They say that what you do on the Internet will come back. The Internet never forgets. Employers will look at your online footprint. And anything else that I’m missing. So, that’s what prompted me to make this blog post. You see, when I was in high school, I decided to make the decision to enter the massive pool of social media. While Facebook was straightforward, on Twitter and Instagram I found everyone was using some sort of handle/alias. And I did it too.
That resulted in MartintheDragon.
The reason I did this particular one was simple: the school I was going to attend, Drexel University, had the Dragons as their mascot. I thought nothing of it. Then, as my college career moved on and I developed new interests, and I decided to join websites (though I wouldn’t pay for them mainly because I was unemployed and couldn’t pay the fees on a regular basis. That money had to go to books and software). For starters, I brought back the Tumblr account that I created the summer before my freshman year of college because I had a reason to use it. Again I used the name MartintheDragon. Nothing horrible right? Now begins the weird path.
First off, I lost my cell phone, which was the only way I could access Twitter. It took a few years for me to think about going back to Twitter, but I did again, and you can find me @MartinWhite78.
In my sophomore year, I REALLY got into Death Battle!, a web show that analyzes two fictional characters to determine which one would win a fight to the death. On DeviantArt, I found out that people were making their own fan battles in what I felt was mainly in an attempt to fill the void I felt: wanting to see battles the show hadn’t done. And some of them were REALLY good. Unfortunately, some of these were stuck behind a wall of “mature content that required an account to access, mainly because some characters featured are what you’d consider infamous for brutality and on some occasions, Mortal Kombat characters were featured and they’d bring out their fatalities. So I made the account to access these awesome battles, and later on, I’d make fan title cards that were like the thumbnails for the actual show that’d you click on if you were on YouTube. It was pretty fun and it let some things gnawing at my mind released on the Internet.
I’d also use MartintheDragon for a fanfiction.net account where I’d write fanfiction for the anime I had watched, but that’s a story for another day. If you’d like to hear it, that is.
Then my junior year happened. Tumblr starts to play an important part in this story. This is when things like Black Lives Matter start to begin in earnest. Additionally, Elliot Rodger had shot up a sorority and Sandy Hook happened my freshman year and then there was the Boston Marathon Bombing so there was a lot of politics to go around all of social media. It was pretty crazy. And do you know how people say how college is where you find yourself? Well, that’s what happened here, mainly because I saw the things being said and watched the news as they happened and something happened, especially with Michael Brown: the court of public opinion was overtaking the court of law and the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”. Combine that with the feeling that the liberal Facebook pages I had followed just looking down on Republicans and people that didn’t think like them as if they were all racist hicks that screw their cousins and a bunch of other stuff that makes me think the GOP and anyone who sympathizes with them are lesser people. I hate that in people, and it makes me not want to like you. So, I started finding my political leaning, which I’d call “middle of the road if slightly left.” I’m not much of a politics guy. I’d be much more willing to talk more about anime, if I had watched it that is. Here’s my profile on MyAnimeList.
Now to the meat of this story, Reddit. One of the things of this time was a thing called Gamergate. Gamergate is hard to explain, but the easiest way I can describe it is, “Game journalists were found being very intimate with a developer they were not only covering in their articles but was also supporting financially, was their friend or being intimate. And when they were found with the egg on their face, they decided to cover their asses by censoring and removing discussion and shitting on their consumer base.” One of the places I’d end up frequenting was the subreddit KotakuInAction, and this began in my senior year. The mission of Kotaku In Action is copied below directly from the subreddit (which I do because if you want to hear what someone stands/fights for, or their reasoning for doing something, my best advice is to ask them directly or get as direct to them as possible):
KotakuInAction is a platform for open discussion of the issues where gaming, nerd culture, the Internet, and media collide.
We believe that the current standards of ethics in the media have alienated the artists, developers, and creators who perpetuate the things we love, enjoy, and enthusiastically build communities around. We have observed numerous incidents involving conflicts of interest and agenda-pushing within media which we feel are damaging to the credibility of the medium and harm the community at large. We believe much of the current media is complicit in the proliferation of an ideology that squashes individuality, divides along political lines, and is stifling to the freedom of creativity that is the foundation of human expression.
KotakuInAction is a community that condemns willful censorship, exclusion, harassment, and abuse. It is a community that organizes to hold the media accountable to the concept of artistic freedom by standing up for the artist, the developer, the writer, the filmmaker, and all who enjoy the freedom to create, explore, and expand. It is a community that allows the exchange of information, supports the ongoing discussion of media ethics, and protects the right of the individual to embrace their personal interests in entertainment and fandom.
