Monday 22 September 2014

One small click for man...

I've been thinking about activism, clicktavism, campaigning and polls. As usual, a series of fragmented occurences all collided together in the space of 5 days and my brain wouldn't stop making leaps. That my brain is finally in a state to make leaps is a cause for celebration in itself...

13 months ago, I could do all three Metro Su Doku's in the time it took me to get from home to work on the tube including changes, approximately 35-45 minutes. 12 months ago I couldn't do the simplest Su Doku. 13 months ago, I could do the giant Su Doku published every Saturday in The Times in well under the time posted. 12 months ago, I couldn't do one fifth of it in the time posted. I said that when I could do it within the time once again, I would know I was well enough to go back to work. What I didn't know a year ago but know now is that whilst mental quickness and fluidity is a good indicator of the minds wellness, other factors would come into play. Like my knee dislocating backwards and sideways, and ankles so weak I literally sprained my ankle in socks on the kitchen floor.

So with this as the background, and apologies if some of the words come out in the wrong order...

On Thursday 85% of Scotlands population, much much less of a population than the one contained within England and therefore a number far more impressive in some ways, voted on a referendum.  This required them to do something offline and in meatspace. As commentators flustered and flurried to try and get a handle on sentiment being expressed in the online world, the true headline making was happening in a truly old fashioned way - through marking a cross in a box.

On Friday, St Georges Square in Glasgow became a little of a flashpoint as those who were already looking for aggro seized on issue of the day and held it aloft as a reason to continue to be idiots.

On Saturday, the majority of Glasgow united, beneath Saltires and Pride flags to donate money to those less well off, and to express their distaste for the events of the previous evening.

Both of those things also happened offline. No donations to Just Giving pages for the Glaswegians and no online trolling for them.

Yesterday I spent 30 minutes answering questions on politics within a online survey presented to me through the Toluna service. For the first time in my entire life, I was asked questions on what I thought, about leaders, about parties and about politics. I gave the time gladly (it was quite a Liberal Democrat swayed survey and it asked a lot of questions about my opinion on their policies and how they might sway my vote or not) not because I am a Liberal Democrat supporter, but because they bothered to ask. No one, not a single person from any political party, has ever asked me how I intend to vote. I'd not tell them if they asked me face to face. But I will happily answer the questions when it's part of an anonymised online survey.

Today, I clicked Like on the Labour Party Facebook page.

I have grown up online. But I have also grown up offline. Inevitably this is so and I am no longer unuusal, not in the way I was 20 years ago. My politics have grown from complete disinterest to complete frustration and disbelief through to...

Now. Where I click Like on the Labour Party Facebook page. It was just a click. Well, a tap actually, I don't use mice any more. Outdated terminiology for an outdated tech? Etymology aside though, clicktavism is dismissed. It doesn't mean anything to click a button. It doesn't require any thought.

Except I've never clicked that Like button before. I chose to do it today. I knew about the existence of the Labour Party before today. I knew about the existence of Facebook today. But I only chose to action something today.

And honestly, it was the events of the previous 4 days which led to me tapping that button. A perfect storm, an alignment of planets...or just reality, which was a well considered, long considered, deeply thought through assessment of where this country is, where it isn't and where I want it to be. I don't want to change the world any more. I don't have the energy, or the brain, or the heart, or the fire right now and it's quite possible I never will. But instead of disengaging me, that's changed me, and I think for the better. I used to think that to change the world you needed to be alone. Now I think, and I'm afraid the Scottish people have taught me this over the past few days, I think we're better together. Not in terms of acountry, not in terms of an economy - my thoughts on thaat arenot for public broadcast I don't think.

But in terms of campagins, change, voice, noise, debate, discussion, learning, policy?

I don't want to be alone any more. I want to go and spend some time with people who I think might think and feel the same way I do. I don't know for sure. I'm not joining anything, I'm not paying anything, I'm not signing anything.

I'm just clicking Like on a Facebook page. But to me that one little action is as seizmic in its representation of a change of my attitude as the crosses in boxes which were ade last Thursday.

You see...we live in world where the smallest of actins make the loudest of noises. Click, click.

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