Monday, March 14, 2016

You want attention

I was looking at one of the Tumblr blogs I follow today and noticed several people were questioning this artist about why she uses so many tags.

"Do you tag the hell out of your art because you want as many people to see it as possible?" one of them asked, and a couple others seemed to think this was "attention-seeking" or whatever.

"Well yeah," she essentially replied; "I did this art and I want people to see it?"

It was striking to me how consistently people appeared to think that was a bad thing to do.

When did wanting attention become a thing we spin negatively?

Similarly, I just made (and am polishing the processing on) a new video for my asexuality channel, and one of the comments I dealt with several times was "you're doing this for attention." They portrayed this like seeking attention for the issue I want awareness raised on is somehow immature, weak, ridiculous, or indicative of a personal problem.

But, like, don't we . . . all want our ideas to be shared? When we create them and put them in a public place for the purpose of convincing or educating people, isn't it natural that we, uh, want them to get attention?

Of course, the people conflating "wants attention" with the content creator's supposed insecurity are looking for an excuse NOT to pay attention to said content. If they can make you look silly by implying or stating that you are trying to pry undeserved attention out of strangers on the Internet for your own gratification, they no longer have any responsibility to respect anything you say.

I've also had the occasional snotty comment from an online passerby suggesting my Internet presence is egotistical or indicative of self-obsession. (You know. Like, one every couple years or so. In a pile of daily e-mails and messages from people who liked some scrap of my content.) I'm aware that I say a LOT of stuff that very few people care about, and that I'm probably the only person who cares about all of it. I'm actually pretty baffled that anyone thinks making websites and blogs and YouTube channels about whatever interests ME on MY PERSONAL SPACES is a bizarre thing to do.

If the content isn't interesting to someone, I expect them to do the reasonable thing: Don't look at it.

I wouldn't go to the indexed episode descriptions and theory discussions of a television show I'm not interested in and announce publicly that no one cares about that thing (or that if they do, there's something wrong with them). I wouldn't look through the personal documents of someone who has nothing in common with me and scold them for how uninteresting they seem to me. I wouldn't go look at a place that's known for unprofessional, personal content like, say, someone's personal Twitter timeline or casually shared Goodreads book reviews just to POINT AND SQUAWK about how sometimes this person who writes dignified stuff in one venue behaves like a nerd elsewhere on the Internet.

What I truly do not understand about people who do this is what they even want. Do they just want people who make content that doesn't apply to them or interest them to stop making it? And are they so convinced, by their personal disinterest, of the utter uselessness of the content that they must make public statements asking others to cease creating it? Even if literally nobody but the person who made it cared, that would be a fine reason to make it, and the rest of us mature adults can just nod and smile and agree that this is not an issue for us because people making things we have no interest in does not affect us in any way.

I think, though, that the "SHE WANTS ATTENTION" nonsense isn't actually about the content. It's about trying to judge people because they're not the same as you. I'm not sure why someone feels superior if they, say, go to someone's Tumblr art blog and realize that they've drawn scads of pictures that nobody really liked or reblogged, and react to this by pointing and laughing about that person wanting attention and not getting it. They want to assign personality problems and fundamental flaws to people who are doing things they don't like or don't care about--perhaps because those people are enjoying themselves. I have a LOT of things to say and stuff I care about, and I'm pretty sure a personal website is a reasonable place to dump brain detritus even if some of it is old or weird or ridiculous or uninteresting to most people who don't know me, so I've always thought it's . . . just kind of puzzling and sad when people write to me to shame me for making it or paint me as an egomaniac because I make online content cataloging the goofy stuff I think about.

There's this X button in the corner of your browser for things you don't want to give your precious attention to. No one is demanding that you spend that attention on things you don't wish to. Opining that people should stop making content that isn't tailored to what you want to see is an awful lot more bafflingly selfish and egotistical than any extensively tagged art blog or awareness campaign could be.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree. What's so bad about being honest and wanting attention? When we get compliments, we're expected to be modest and act like we think little of ourselves. When we have a problem we're expected not to talk about it and ask for help (especially pertaining to mental health).

    It's about time we stopped judging others for asking for something that's natural for many to want.