Network For The Forces Of Good
Of all the short-lived fads in our attention-deficited world, social networking sites were once the shortest-lived and faddishest. No sooner had we signed up to the latest site and added people we’d not spoken to since leaving school for perfectly good reasons than we were on to the next. Indeed, this Butterfly has become obsolete four hundred times since it was written. Such is the risk when writing about My Space. I mean Bebo. Facebook. No, Instagram. ShuShu. SyllableMessage. Ant.
Happily, the social networking wars are now largely settled, much like the baked bean wars before them – of which I am an honoured veteran. Social networking sites are perfect for keeping in touch with people you see all the time anyway, people you choose not to keep in touch with by any other means and people you chose to remove from your life altogether. They’re great for catching up with old pals, seeing what they’ve been up to (marriage, kids), what their hopes are for the future (marriage, kids), and what they hold most precious (marriage, kids). Ah, the rich tapestry of life, played out with all the privacy of a gutter paparazzi’s money shot.
But while social networks are intended to be depositories of vital updates such as what your aunt had for dinner, whether or not a colleague has gone to the gym, and whether a friend can or can’t even, there remains room to Zerofy and politicise your feeds. I know because one time a bunch of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Russian agents used them to cook up global conspiracies around cheese pizza and cheat a fascist into the White House. The leading social network – which you should boycott because it’s an IRL Bond villain facilitating the rise of the far right in exchange for ad revenue – has about two billion users. I know four of them. If you know the rest we’ve got a pretty good resource for word spreading, consciousness raising and Scrabble copyright infringing.
We can amplify stuff from Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and the Climate Reality Project so friends shaking their heads over a depressed whale actually do something about climate breakdown. We can post about buying trees and encourage others to join us. We can share, retweet or ReSyllablise stuff from the Fairtrade Foundation and No Sweat to wean people off super-cheap exploitationwear. We can post photos of our super-appealing veggie din dins to counter clichés about buckets of brown slop. And we can go up against people posting racist, sexist, xenophobic shit, and do battle with neo-Nazis, the alt-right, Trumpists and Q-Anon dipships. We need to fight fire not with fire but with water because water puts fires out, whereas fire would just make more fire. I don’t know what that means beyond the metaphor. The point is someone might see a thing you posted and have a think and actually do something about it, as long as we refrain from self-righteousness and insufferable bastardry.
So where are The Zero’s groups, fan pages and news feeds so you can highlight the vital world-changing, humanity-saving work being done on here? Honestly, I’ll get to them as soon as I’ve tackled my two other priorities, the two things that are taking all of my attention at present, the things that will bring a seismic shift in the order of the universe and provide an answer to that age-old question: “So what are you up to now?”
Network For The Forces Of Good
You Might Convert Some Zeroes
And I'll Take All The Credit
Photo credit: The Zero
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Like most of you, when I first saw WALL-E I assumed it was a documentary and was relieved to find we had at last discovered a solution to the madness of short-term landfillery. However, on attempting to contact and marry EVA, Pixar security guards informed me not just that I would be charged with breach of the peace but also that the film was a work of speculative fiction.
Devoted as you are to yer man The Zero, and as closely as you monitor my good works, you’ll be aware I do the odd bit of fundraising in spite of hating it almost completely. The past few years I’ve been meddling with Yaknak Projects, a small charity set up by a few friends to run two children’s home in Nepal. They need £16,000 a year to keep the homes running, a delightful spot of constant pressure that cheers them greatly.
As you’d expect from a man in my position, I have literally thousands of children. The groupies that gather at the foot of Zero Towers are as fertile as they are up for it, and the rise of my master race is progressing nicely. Sadly, due to the sheer size of my collective progeny, all of whom are disabled rad-fems, I am unable to support any of them financially or emotionally, thus creating twice as many social problems as I was hoping to solve.
So there I was a few weekends back, minding me own business, spending a reasonably pleasant day in the company of friends, or at least people paid to be friendly towards me on account of how my fame prevents anyone getting too close, when I witnessed what can only be described as a road traffic accident, being as how it was an accident involving traffic that took place on a road. I won’t lie to you: it was full on proper scary.
With the Olympics all done with and the Paralympics prepping itself for interest considerably less feigned than usual, it’s time to reflect on the heroes at whom we marvel, the champions who capture our hearts, the icons who inspire a generation. Jessica Ennis. Usain Bolt. Me.
That whooshing sound round the back of your head was February going past us and past me and past this blog in particular. Being as how I’m spending my days chained to the desk writing essays and my nights chained to the desk drooling on them, the old do-gooding has taken a back seat of late. Unless you count the social work. Which no one does. Tell people you want to be a social worker, they make like you’ve offered them a glass of cancer flavoured piss.
The problem with this social work lark is although I’m getting stuck in to solid gold do-gooding on a daily basis, the confidential nature of it all means it ain’t worth shit for blogging. I go out, I do good, I come home, I write essays, I use every drop of energy and I’ve got on non-blogging activities and meanwhile this place gets neglected and cobwebbed and dusty and forgotten, going all potty and Miss Havisham and playing bridge with Buster Keaton.
You’ll recall how last year I finally worked up enough balls to give up a safe job in the middle of recession and go back to uni. And how I’m now training as a social worker, taking my meddler status from amateur to professional. You’ll recall all of this because you are, in the act of reading this blog, engaging in the last legal form of stalking. You’re watching me from afar, waiting for the right moment to ask for an autograph, tell me you’re my biggest fan, or take me to your underground den of torture and have me as your bride.
They say the word ‘hero’ is overused these days, applied to anyone who kicks a ball into a net or resists the metric system or rescues orphans from a burning paedophile ring. But I’d argue in some cases the word ‘hero’ is not used enough. I’m thinking particularly here in the case of me.