I wrote a while ago why I was coming off twitter. You can read my reasons here. But amongst them was the regular call to say something about things other people had decided I should say something about. Often, I didn’t say anything about those things. Here are a bunch of reasons why that might well have been.
I don’t know anything about it
We live in a world where admitting this is seen as a problem. But I have never thought it a great idea to write about stuff you know absolutely nothing about. I mean, I already flirt with that enough writing this blog. But I try to keep it to stuff I have observed, have formed some sort of opinion on based on actual things I ma aware of or it is an issue I do know something about. But often, I don’t say anything because I just don’t know anything about the thing. What people usually mean is, say what I think publicly and loudly. But if I don’t know anything about it, I’m not going to say anything about it. It really is that simple.
I know what I think, but it will upset everyone
Sometimes I do know something about the thing. Or, I have at least formed a personal opinion on the thing. But I am convinced my personal opinion will either need so much nuance to be heard properly that I can’t write anything succinct enough for anyone to bother reading it or I will manage to nuance everything and upset all sides in the process. Sometimes, I know that what people are saying on both sides is either wrong or not sufficiently nuanced. I similarly know, if I try to offer my two penneth, both sides will go at me. Sometimes, whatever you say will be taken wrongly, twisted, taken out of context or just not read as intended. You may well know whatever you say will invite scorn because people have already formed entrenched positions into which nuance and alternative views are not welcome. Sometimes it isn’t worth inviting that upon yourself, so I keep my opinion to myself.
Not as important as some say
Sometimes it is right to speak on something important, even if it might get a bit of backlash. Usually, I need to know something about the kind of thing that’ll do that before I will take that on. Nevertheless, it might be right to do so sometimes. But much of the time, I just don’t think the thing is as important as some people are insisting it is. It might be something I could speak about, I just don’t think it is important enough to do so and don’t think it important enough to speak knowing the backlash that will come. Sometimes it is right to face it for the sake of an important matter, but most things are not as important as the people insisting you say something say it is.
Maybe I’m not interested
Sometimes, a bunch of people might be het up and mad about the latest thing they have deemed vital or disgusting or amazing or whatever. They may think everyone else should be similarly interested. Indeed, they may think bloggers should all be writing about it and even come and say so. To those people I say, start your own blog. Perhaps write up your own thoughts on this vital/disgusting/amazing thing. It’s just I don’t think it is any of those things. In fact, I’m just not that interested in it. Okay, so you think I must be interested in it. I will be complicit if I’m not both interested and willing to speak out. I will be ignoring something essential if I don’t say something. Fine. But I’m not interested. So, I say nothing about it.
I am finite
Maybe a thing is important and would be worth saying something about. The problem is, there are lots of potentially important things worth saying something about. As a finite individual, I cannot write about them all. More to the point, few people stop to think about the cumulative effect of encouraging people to speak out on matters that will come with serious opprobrium from certain quarters. Someone might speak out and be willing to endure such things once, they might even have capacity to do it a few times, but there aren’t many people built to withstand heavy and continual criticism, day in-day out, because they keep speaking about matters that will unquestionably come with censure. That is both draining and waring. Yet it seems those who continually ask people to speak rarely think about it or if they do they don’t really care. Being finite, I am not built to be a lightning rod for continual, non-stop aggressive criticism. So, I may choose not to speak so as to limit it. There is only so much controversy one person can wear.
I, frankly, object to being told what to say or think
Here’s the thing, I might even agree with you. But if you force me to write about stuff just because you think it, I almost certainly won’t write it. If I ask you for input about what to write, that is fair enough. If you are gently offering a suggestion, I might well think about it. But I have never taken kindly to people insisting I must write this or that. Turns out, I don’t have to write anything. The particular joy of a blog is you can publish literally whatever thoughts you want. Also turns out I only want to publish what I want to write, not necessarily what you want me to write. And I definitely don’t want to publish something because you say I must. It will almost certainly make me NOT write what you ask.
So, there are a bunch of reasons I didn’t say anything about that thing you wish I’d said something about. Sometimes all of these things are at play at once. Sometimes, it’s one or two of them. But if I didn’t say anything, it was probably down to one of these.