There seems to be a general human trait which can only be summed up as a general lack of awareness of context.

As in, any time something happens it's the first time it's ever happened, the problem is unique, and you all suck because you've brought this terrible, horrible, very very bad thing upon us all.

Etc.

This is perhaps never more obvious than the labeling of the "in crowd", and their evil clique which damns us all by shutting us out.

Never mind that this crowd usually isn't that aware that they're considered so. Usually, they're too busy just doing what they do, writing what they write, saying what they say. They find equals and enemies, create their own pocket universe, and move on.

Many of these cliques may in fact consist of a series of mini cliques connected through a few substantial individuals. She's friends with him and her, but hates that guy, even though that guy is friends with him and her...

Upon entering the realm of the internet, this becomes exceedingly bizarre, since we only know what we know of anybody through messages from them on the net. No faces, no exhanges, no interactions...just text.

We find ourselves clinging to styles, and words which reflect things we recognize, but we're lost in this great, dark room where only what is said is noticed, and shrinking into the safety of ourselves where our words are the only currency and nothing else has meaning, we strike out, we explore, we wage war.

After all, alone in this darkness as we are, nobody else truly exists.

Except for the in crowd.

Shall we envy them? Shall we pelt them with rotten soy and condemn them for their lesbian monkey practices?

We'll never see any of them anyway.

You can pretend, if you wish, that the votes and cools mean something. You can make Eleanor Roosevelt a liar, go ahead. Words mean everything, and name calling is the ultimate death, right?

But eventually you've got to come out of that darkness, turn away from your keyboard, and re-enter the world. Are humans different outside that door than they are on the net? Are you in a different universe, connecting with alien life forms who make you forget all of your civilization in a vast orgy of puppy-touching madness?

This is not Romper Room. It doesn't all magically go away in the fourth season when the producers get tired of it. This is us, being people, with a myriad of social and cultural contexts all interacting (and failing to interact), choosing and failing to choose...

Popular, or well written? Amusing, or too obscure for anybody to care? What context are you operating out of, children of dark places, users of the strange words, conjurers of the cool?

We come to Everything2 and barter our experience, our knowledge, our civilization for recognition and knowledge. But nobody's asking you to sell your awareness, your civility, your honesty, or your mercy. Let alone leave them at the door.

Nobody's handing out guides to social interaction at the door here. If anything, the majority of the people who have high scores on this thing are social misfits, who communicate far better through words than actions, and certain win no awards in any space for being social animals.

So please. Don't come running in here, and apply your same standards for popularity and cliques from your outside world to this dark, noisy place.

We're all hiding here for a reason. And those reasons have entire worlds behind them. We chose to be lost here, to interact, to find light where there is nothing but letters on a page.

Tread carefully, in this land of dreams, with your forgiveness held out in front of you, and your offense stuffed in that enormous box at the door. Don't worry, if you can't find yours on the way out, there are certainly enough other people's left behind who won't miss it at all.

Just because you're human, doesn't mean you have to make the same mistakes as the rest of the humans.

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