, is at https://www.patreon.com/LAGilman Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net, where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

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