KotakuInAction is built around a core focus on reasonable, friendly discussion of the issues related to gaming culture, and those involved in it. That is not all we are about, but it’s where we began and will remain our core. We hold ourselves to be politically neutral ground, not forcing anyone to conform in their opinions, and permitting a wide variety of viewpoints to express themselves in a civil manner.
Additionally, here’s some reading about Gamergate if you need a crash course. I decided to start a Reddit account because I’ve been reading it for months and I decided that it’d be better if I joined the action and conversation myself, whether it’s bringing up points or commenting. As for why I used MartintheDragon on Reddit, I’d chalk that up to a combination of not thinking of another username, and some frustration that the usernames I wanted to use were taken. It is what it is, and I’d join a lot more subreddits based on my interests.
The last thing that I’d say is worth mentioning is the subreddit r/uncensorednews. I found this through Kotaku In Action, but they’re not related in any way. Here’s what this subreddit is about:
/r/uncensorednews was born on June 12, 2016, the night of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The event was quickly reported on /r/news, reddit’s main news subreddit, but, as soon as it emerged that the culprit was an Islamist terrorist, the moderators of /r/newsbegan removing comments and then whole threads, leading to a complete information blackout, in an effort to stop what they perceived as ‘islamophobia’ . Outraged at this behavior, tens of thousands of redditors unsubscribed from /r/news and flocked to /r/uncensorednews.
This subreddit thus exists to fill the information and discussion gap that ideological censorship creates on reddit, hence the moniker “uncensored”. This does not mean that we have no rules, but rather that our rules are explicitly designed as technical requirements that never impose or leave room for ideological censorship of any kind.
More specifically, the things that were censored were that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, called 911 either before or during the shooting (I don’t remember which one) and pledged allegiance to ISIS. Additionally, news about how to donate blood to victims was censored as well. It’s not my main way to get news, but it helps to give that perspective from the other side which I consider helpful for a Democrat like me. The only thing I’ll say is that r/uncensored news is VERY politically incorrect, more politically incorrect than Kotaku In Action could ever be. To me, it comes from the idea that it’s the anti-establishment place to get news, and while I don’t carry that mindset, I will say that it’s one of the few places where you won’t see Donald Trump painted as Hitler reincarnated, which is probably why I got attracted to that in the 2016 election cycle, even though I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his (personally, as long as we’re not in war and we’re not at risk of the planet turning into a nuclear wasteland, I’m happy, though I’ll probably say if something is really fishy or villainy, probably on Twitter). I’m not much of a political guy, okay?
Why do I write this? As I said in the beginning, I imagine that at some point, some of these things will probably end up coming to the forefront again, and I’m hoping that with this blog post, the matter will be released on something resembling my own terms.
Will I get rid of my Reddit account? As of the time of my writing this (Febreuary 2018), I’d say…nah. As much as I find as my opinion is just a drop in the ocean in many of the subreddits I’m subscribed to,
I enjoy the conversations and sometimes debates. I hope that any superiors or employers that read this understand something from my college days that influence how I see the world…or something that I can’t really put into words in this situation.
And if there’s one thing that I’d like to end on, it’s this: freedom of speech, even if the speech is something horrible, is absolutely worth defending. Everyone has the right to state their opinion in a safe way, and let the horrible opinions die as a result of being ridiculed to Hell and back. Freedom of speech will be a great hill to die on if I can figure out a way to fight in the event I’m forced to do that.
Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day.
EDIT 2/20/2018: I realized that my YouTube channel is worth mentioning as well. I started it in my sophomore year in a combination of starting it so I could get a Dungeons & Dragons character sheer from my roommates at the time because it struck my interest to a thought of making YouTube videos. Nowadays, I don’t make videos anymore and all I did was upload some of my old videos I made for classes, mainly final projects. The main reason I still have it is my liked videos, resulting in having my favorite stuff being in one place in case I want to watch them while doing laundry or something. And now you can know my weird taste from the Eric Cartman of music named Rucka Rucka Ali to anime to way back when I watched CollegeHumor videos and everything in between.
That is all.
UPDATE: 3/13/2018: It turns out that r/uncensorednews has been banned by Reddit for failing to police its subscrsubscribers. While it went a bit too far sometimes, I’m kind of sad to see it go.