I mean I’ve always been shy in real life. I never had many friends growing up and outside my workmates, I don’t have any friends where I live. I barely use Skype to talk to anyone except for a few specific individuals, and that’s AFTER they convince me to talk to them. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a certain mental disability that I won’t name, but it affects my social behavior. So yeah, it’s understandable that I’m not the best when it comes to conveying my thoughts on the web.
With that said, I’m sure I’ve grown to be better at it compared to how I started two years ago. That’s inevitable when you stay online for that length of time. I certainly don’t think I’m bad at it. But lately, I’ve been having some doubts.
Despite putting more thought in ’em than usual, I continue to get instances where due to poor phrasing on my part, some of my tweets end up rivaling a certain Twitter user who I’m just going to call Jerry in terms of insensitivity. Although to be fair, those are usually the tweets where I try to be funny, and I’ve been bad at being purposefully humorous since I was nine. Because of my ask.fm – which I’ve recently begun to regulate – I end up repeating things that most people know about me extremely needlessly. Because I cannot write on my blog the same way I write on anybody else’s the same way I can’t act at work the same way I act home, I have to regulate my behavior under the restrictions placed on me by, well, the place I enter. And that’s not saying anything of what I actually write for the blog itself. Obviously, no one’s perfect and I can’t read every conversation, but somehow I feel like I’m “less perfect” than most people, if that makes sense.
Maybe it’s because of the people I interact with. Despite not really preferring it to other mediums, not restricting all discussions to the topic of it, and not even having an avatar from it, I mostly blog about anime and only hang out with anime folk online. And most of the anime folk online have different priorities than I do. I’ve made it no secret that I don’t care for at least 90% of whatever Frog spotlights on his blog. I could give a rat’s ass about mecha or moe. Aside from The Muppet Show and a few exceptions, I really can’t stand puns. Most anime memes, vocabulary, or jokes don’t appeal to me (seriously, enough with those godawful pregnancy memes!). Butt jokes ceased being funny long ago due to white people (This is not a joke. This is something I actually believe). And just to hammer the nail in regarding how out of place I can be compared to most anime fans, I don’t like what most of the fandom tends to enjoy, elitist or otherwise.
But so what? Anime fans are humans just like me. No matter what the hobbies, commonly accepted behavior has the word “common” in it for a reason. And I get along well with my real-life friends despite the fact that they can’t sit through The Raid with me to save their life. I loved discussing Shirobako on the most recent podcast and I couldn’t be more opposed to everyone else’s viewpoint that it’s the surprise hit of the season (look forward to when I talk about it later…or not if you defend that show to the death).
So am I really just bad at online communication (mostly written, although I’m not the most charismatic when speaking online either)? I mean yes, I’ve dipped into material that I wasn’t qualified to handle like a virgin trying to take it from behind. Does that make me an asshole? Well we call Tsugumi Ohba’s stuff sexist, even though it’s more likely that he’s just really bad at writing women. So yeah, I was definitely at fault those times. But what about times where someone says I said something stupid, despite only talking about something non-serious like…well…anime? It’s true that I get facts about the inner workings of the industry wrong, which is why I avoid talking about that sort of stuff altogether whilst ignoring the folks who take the hobby more seriously than Nicholas Cage in any role he’s in. I’m fully aware that I can’t act like the Irate Gamer in terms of the hobby because I’m using it as a tool to entertain people for my own selfish needs. Nevertheless, it’s just a cartoon, guys. They don’t exactly have feelin–
Then of course, there are things that I want and I know that as long as I continue to pursue them, I’ll never achieve certain positive aspects in this game. I noticed a bunch of people complaining about my constant referencing to stuff they never even saw, especially if it’s not anime-related. But all I have to say to those people who’ve never seen Patch Adams or anything with Robert DeNiro in it is “look them up”. I gained my sense of humor from Internet comedians like Yahtzee Croshaw, and I always loved how he’d reference a film/show/something non-video game related in his reviews so I could learn about it for myself (that’s how I discovered I Spit On Your Grave), so even if I’m not quite getting why it worked when he did it, I’m still going to continue using the formula when I find it appropriate. And there’s also the fact that I think beating up on Aria/Clannad/Sword Art Online is kind of old hat by this point (well maybe not SAO because it keeps finding new reasons to hate it with each week since the second season started), especially when there’s so many other lesser known but just-as-deserving classics worthy of a beatdown. Remember how horrible Ghost Hound turned out? Or how Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was an overwrought pile of shit, especially with that awfully telegraphed ghost twist that even the Key fans called bullshit on? Or remember Sky Gi–actually no, that’s one’s better off forgotten.
Here’s what I think personally. No matter how bad at online communication I am – barring something that I can get arrested for and other extremes like that – I shouldn’t step away completely from the online world. First off, that’ll be disrespectful to the people who do like what I have to say – and I guess the people who put up with what I say as well. Second, it goes both ways. I actually have quite a bit of disdain for what some people I know write (looking at you, Shinsei, even if that tweet you pinned is actually pretty funny) and they don’t seem to mind too much. Third, there’s a difference between knowing your limits and giving up altogether. I only follow people on Twitter I feel I can talk to – with a few exceptions here or there – and I don’t even comment on the blogs I like if I feel the fandom hates me. I stay away from anime forums apart from the occasional MAL one. Pick your battles, compromise well with your own selfish desires, and just hope for the best.
Most of all, if I screw up, then I apologize. I admit what I did wrong. Then I try to defend myself, because doing the latter first is about as stupid a move as when those gaming heads tried to pass the blame for that abomination of a video game we humans call Aliens: Colonial Marines. Learn from your mistakes and try to improve on them if you can. That’s why I’m starting to shift away from the written format a bit in order to do video stuff where tone is more apparent so that context has less of a chance to get lost. How many views do those get, anyways…oh.
Of course, the biggest thing I should probably do is to not try to appeal to a bunch of strangers I’ve never met face-to-face and get some real buddies to hang out with. But nah, I’m too lazy.
PS: I have also been informed that there’s a certain smugness to my behavior that makes me unapproachable compared to even the most perverted of moe fans. Again, people can think whatever they want, but I don’t see how I can make it more clear that I am always open for discussion, even in cases where I’m not happy with the subject in question. Well, maybe not when reality hits me hard. During those times, I’m kind of cranky.