I was extremely fortunate that I was photographed by Villiam Hrubovcak and the picture is one of several from that photoshoot. He has shot everyone from Bjork, Elvis Costello, Billy Idol, to John Waters, and if I recall correctly, Ollie North.
I have this one he shot of me hanging in my living room.
It is still my favourite photograph of me.
Because I usually do not pose that way. I like my face in front, but he suggested it to show off my distinctive nose; so I did, never thinking that would have been the photograph I would have selected after. I like to break my own rules, decrees, truisms, routines, and theories, but in this case, someone made the suggestion.
I do take advise. I do take chances.
Because I am not afraid to question things or people, including myself.
I test my own theories, but every once in a while, someone shows you a place where you didn’t think of testing your own rules.
But when you are intellectually uninhibited, you can question everything and eventually figure out that’s how you find the facts of reality to find the truth.
Percentage-wise, Twitter brings me very little traffic to this site. I can easily deactivate my account, and my numbers would remain untouched. I have a modest, but steadily-increasing international base here, if I believe what the analytics are saying to me.
Wordpress wasn’t as accurate, and there were strange things happening. For long stretches, it would claim I had no traffic from Google searches, which I did not believe, and tested it myself on my other devices, and lo and behold, those didn’t register, either. Nice try. I cannot say the same for my current host Squarespace. So far, I am very happy with them. They are helpful, prompt, thorough, and I have never been left frustrated or have something I could not figure out on my own unresolved. I wish I came aboard sooner.
But I cannot say the same for Twitter. Is there shadow-banning of me? I don’t know why there would be, but it wouldn’t surprise me, either.
I have been on Twitter for years, and I have been hover at 1790 followers for as long as I can remember, according to them, which is low. I am also on Ello, a smaller social media site, and though I have not been there as long and don’t post as often, my followers have increased steadily to over 3600, more than double what the Twit nets me.
And I do not make the first move to gain followers. People come to me first. So that’s quite a difference where the pool in one site is far greater than the other. By mere chance alone, I should have more than double on Twitter than I do on Ello.
Maybe the difference is that I don’t trust Twitter. There is no proof that any organized groundswell of reaction is organic, spontaneous, or genuine, and I doubt that it is any of the above. It is way too easy to game the system. It has become social propaganda for various advertisers and political groups that is intermingled with naive people who are followers by design, and believe everything they see on the Troll Scroll.
There is no respect for people. They don’t call it Twitter for nothing.
And there is nothing more deceptive than that Blue Checkmark. It does not signal what is being said is true. It does guarantee that the person writing that tweet is actually there person, it could and most likely is an assistant or PR firm.
Nor does it guarantee that the person isn’t being paid by an outside party to shill.
It doesn’t have any safeguards. The same can be said of Wikipedia, and I do not see it as a credible source of information, either.
And often who gets the blue checkmark mystifies me. They aren’t actually well-known. You can do a basic search on them and virtually come up empty-handed. They are not always people of note, let alone “social influencers.”
Google has my verified profile, however.
My Twitter profile is there, even though I am an author of several books and do not have the little blue checkmark. I didn’t put my Twitter account there. People do look me up by name because Google’s own analytics let me know.
So across various platforms, there is a real inconsistency. Google has me verified, and directs people to my Twitter feed, yet Twitter will not give me the verified status, even though I worked as a journalist, and have several books under my belt. I had one late last year, and one coming out next year.
By all accounts, that should be more than enough, especially considering how low the bar is.
But it is hard to justify lobbying for something that I know is rigged and filled with propaganda spewed from behind a curtain.
It is more than fake news. It is fake followers. It is just fake.
It is not an informational portal. It is an advertising vehicle to push ideologies just as Facebook is amateur press release.
And whenever you challenge something on that platform, the vipers come out to intimidate with insults.
Don’t give me lip.
Give me proof.
But when you cannot verify who is writing the tweet is who they say they are, nor whether or not they are being paid to say it, you won’t find any proof there at all.
Twitter wasn’t build to prove. It was built to bully. It was built to foster groupthink. It was made to prime, groom, and deliver audiences with the right mindset to build clusters of thought.
The word count is too low for anything rational to transpire. At least Facebook talks about connections as “friends” and LinkedIn uses the word “connection.” Twitter was the one who used the trigger word “follower.”
It is brazen enough. They might as well use a pigeon over the Mountain Bluebird they have as their logo.
But it gives the illusion of control and genuine interaction. You think you know what you see, and that is its strength. You don’t know what’s on the other side of that missive or the motive for it being there.
It makes it a prime breeding ground for manipulation.
But it also weakens and devalues words and opinion. There is too much clutter.
Because everything is virtual, the impact is not as great as it appears. The turnover is fast for anything to take root and grow. People let off steam with slacktivism. People try to one-up others. There is petty rivalry, but few real tangible results that hit their targets.
For example, #MeToo. It seemed as if it did its job, but what did the faceless movement actually net?
It took down a lot of men on the Left because they could not live up to the book of rules. They were done in by a misfiring of Alinksy’s Gun.
But that’s not who that gun was meant to shoot: it was men on the Right who were supposed to crumble and fall.
