Disengage

There’s a lot going on in ELT these days. Particularly if you inhabit the corner of ELT-internet where I’ve been known to hang out. People have been bashing each other’s opinions, theories, haircuts, methodologies, whatever – and that’s fine. Let them at it I say, just keep doing your own thing – get what you get from your PLN and filter the noise.

That’s becoming more difficult. We lost a couple of people this week who have switched off Twitter or gone dark for a while because the noise has become unbearable. And the noise seems to be mostly about “X said this, but didn’t respond to my point about Y” or “I’ve written in 12 separate places why they are wrong, but they haven’t refuted a single thing – guess those losers have realised that I am the almighty and am right.. MWAHAHAHA.” Or something along those lines, either way, it’s tiresome.

What struck me, is that people seem to think they are owed a response by someone. That you can go comment on a blog or reply to a tweet and that the other person is now somehow, legally, physically, morally or otherwise obliged to respond to them. It’s a level of insanity that’s new for me. When they don’t get a response in 5 minutes, or an hour, or even any amount of time, this then becomes fodder for their campaign of persecution or whatever it is they’re at. It all just seems like a giant waste of time.

Anyway, as pointless as it may be, I just wanted to put a reminder here that NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING. Not a response. Not a debate. Not even to allow your comments appear on their work. You can scream and shout about STIFLED DEBATE, FREE SPEECH, MY RIGHT TO MY OPINION, and it won’t matter one little bit.

People have lives outside of your little internet bubble. Maybe they haven’t seen your comment yet. Maybe they have and deleted it because they hate you and all you stand for. Maybe you are only a ghost and your comments never appear anywhere. Either way, when you write to them you are requesting a response. You’re not entitled to one. You are attempting to initiate an interaction. That doesn’t mean you’ll get one. And it certainly doesn’t mean that they are now on your timetable.

All that energy burned and wasted agonising over whether someone has read or responded to something you said – you’re just craving that dopamine rush of notification that’s all. You’ve become a conflict-addict, and that stress will get you in the end. You’d be better off taking up heroin – at least the highs would be peaceful.

As for me, I’m going to keep on trucking on, fighting the good fight, ignoring the nonsense, and trying to get value for the time I spend online trying to develop as a teacher and/or organise as a worker. And for those of you like me, when the noisy ones get too loud just remember the wise words of the Captain above “Disengage!”

 

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