Lately in my social media excursions, forum conversations, and general Tumblring, I’ve noticed more than I usually do this constant need for attention from people. Some of it was a person clamoring for my attention (which actually got me a few more youtube views. I really should do a new video soon) and some of it was watching others clamor for another person’s attention.
I hope senpai will notice me is a meme, but basically it’s thrown around these days in it’s original meme context, but also in a derogatory way to simply say “you’re just doing it for attention”.
On social media, but mostly Tumblr, this has never been more true. As of late, I’ve witnessed quite a scene unfold in one of the smaller Tumblr communities. I will not bore you with the details of the community, but suffice to say it is a reactionary movement. It sprung up as a sort of opposition to the extremism found in modern social justice movements.
In this particular community, someone was singled out and mocked. During this week or so, people came to the person’s defense, and they too were mocked. Some learned how stupid and childish they had been, and realized the reactionary movement they had been drawn into actually does more harm than good, and they decided to leave the movement and be better people. These people found that removing themselves from the constant fighting over trivial bullshit (such as arguments about sexless, genderless, raceless shapeshifting space rocks as well as magical ponies) and just enjoying their time online by looking at things they actually enjoy and like, they were far less stressed, and overall happier people.
Well, some of the people who left this “movement” were rather popular bloggers on Tumblr. They were always the ones who were tag-teamed in to take over when a person could not continue an argument (usually because the person involved had no idea what they were even talking about to begin with). But now that they had removed themselves from the “discourse”, others began vying for the top of the billing to replace them. One person in particular went above and beyond, going into people’s inboxes and sending anonymous hate to start up trouble, while another person went around tagging a user who was already dealing with a horrible situation – just to stir up trouble and look like a “good guy”. All so they could get the attention of ONE person. Mind you, the ONE person who’s attention they were trying to get is a 23 year old adult who spends the better part of his day arguing with teenagers about My Little Pony and Steven Universe, and not just on Tumblr either. And the 2 who went around trying to cause trouble in order to look like the “good guy”, are 18 and 19 respectively. All adults. Who choose to spend their free time fighting over cartoons and issues they know little to nothing about and who berate and punish those who either don’t agree, or who are in the community but express a differing opinion – no matter how slight a difference it is.
In the course of trying to get this person’s attention, these 2 individuals in particular directly caused the doxxing of one girl who otherwise would have been left alone had she not been tagged into an argument, and the other dragging everyone under the bus with her because no one was going to take her seriously because she is a well known drama queen and hypocrite. Drawing out what would have lasted maybe a week into now I believe week 3 of drama and discourse.
But this kind of behavior is not limited to the social media blogging site Tumblr. And not just to people and situations that are observed from the outside. Last week on Facebook, an individual I crossed keyboards with last March, tried once again to catch my attention. Mentioning me and my videos directly in her nonsensical rant about how the pagan community is secretly being taken over and, if I believe I’ve read the context of the word salad correctly, there is already a Ministry of Magic that is taking people to Azkaban? Honestly, it was very hard to read her Facebook post. But this wasn’t the first attempt to get my attention. It was maybe the third? I know of one other at least, that a friend told me about. Some sort of picture proving she and another individual were, in fact, 2 different people. (This stems from the situation in March when not only myself, but MANY OTHERS, noticed that she and this other individual were NEVER around at the same time, and had the exact same reactions to every single thing. Same typos, same everything. So people began to suspect that the 2 people were really 1 person pretending to be 2. We now know, long after the picture was first posted.)
Regardless, against my better judgement, I did respond this time to the attempt to grab my attention. I was polite and civil. I thanked them for the publicity of my videos, I pointed out how i had done my best to avoid them, their friends, and anything they were directly associated with. I even went so far as to wish them, their friends, and their endeavors luck in the future. I mean, I’ll post a screen capture of my response here as well. I honestly do wish them the best, but also wish to be kept out of the drama that follows them around like a plague. I also have held true to my word that I have not been back to the woman’s Facebook page ever since. (Though that has not stopped anyone else from driving by to throw popcorn and watch the drama unfold.)
But this brings me to wonder, why do people crave attention from strangers so badly? What is it about anonymous praise that drives an individual to extreme lengths just to get one specific person’s attention? Once a person has proven themselves, why turn around and continue to prove yourself when there is nothing left that is needed to be proven? These people do these things almost like it is an addiction. When they go unnoticed, their behaviors get more and more bold, more and more extreme. With little regard to themselves or others that get caught in the middle along the way.
To give them this attention will only reinforce the behavior, but to not give them the attention will only push them to more dangerous extremes. And this isn’t even for important issues, or trying to draw attention to overlooked and under-reported causes. No, these kinds of people thrive off attention, even negative, and will argue about children’s cartoons or conflate legitimate spiritual beliefs with works of fiction – just to get a specific individual’s attention.