The Big(ger) Picture

When thinking of the big picture, there’s so much that comes to mind for me. Especially because there’s been a lot of stuff going on with the guild, with my life, with recruitment, with friendships, with everything and I’m not always flawless at keeping the lines drawn between all of these things. Every now and again there’s a small thing that comes up and I take the opportunity to seize it. But I’m editorializing, or some such.

The internet at large knows that I am a feminist. I’m not only a feminist, but I’m someone who continues to have conversations about what my experiences have been like, and the stories that have been told to me. I talk about why it’s still a problem and engage in conversations about how and why it should be better. When Brianna Melina sent me a tweet some 30-ish hours ago, I was fielding her request in the same way I do with a lot of random people who tweet me out of the blue. Shifty eyes and a sideways glance. She asked me to do a survey for a research project. She admitted that she wasn’t a bot soliciting anything and just an exhausted graduate student. So I went through and read all the stuff on her survey. And then I proceeded to take the survey. It took me roughly a half hour, but I completely and entirely admit that I was leveling my little teeny gnome DK at the time (or running around bitching and moaning about blacksmithing materials at least).

What came next is still something that floors me. I am in awe of the internet. As much as I hate trolls and people who intentionally grief others. As much as I hate how easy it is to spread hate and be vile and be malicious toward other people. As much as I hate how the internet is a tool for fuckwits and asshats to band together and be a bigger group of fuckwits and asshats, I have to admit that this time it left me pretty in awe of its power.

I’ve seen it happen in the past. I watched the internet devour people like festering rats. I’ve watched it seek out their prey and stalk and kill them, online in virtual space. I’ve seen them chase good people off the internet. I’ve watched as the masses of misogynistic men chase feminist after feminist into hiding out of fear, after countless rape, violence, and death threats are tossed their way. This is a different kind of viral, though.

Over the last 30 hours I’ve watched my one tweet spread across the internet. I’ve watched as people ask me questions (at which point I kindly point them to Brianna’s twitter account). I explain that while it wasn’t intentional to not include her in the initial tweet (and oversight), I never once let people believe it was my research project. But when good questions came through, such as whether a transgendered woman could participate or if it included tabletop games or specifically video games, I let them know that I would let Brianna know and she would be the one to answer the question.

Never have I seen a tweet of mine be sent all over the internet like that. I know it’s done. I know it happens. I see the favorites rack up for Nathan Fillion’s tweets, Wil Wheaton’s tweets, or Felicia Day’s tweets. It never occurred to me that it would be a tweet I wrote that went across the globe. It made me wish I had a way to track the degrees of separation the tweet traveled. Who did you get it from and who saw it from your retweet, that sort of thing. 695 retweets (as of writing this).

Brianna has since posted an update and the number of responses she’s gotten has been astounding! And I continue to get Tweetbot notifications that it’s being retweeted.

The conversation is still being had out there. It’s still one that women are wanting to discuss, either openly or behind anonymity. It’s one that continues to be had across the internet. I know that I have a good number of followers in the WoW community on twitter. I try hard to stay engaged in conversations and make lasting friendships with people. I care about the people I talk to and get to know on a weirdly personal level. I’m sad when I lose friendships and I rejoice in the milestones of others. I make gifts for folks. I buy things from others. I share aspects of myself and my life on twitter. I am a real person there, as are many, MANY other people. The influx of new followers (over 30! holy crap!) is leaving me feeling a little bit scared and camera shy, so to speak.

When I posted that initial tweet I expected it to be retweeted probably 10-15 times and I might get Brianna 10-20 responses. I never, in my wildest dreams, expected her to get over 1500 responses from all over the world. To get strangers asking me questions and letting me know they were interested in the research. Research I now wish I could be a more active part of, because damn, how awesome is it going to be to run statistical analysis on the answers!

I had never gotten a tweet from her before and on the one hand I’m apologetic to her for the attention she’s getting as a result of the one tweet. On the other hand I know that the more responses she gets, the better her data will be, so I’m glad to have been a part of it.

If you haven’t had a chance to take the survey, considering doing so. There’s only a few stipulations. You need to identify as a woman and be 25 years or older.

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