Mo Money, Mo Kittens

In the 2009 and 2013 Sask NDP leadership races, I was *very* opinionated and that often left me at cross-purposes, as an active member of Ryan’s team but also as a  blogger/Facebooker/Tweeter with my own thoughts, opinions and ego who didn’t mind getting into discussions and sharing my observations – respectful, heated or otherwise – with others online whether they were Sask NDP supporters, Sask Party supporters or just random folks chiming in.

But now, for a variety of reasons, I’m less directly involved in Ryan’s campaign but also way more conscious of not posting anything that might be taken as an attack (compare with my personal mantra during the 2013 race: “Facts are not attacks!”) either on my blog or on Facebook or Twitter.

* I really want to win this race and I still remember, after one of my Twitter fights near the end of the last race in 2013, a top Meili campaign person admonished me: “What are you doing?  What if we lose the race at this late point because of that kind of stuff?”  I retorted that if we lost at that point in the race, me having a Twitter fight with some random dude is the least of our problems and there’ll be a zillion other reasons we lost.  But in the end, it turns out there were 44 reasons we lost but I always felt guilty that “Jason gets into needless Twitter fights” was possibly #45. 🙁

* With rare exceptions, I think it happens with all of us as we get older and mellower when “rawr!” is less likely to be our first reaction to something we don’t agree with. So I see stuff I don’t like and I just go “Oh well” in my head and move on with my day.  Maybe if I’m *really* worked up about it, I’ll go and sell a membership or solicit some donations too!

* I’ve discovered the beauty of having a “cut board” file on my computer.  Now, as well as a wealth of unpublished blog posts which aren’t even really aggressive but being held back just in case something I say might make someone a smidgen less likely to vote for Ryan, I’ve come up with a very creative outlet for my anger – I still type the Facebook comment/Twitter reply but instead of hitting “Post”, I just copy it into my “cut board” file.  Sure, it’s 872 pages long and my computer’s actually noticeably slowed down but still better than putting it out there!  (And if I feel I absolutely must share something, I just send it in a private message to the Meili campaign person who admonished me for public attacks in 2013!) 😉

* That’s actually another point I haven’t considered much about my lack of participation but after being a big true believer of social media in the past (and I still am in many ways) I’ve also soured when I see how easy it is to attack another person from behind a keyboard (and conversely, how many people assume the worst when someone has a different opinion or tries to clarify a misunderstanding) and how polarized we’ve become generally, even with people we’re supposed to be on the same team with. (I have an example of how my thinking on the role of social media comments has shifted but since it involves some behind-the-scenes approaches of the Meili social media team, I’m not even going to share that right now!)

* I’ve realised that most of the attacking/petty/frustrated comments are most likely to come out when a candidate’s supporters feel they’re losing or have had some bad news about a poll or fundraising totals or whatever.

* There’s always a chance you’ll meet (and might even like) the people you’ve argued with online in person.  That happened at the Sask NDP convention in 2013.  I ended up briefly sitting at a table with Erin Weir and he introduced me to another gentleman at the table – who turned out to be someone I’d had a heated argument with online! 🙂

* There was a day when I would’ve even made sure to tag the subject line of this post with #skpoli and #skndpldr to get some extra views even though this post is really nothing more than my own personal navel-gazing.  But I don’t sell ads on this blog and part of the reason for that is that I’ve realised I don’t really care about the eyeballs I get or don’t get.  During the library cuts, I wrote multiple posts that got thousands of hits and although I’d never actively tried to reach a massive audience with my blog, I’d previously only had one post hit that level of virality.  So I guess the library cuts had one important takeaway on a personal level – when I’m focused enough and passionate enough, I can write things that thousands of people all across Canada will want to read and if I need the dopamine rush of seeing my stats tick up, I don’t have to try every little trick to boost my stats.  Instead, I just have to write something compelling, timely and shareable.

This isn’t that post but anyhow, here’s some more kittens…

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