Gossip, Rumour, Innuendo and Nonsense...
...was flying around Artwiculate recently, aimed at me. I have apparently been accused of "betrayal", of "deception", of "manipulation". No-one has come and spoken openly to me about it. I am ashamed of the behaviour of some of the Artwiculate players, especially those who I thought were my friends. If it affected only me, then I would say "So be it", but you (you know who you are) have dragged two of my friends into this, and whispered that these are really me. So I cannot just let it pass. But on the other hand, I am not completely blameless, as you will see if you read on.
Time for a history lesson.
In 2007 I joined Second Life, the virtual online world, and quickly became hooked. This was a place where you could not only design your own avatar's look, it was a place you could meet any number of interesting people, where you could travel around and see interesting places, do interesting things, where you could walk, run, even fly. To me, as a disabled person, this was a liberating revelation and i wallowed in it addictively.
Not long after joining I (or my avatar, rather) was dancing to disco music in my favourite club. Suddenly I was astonished to see an avatar in a wheelchair enter the club and start to spin around to the music. This was the first wheelchair avatar I ever saw in SL and I had to go up to her and speak. We adjourned to her SL home, and spoke for a long time. This was Sikkim. I learned something of her Real Life (RL) : she is a paraplegic, following an accident in her late teens. We spoke of disability, of philosophy, of SL, of cabbages and kings, and discovered we had a lot in common.
Sikkim is a very strong woman. She has had to learn to be. She is also very intelligent, very well-educated, and very well-read. She is fiercely independent, confrontational even, especially in the matter of her disability. She chose to represent herself in SL as what she is, while I hid my own disability behind a young, fit and healthy avatar who could run and who could fly. We had, we still have, different philosophies on this, and I never have used a wheelchair in SL although Sikkim would dearly love me to.
Sikkim is not British, though I have promised not to reveal any location or family details. Yet her grasp of the English language - not her first language - is astonishing, and would shame many an English speaker. She and I became firm friends (virtual friends) and often met up in SL.
My time in SL began to fade when Linden Lab (who created the world) ended the volunteer 'mentoring program' which I'd been involved in for most of my time there. Gradually I lost touch with Sikkim. When I joined Twitter to play Artwiculate I had almost stopped going to SL completely, and Twitter came to supplant SL, or rather, Artwiculate did.
So how did Sikkim arrive in Twitter & Artwiculate? It's not entirely coincidence. After I stopped playing, I did regain some energy, enough to begin to do some basic Twitter maintenance, for example to catch up on who was following me, which I had not looked at for quite some time. I was surprised and happy to see a familiar name in the list, and I contacted her to resume our friendship. At the same time I told her about Artwiculate, and Sikkim proved enthusiastic, as I well thought she might. She has got quite hooked. She has her own style, she has developed her own theme, and her tweets contain subtle nuances I can only envy. I do not resonate to her religious / liturgical theme, but clearly that is something she knows quite a lot about.
Do not support her as my friend, but please nurture her as you would (should) any talented new player, who deserves your respect.
I met Eleanor in real life some years ago when we both worked on the same contract, professionally. I retired from that profession some years ago, forced to by my illness, but we kept in touch. We are not quite so 'simpatico' as Sikkim and I are, but we share a similar sense of humour, which is how we became friends.
This is where I have to confess some duplicity, though there was no malicious intent. In my early Artwiculate days I got frustrated at certain times of day (late afternoon, early evening) when I saw what seemed like hundreds of Artwiculate retweets go by, but none of mine. If I'd created what I thought was a particularly good tweet that day, it pissed me off no end, and I wondered what I could do about it.
With Eleanor's consent - she had no interest whatever in Twitter - I borrowed her email and details to create another Twitter account (@eleanor1gby). With this, nearly a year ago, I retweeted my 'best tweet' on a few occasions (perhaps 4 or 5 times?). At the same time I also used it to RT some other tweets I liked - so I was not the sole beneficiary. The idea was not to cheat one extra point, but to put the tweet 'out there' so it wasn't missed. I even - long long ago - played a couple of times with that account, though now I'm glad to see that her best tweet is one of her own.
However, the '@eleanor RTs' didn't seem to help my 'visibility mission', from what I could see. In any case, soon afterwards Navin's RTwiculate app was up and running and I used that to RT with instead, using an RT account in the way some of you have (@TSupercargo, @pn9r, etc). I abandoned the @eleanor1gby account altogether, and Eleanor and I had a joke or two about it. I did used to tell her about Artwiculate once or twice, but although she liked the idea, she still had no interest in Twitter.
Did I ever use @eleanor1gby to vote for TiddK? No, never. Did I use @eleanor1gby to RT TiddK (and others) on more than a handful of occasions? No. Are there any other @eleanor1gby-type accounts? No, only my RTwiculate RT account, and that's no secret. Was it deceitful that I occasionally used @eleanor1gby for Tidd's "visibility"? Yes, I guess it was. I'm not proud of it now.
When I made my big exit from Artwiculate at Get Satisfaction (why did a 'big exit' piss some people off? it's just who I am, passionate and emotional - please, deal with it), I pointed Eleanor in its direction. She was impressed enough by my obvious passion - and by the valediction of my friends - to finally decide to 'have a go' herself, though apparently she STILL does not like Twitter. So I remembered her old account and handed it over to her. She has obviously changed the password and avatar and stuff, I've just let her get on with it. I did give her "Wordless Of The Day" to use with Tacit - it was my best ever tweet and I thought it might give her a helping hand.
Alas, not only did it fail, all her tweets have failed, I now discover because of the gossip rumour innuendo and nonsense. That's not fair on her, as a new player. (**I see that she has started to do better. I'm happy for her. 31st January.) Though I also have to point out, she doesn't seem to mind. She knows the art - as I never did - of playing 'just for fun'. So perhaps there is no real damage done, except maybe to a few of you in the role of perpetrators of this malfeasance.
Sikkim I know too well - she will not give up on account of all this "G.R.I.N", and she will stay loyal to me as her friend. Eleanor? She really doesn't care that much. If I told her that certain Artwiculate players resent her presence, she would simply stop playing, I'm sure of it. Do you resent her being in Artwiculate? Do you want her to stop playing? Shall I tell her that? Or will you? (I'd prefer if it came from you. She's my friend after all).
I was sincere when I made my "big exit". That's how I wanted - still want - to be remembered. I was - I am - very tired, and my condition is slowly getting worse. I can't stop it. I never expected that introducing two friends would cause all the endless angst that it has, nor the grubby suspicions. It has however shown me who my true friends are, so one good thing came out of it all. The others of you who expressed your sympathies and your good wishes at GS, then turned on me in the next day or two... you know who you are. All you (you know who you are) have succeeded in doing is ..to pass judgement on @TiddK without a trial and sentence her; she will not now return to Twitter (though the account has to live on - it is needed outside Twitter) ..to harm the prospects of two new players ..to put more weaponry into the hands of Artwiculate's detractor(s).
The power of words.
Well, I have that power too. I wonder whose shines the brighter?
Once I ran to you
now I'll run from you
This tainted love you've given
I gave you all a girl could give you
Take my tears and that's not living
Oh. Tainted love. Tainted love.
Now I know I've got to run away
I've got to get away.
You don't really want it any more from me -
To make things right you need someone to hold you tight
And you'll think love is to prey but I'm sorry I don't pray that way
Once I ran to you
now I'll run from you
I didn't want a tainted Goodbye, and I'm sorry that it came to this. I will end it here.