Thursday, May 22, 2014

Google Alerted

I've been in San Francisco for a week now, and I'm about to finish my first week of work. I feel like my routine is down. I understand the buses. I know where to get groceries. I'm comfortable at work. (How many sentences can I start with "I"?)

The two-hour time difference between here and Arkansas doesn't sound like a big deal, but I'm realizing it is. It's even worse between me and friends on the East Coast. By the time I get home from work, my family and friends in Central Time Zone are settling down for the night. And I barely have time to eat dinner and finish up other work before I head to bed, myself, which doesn't leave a lot of time to catch up with the folks back home.

But I'm enjoying work, and it's keeping my mind busy. Maybe I'll write about my job sometime soon. I've just always been a little secretive about these things I guess? I don't know. Do I really want people knowing where I work and what I do? There are some other YouTubers and Internet personalities who work at the company, and they seem to broadcast that information online. But I don't know. I'm sure it will become relevant to a blog post eventually and I'll just say it.

So, really, there's been no time to feel homesick like I was my first few days here. I still try to talk to my parents and sister and BFF on the phone every evening. That helps keep my spirits up.

Tonight, though, as I was settling in, I made the mistake of reading two very lengthy discussions about myself on some random YouTube gossip forum, and that got me feeling down.

I'll be honest, I have a Google Alert set to send me emails when it finds new websites containing the words "Joseph Birdsong." I swear it's not a narcissistic thing. It's mostly just so I can see if anyone has made a video response to me (since YouTube is shit now about those and I always like to watch/comment on them) or see if anyone has mentioned me in a blog post so I can say "hey" to them or something. Doesn't everyone wanna know if people are talking about them? I feel like that's just human nature. Tbh, though, Google Alerts is shit anyway, and I usually only get about one notification every month and it's not even really about me. It's usually some bird watcher's blog and they're talking about birds singing (AKA "birdsong"). And you thought my blog was boring.

Well, tonight I got a Google Alert and it was about me--the aforementioned discussion on the YouTube gossip forum. And, actually, it seemed like everyone on the forum only had nice things to say about me, which was great, but the thread was also full of speculation. There was speculation about my weight and why my head is shaved and analyzing some previous blog entries I've written and that personal video I made.

And I'm not going to defend myself against any of the things written, especially about my weight, because Jesus Christ that subject is old and has been talked into the ground. It even autocompletes on Google now. "Joseph Birdsong weight." Like, really. Who cares enough to search for that? Oh, and I'll also say that my head is shaved simply because I'm lazy. That's it. I don't know why people read so much into something like that. Heaven forbid I make a choice about my own body. Maybe I want to look like that old man on the Six Flags commercial. Maybe he's my inspiration. Did you ever think about that?

Okay, so I guess I defended myself against a couple of things. I couldn't help myself.

The rest of the speculations I don't even want to mention because I don't want to give them any more power. (Even though just writing this blog entry will probably make you immediately search for the posts on those forums and read the speculations for yourself. But props to you if you don't. You're one of the rare ones.) I already hate that those personal things are being talked about in a public forum. And many of the things were said under the guise of caring about me. Like, "I care about Joe, so I hope he doesn't have this and this and this, but it seems like he does, and here is my evidence: [insert video or blog post accompanied by more speculation.]"

News flash: YouTubers see what you write about them! We live on the Internet! Actually, everyone (not just YouTubers) usually sees if you write about them online. Like, this whole Internet thing is actually public! And just because you're free to write whatever you want, that doesn't mean you should or have to. And if you really care about someone, maybe respect whatever they're going through and don't try to sort through the very, very, very, limited info you have about them from the Internet to try and pull something together. You're putting together a puzzle that you don't own all the pieces to.

Ugh, I know I'm walking a fine line here because I'm talking about people who obviously do care about me. These aren't haters. They're lovers. I'm thankful that they care. I'm thankful they've invested time and energy in me. That's more than I could have ever hoped for in this lifetime. Some of their words touched me. I just think they're showing that they care in a very strange (and possibly incorrect) way.

Also, like, I'm a nobody. I'm not even famous or worth gossiping about. It doesn't matter what happens to me. My story is barely a misplaced punctuation mark in the novel of life. I could disappear from the Internet tomorrow and the world would keep on spinning. Maybe devote your energy to talking about all the horrible things going on in this world and try to figure out ways to make them better. Or talk about politics or environmental research or something.

And if you're gonna straight-up gossip, at least gossip about something entertaining, like a TV show, or someone who actually has an interesting life, like Angelina or Britney. But just also be aware that they might have Google Alerts out for their names, too. (*^3^)/~♡

-joe