Never Say Never Again: Experiencing Cancelling

Smarting somewhat after making a comment about why I liked a particular movie on a social and experiencing a very small negative pile on. Up until now my experiences with socials have been positive — I never experienced any pile ons or being declared ‘wrong’ in such a dismissive or public way. Friends and I have disagreed online occasionally, but well.

Whilst the naughty, confrontational part of me wants to smile back ‘ sexist misogynistic dinosaurs, relics of the Cold War’ or word bomb with ‘well given my experience here clearly the next Bond should be a black or brown woman!’ just to hear the screams of fury and keyboards burning, this minor thing in the scheme of things has taught me a few things about online comms and behaviour.

  1. Social isn’t social. Unlike face to face conversations, there is no tone, nuance or body language (unless people are kind enough to insert emojis/gifs/memes). Instead it feels like someone has got right up in your face in a pub and is either shouting or ranting at you (even if there are no caps). It’s easy to read as rude and insulting when someone disagrees with you and immediately take offence; when it’s my viewpoint, my opinion they’re disagreeing with, not me personally. Instead of feeling social, I think the worst and feel offended!
  2. It feels/seems much more personal than it is — because the socials are a presentation of self. I IMHO therefore I am. In reality a very few vocal people (about 3–6 in the whole universe) have disagreed with what I said, not me as a person.
  3. A man pile-on against a woman somehow feels worse — but again this is down to points 1 and 2 — it feels very personal and emotional, but it isn’t. I hope it’s my expressed view they were piling on and not me as a female view expresser, but on socials, it’s hard to tell. This could just be banter culture coming into the mix — but again, no tone or social cues to help me out.
  4. The bluntness is rude — ‘wrong’ is a bit childish, though it may have been said in a blokey, jokey tone when typed. But socials do not encourage nuance, just extremes of like/dislike — a kinder, more discursive, more inclusive and mature online community would, as in real life, ask ‘ why do you say/think/feel that?’ ‘how do you think that applies?’, ‘I disagree and personally think that view is heinous — but what do you mean when you say x, y or z?’ or ‘that’s a unique way of seeing things, tell us more first-time poster?!’ Instead I got ‘it’s not’ and ‘wrong’….
  5. But this is what online does — it encourages directness, loses the nuances of speech and the fillers.
  6. Negative/positive framing — the likes are positive, the disagreements with my view (not me) have left me feel negative, disgruntled and a bit discouraged/dismissed, just because it was all and only disagreement coming back at me (my comment, not me personally). Online makes things feel personal and yet, really it’s so small in the scheme of things?!!!! (3 commenters, who got a like each — they could have been liking their own comments). Live and let die surely?!!!
  7. Vanity — the negative/disagreeing comments have left me feeling skewered like lamb — in reality it’s 3–6 vocal online people (or indeed bots) out of thousands or millions. Socials encourage me to like those likes or hearts, and despair when they don’t — none of this is worth it, At the end of the day I’m being disagreed with over a comment about why I liked a particular Bond movie and how I view it — in the scheme of things, given all that’s going on it the world, really?!!!!
  8. Lack of nuance — as well as not encouraging nuanced online convos, or debates/discussions — my comment probably wasn’t nuanced. Having compared Quantum of Solace to an art movie (in terms of look a lot of the time, cinematography, the slow mo through the opera and kitchens etc) I wasn’t very nuanced seeking to link to particular scenes/looks/shooting styles. My bigger point about the way women were treated in the movie was missed by the responders (and my positives), because a very few individuals saw the word ‘art’ and red mist descended, or they disagreed — end of.
  9. The overall lack of social connection makes disagreement feel worse and stronger, more personal than it is. (Though I am sympathizing with those who get vicious online comments and threats, or just comments by the millions). These guys have views, so do I — none of us know each other. We can’t see each other’s expressions or hear each other’s words. That’s the irony of socials — most of my real life friends lurk on socials or don’t use them, making it entirely unsocial, and therefore we’re interacting with people we don’t know or think we know because we’ve seen them on a screen or in public in some capacity or share a common interest with a group, on something that is meant to bring people closer together.
  10. Even if someone is ‘wrong’ IYHO, is shutting them down really the best way? It’s the first time I’ve commented on the Bond Experience and after this experience, well, I won’t again. Though given the topic, defending the allegedly ‘bad’ Bond movies, perhaps the following for this is going to be more angry and heated anyway or some people have VIEWS. Never mention Quantum and art movie to ardent Bond fans in the same sentence — a very few get angry (it appears in typing) and dismissive!
  11. Online experience — the 99.9% of my online comms (and I don’t say much very often) are incredibly positive and funny. This reaction (though from a very vocal few) and against my opinion, not me, has given me a bad opinion of the Bond Experience followers or styled community overall, which is a shame because the Bond Experience himself appears to be charming and polite (and respectful of women, even if he thinks they hold crazy movie views, or have appallingly mentioned the word art with Bond in the same sentence). Given that he went on to defend poor beleaguered Quantum too — well we stand together, ready to die another day on this hill!
  12. It was my first time of commenting on this site — it’s put me off entirely. Though this is a strong view because they were reacting to my view, and not me. Online does strange distorting things of making you feel worse about 3 comments than is really necessary. Again in the scheme of things, a very few Bond movie fans have disagreed with my comment! and shown themselves up online by not being very kind in the way they disagreed.
  13. I want to be positive and kind, in person and online. I don’t want to be that discourager of someone posting for the first time by online jumping on them and demolishing their views, even if I disagree with them heartily. I think there are better and more effective ways of disagreeing than declaring someone wrong! and seeking to bash anything that’s been said. I also want to speak up if I see a pile on again as it’s not kind — several disagreeing comments may discourage anyone from saying anything different or indeed ‘speaking’/posting at all in a thread. Even in disagreeing with each other, it can still be done with love.
  14. In speaking to me in this way online, debate/discussion has died — there’s no point in me saying anything back to defend my view or deleting my comment. Dead end. And surely this is no time to die?
  15. Socials don’t allow for deep discussion or really any discussion — by their nature they encourage point scoring.
  16. Time zones may play a part — my posting time may just have captured the attention of angry vocal Bondians at the wrong or right time.
  17. One vocal disagreeing (or negative/harsh comment) may encourage others to join/pile in — even online I think we need to be careful how we speak to each other because of the example we set for others, in pack/herd mentalities.
  18. Let it go and having a word with myself! cos the online world is not enough! I’m going to make like Frozen and let it go — I’m not going to delete my comment, because women speaking in a male dominated world is important. I also think whoever monitors the Bond Experience socials needs to see how their followers behave. It was, at the end of the day, my view being rubbished and not me — though because it was a male pile-on, it is easy to see it as the return of the sexist dinosaurs, and as a woman to feel a bi stupid and vulnerable for saying anything at all. It’s just my ego that’s been skewered and not me myself. Taking my ego out of the equation…..But it is a male dominated space so….(and part of me does wonder how much certain male Bond fans are used to hearing women speak or express ideas (and really want us just to don the bikini and shake — not stir — the Martini?!!) Another commentator on this particular Bond Experience had been jokily shown reading a 1960s Playboy before — really?!!!
  19. Bond should be definitely be a brown or black Bond in the new film — a) to give a wider range of voices and experiences b) plays into the outsiderness of Bond as envisaged by Fleming c) shake up the community that has perhaps become too comfortable in the old ways being the best! (Hear the online screaming!!!! and I didn’t even add the word woman into the mix).

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Susan Tailby

Susan Tailby

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By Susan Tailby. Appreciator of arts and culture; things I've seen and enjoyed and you might too! Reviews all my own opinion....