Richard Armitage (RA) in Real Life! But is he real in Cyber-life?
Richard Armitage’s foray into the blogging world has ignited a virtual firestorm of posts in the blogosphere. I’ve read some really interesting ones. For example, Nowhere in ParticularRA, GuyltyPleasure, RAFrenzy. Here is my humble contribution to the conflagration.
First I will summarize what I think Richard Armitage said here in his post on The Cybersmile Foundation blog. Cybersmile says Armitage’s post is “an exclusive insight into thoughts on social media use in our ever-digital society”. So, it is Richard’s thoughts on social media use. I think his thoughts as expressed in his post are not particularly easy to follow, more stream of consciousness, but I also think the overall message is clear:
Be aware that someone, a human being, is reading what you wrote online. He, whom we often call “RA” online, is actually a real person. All of us who participate in social media, whether from Texas or China or wherever, are human. We like different music, art, speak different languages, eat different food, have different levels of education. So how does one communicate freely without making others feel bad? “Watch the destination of our words”. That is, no matter what your background, we are all human.
In other words, I think he is saying – Look, I am an actor, I want to use social media like other people, but the level of negative comments made about me and towards my fans by others is disturbing and unnecessary. It makes me think about how horrible it was in my younger days when I felt like people were laughing behind my back. I don’t want to feel like that when I’m using social media. I want it to be a comfortable place for everyone to be able to have fun and share. While some people are just deliberately being disruptive and antagonistic for fun (block and mute) there are some who don’t realize that what they are writing is being read by others and they need to be careful in what they say and how they say it. It’s not always what you say, it’s often how you say it. (Use the dictionary!)
Sorry, Mr. Armitage, if this is not what you meant! But anyway, it’s what I got out of it, and I think it’s very wise and a good message for all of us.
I myself would go a step further. I think some people enjoy criticizing a little too much. It’s not really necessary to point out someone’s flaws or mistakes online. It’s hurtful to the person it’s directed at and what’s the point, really? And I say this as someone who has done it myself, so mea culpa. There is always room for alternate view points and correcting someone’s errors. I have made errors here and on Twitter, and when they were pointed out to me I was grateful and corrected them. But to be sarcastic and accusing is never necessary.
Which brings me to why the heck do we get so crazy about things in the fandom? Wow. I am a really nice person in real life and I get along with just about everyone, but here, I feel like I’ve alienated people and there are factions, and I’ve been mean and people have been mean to me and I’ve blocked people and they’ve blocked me. I mean, why? Over what, really? Just the other day a post got me so angry I wanted to smack the person in the head. That is really not like me at all. I don’t know why I’ve given one person so much power that she has prevented me (in my head) from feeling comfortable blogging because I’m afraid of her. Yes, Richard Armitage, there are others of us who also felt that people were talking and laughing about them behind our backs when we were kids. It’s a really bad feeling. I know it well.
I hope that Richard Armitage continues to share his journey with us online and isn’t discouraged by the negativity that, despite his best efforts to control, I’m sure will continue. I am so happy that he showed he cared and that he is concerned. I love the fact that he tweets and I look forward to his tweets anxiously.
Mr. Armitage, in case you are reading this, you are a unique, lovely, funny guy and you bring joy to many people by sharing your life with us through acting and, yes, through social media. Please don’t stop.
Love who you are.