PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Icons & Avatars & Ireland, Oh My!

Well, let me say thanks again on the icon suggestions. I'm still mulling.

Interestingly, or ironically, enough, I was alerted to a thread on Ravelry called "Creepy Avatars" and mine (which is the pink photo of me up there on the right) was called out by a woman who wrote: "I’ve only seen one avatar that really creeped me out. It is a depiction of a woman in sunglasses, on a pink background, and it looks like she is screaming. Why would one represent themselves that way? I am certain she/he is not that awful – knitters are great people!"

She didn't even bother to figure out that, uh, it's a picture of ME.

You callin' me ugly, bitch?

(Sorry, you can't hear me laughing. It's high-pitched and asthmatic, that's how funny it is to me.)

At first, I just came into the room and said, Yo, homes, I know what you're saying about me, it's ME, and it's who I am, and a few people even said that they liked my avatar. Well, I woke up this morning (and yes, James, I hear you singing the Sopranos theme from over here) and I read an email from Beth, about how unnecessary it is to have these conversations that border on mean-spiritedness, and I decided to address it. After all, I'd gotten up at 5:30, drove through snowy roads to get here to call Ireland media companies, and they were still all AT LUNCH. At 2 in the afternoon there.

(Don't worry, I'll come back to Ireland.)

Here's what I wrote:

Everything’s subjective…. and I guess that’s why I don’t draw my conclusions about a person from simply one tiny square on a screen. Must say, this thread seems like a springboard for “bash a Raveler” all based on one tiny piece of a person’s contribution and existence here at Ravelry. Without trying to fan flames, let me say this: I think it’s one thing to say “I don’t like solo body parts” or “Feet freak me out” or to discuss the whys and why-nots of using your face, child, pet, etc. - but to call out individual people for their avatars? - well, as one of those people, I’ll just say it feels a little high-school petty. But, that’s the internet for you. I tend to forget that even though we’re all knitters/crocheters and I expect a certain degree of commonality and assume a level of trust - we’re still all very diverse, and not everyone’s going to agree, or even be tactful or nice about what they say or put out there. So, if “creepy” it is for a few people, well, they’re ultimately the ones who are missing out - but I’m also not going to run and change my avatar or not let you know I’m aware of the pettiness. I’m almost 40. Too old for putting mean notes in lockers.

Personally, I like to amass a whole bunch of information before I determine someone is or isn’t to my “liking” and even then, there’s room for discourse, if that’s what you want. Of course, the fact that my avatar got nominated for “Funniest Avatar” on Ravelry (and even got more than one vote! though clearly not the winner, which is fine, I’m busy & acceptance speeches take so much time) reminds me that for me - just like in real life - for every person that dislikes me? There are ten more who actually really like me, enjoy me, and have taken the time to get to know me. Being judgmental is the easiest and hardest thing to do - it’s easy to leap to conclusions and make up your mind because then you have something concrete to believe - but I also say it’s hard, because you have to live within such narrow confines and limitations. And you miss out on a lot. Like, say, laughing with me. ;)

End of post. Bizzitchslap! Actually, that's a far cry from a slap in my book. It's much easier to read the message if you're not being brutal or mean, and that was my goal. Gently pointing out that there are people behind every single glowing screen. I wanted to throw in a "Judge not, lest you be judged" but I don't quote the Bible well, and it felt a little more heavy-handed than I wanted to end with.

The benefits of the internet far outweigh the drawbacks, this I do believe. It just stinks that people who would never dream of taking a crap in the middle of your living room have no problem doing it virtually. I really don't try to edit myself too much - virtually or online - and I save my explosive, most bombastic tirades for my closest friends and James. Lucky them!

So, Ireland? Yeah! We're buying some media there, and I've been straddling the time zone differential to get in touch with salespeople, in a really short amount of time. It's been fun, although challenging not to immediately adopt the accent while I'm on the phone. I love the over-use of the word "brilliant" - they like to say it the way we say "cool" or "good", and the big laugh of the day yesterday was when Kristin IM'd me that I should start shouting really loudly when I introduce myself as CALLING FROM THE UNITED STATES. Because you know, it's a long way away.

Take a look at the size of my mouth though. I could do it. Brilliantly!
posted by PlazaJen, 11:38 AM