Finite space. You would think the Internet has finite space, the way we all clamor to be recognized, included, seen.
For years, my friend, Alli Worthington, has been standing before crowds of women and assuring them that blogging, social media, is not a zero-sum game. After hearing her say it for years and understanding the spirit if not the letter, I finally looked up the actual origin of the phrase.
Five gamer and economic sites later, I am clear that a zero-sum game is where the gain of one player is offset by the loss of another player, equaling the sum of zero. The net change in total wealth among participants is zero; the wealth is just shifted from one to another. In other words, the gains available are finite. One has to lose for another to win.
In social media terms, what Alli was saying is that attention and opportunity is not finite. The success of others is not dependent on your own failure. There is room for everyone. Let’s try to be supportive during the long climb.
But we have a tendency to forget that.
After Bad Mothers. They’re Everywhere., I said I was going to write about the Good Father movement. No sooner had I hit publish than I began to receive emails from dad bloggers requesting that I let them know when the new piece published because they had a response.
A response to what, man? I haven’t even written it, yet.
Then Babble published their Top 50 Twitter Moms and some dads freaked out that they weren’t included. Then Babble published their Top 50 Dad Bloggers and some dads freaked out that they didn’t get it right.
Sigh. And I haven’t forgotten that often the women are worse.
I am over it.
Alli started the “I Am Project,” inviting us to finish that statement with a photo. Scribble “I Am…” on a piece of paper, finish the thought, take a photo with it next to your lovely face, and share.
All I could think was, “I am over it.”
I couldn’t even finish a thought before people were scrambling for position. Going on the defense, or maybe even offense, before they knew to what they were responding. Worse? I wasn’t even surprised.
I am asking one thing of you: Stand down. We are in this together. We don’t have to hug, for crying out loud, but stop with the jostling for position. All of us. Stand down.
You are hearing things that aren’t even being said. People are hearing things that you aren’t even saying. We are all poised to pounce all. the. freaking. time.
Two quotes are on my phone’s to-do list right now. I don’t know how to use my phone properly so everything I think of goes in there. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but now it’s obvious. I am sharing them with you. Their power will multiply once I share them, not disappear from my hands.
Interpret them as you will. And do join in.
The point isn’t to win, it’s to join in.
The circus arrives without warning.
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
*photo is me with a photo of my daughter plastered on my forehead, altered quote from I Am the Walrus.
Goo goo ga joob.