Brent Kavanaugh was supposed to have fallen. While the damsels-in-distress marched in their cosplay red robes, he ultimately got issued a Supreme Court black robe.
Twitter is not a precise weapon. So far, Donald Trump seems to have known how to use it.
Digital media doesn’t know how to use it. They crashed. Traditional media also was clueless and collapsed.
For a social media site that is all about communications, it doesn’t actually work the way people think it does.
Just one septuagenarian. This quadragenarian has no use for it.
Because Twitter is like a bad psychic: you can see the rigs a mile away.
It’s that transparent.
And the motives for people’s continued gullibility when using it.
It doesn’t interest me.
I prefer a more instructive challenge.
Which brings me to Mindwild.
I always thrived with a challenge. I like puzzles. I like when things are not obvious to me.
I when I can challenge my own rules, turn them over, see them break, and then find the atom of truth.
Knowledge is flexible, not static. It evolves, changes, and grows, and why I like to revisit past knowledge and update what I know.
So when I decided to go into journalism to study it, I had to think about a lot of things very carefully.
I had to define what I was doing, and if I didn’t reach certain milestones, or things didn’t go to plan, I needed plans and counter-plans.
I called it Method Research. I was taking my laboratory into the real world. It was like a scientist placing herself into an atom to study it.
My job? Being an actrivist — being actively inside the world I was studying.
These terms were my shorthand to remind me what I was doing. It is very easy to get lost in the moment and forget what to do. It’s like sparring with someone in the boxing ring and then forgetting to keep your guard up.
And what about the experiments I was conducting?
I dubbed those Mindwild. The point was not to think I was confined. I was out in the wild. I was part cavewoman fighting for survival naturally, and part android, carefully analyzing the natural elements to process information empirically.
And my experiments had to reflect these two extremes, bringing them to the radical centre: don’t take sides. Take notes. Take facts.
That meant my experiments could be as wild as I come up, but my analysis had to be as disciplined as they could be. Chaos and order at the same time.
I was methodical but took advantage of any opportunity presented to me.
It was all about taking snapshots of reality, all while remembering who I was and what I was doing. It is not as if there was a roadmap.
I was the cartographer, and I wasn’t just mapping out the profession, but who I was in it because as much as I was an experimenter, I was also the test subject.
And I learn a lot about journalism, myself, how to conduct experiments, and also the nature of truth, reality, perception, and interpretation.
For example, I learned how we define out terms confines the outcomes of what we reap from its definition. The more ill-defined it is, the less we get out of it.
And journalism is a profession with no desire to define any of its terms.
How do you define “fact-check”, for instance? It is doublespeak and a nonsense word that is suppose to give false reassurance to the believers and shut down and psych out detractors.
How can you even have an imprecise and folksy term for something that dictates specialization and precision?
It’s a scam. Worse, it is a patronizing scam.
It’s no different than saying someone is a doctor: what kind of doctor? What is their area of expertise? An oncologist or internist? And even then, they have their specialized area.
Or lawyer. What kind of lawyer? Criminal? Divorce? Real Estate? Corporate?
So the word “fact-check” is pure bullshit.
It’s just an arrogant bunch who use the word to snow people who don’t know the industry.
But that doesn’t work on people who know because they worked in the business, never falling for its alleged prestige and bragging rights.
While society moves towards AI and conducting research with cold arbitrary logic, they are losing the wild part of the equation.
The part the develops instincts. You can teach someone to box with a textbook, but put them in the ring, and they will lose to the person who had to fight in real life for their survival without a trainer.
But, have someone fight in the real world for their survival as they have a trainer and a textbook and war manual, and they understand the theory and the practice.
That’s what I called Mindwild.
I didn’t just use it working as a journalist. I still use it to this day. I can look at something, and see the rigid thinking and assumptions its structure and content is based on.
And it can do a lot to your thinking.
I became a political atheist.
I believe in peace. I believe in progress. Neither can be found using an antiquated model of governance or journalism.
I also became a radical feminist, but not in the traditional sloppy definition of it.
But that means that (a) you do not expect an Establishment will change because you shamed them, and (b) you have to have active strategies to building new systems and not rely on old patriarchal models.
Most importantly, I learned as much about myself as I did about the world around me.
The world chose to stagnate and to old on to toxic security blankets.
I chose to flourish and grow without worrying about myself because I know who I am.
Someone who doesn’t worry about memorizing a script.
Because I don’t hide behind a script, I have allowed myself to mature and blossom, and I know who I am.
And it’s not any established role someone else has rigged up to keep people from succeeding.
I have learned to challenge the rules of anarchy and enigmas because I become both, and broke more barriers because I knew that even anarchy masks something beyond it.
And that means there are new frontiers we haven’t even seen yet.
The world is never a bore — there is always some new thrilling truth to learn, and yet people still cling on to the same old boring lies.
The world is beautiful. The future is exciting.
But you’ll never know it until you explore it, study it, nurture it, love it, listen to it, and unleash yourself in it.
That’s Method Research.
And that’s Mindwild.
Every atom is an omniverse of excitement and thrills just ready to be unleashed itself.
If only you are brave enough, loving enough, and truth enough to open it…