And here it is! Feel free to snag the above image and use! I didn't create the prompts but I did create the template as a free-for-all in high res, so have at it!

Today is July 1st, 2019 and it's been exactly two years to the day since I've done a writing challenge. Back in July 2017, I opted to do two writing challenges concurrently and ended up writing upwards of 90k words in one month. It was... a lot. But very well worth it.

I'm only doing a solo adventure for now, but perhaps it'll inspire me to pick up another prompt challenge for August...perhaps even another fanfic extravaganza? We'll see! I just know I need to jumpstart the writing brain again, because it's been lying dormant for far too long.

So here we go...again!

Day 1: Five Problems With Social Media

Ohhhh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I'm torn between penning an insanely long, beyond the limits of verbosity, more than any person should ever write in a blog-blog, or a short, to-the-point list.

The game has a name, and it's column a, column b. Let's do this.

Five things (in no particular order of egregiousness) –

  1. Etiquette – F4F, Blocking, DMs, Sock puppet accounts
  2. Trolling – Passive aggressive replies, Rude Memes, Unsolicited replies
  3. Abhorrent Behavior – Comments, bashing, flaming, attacking
  4. Gaslighting – Again, comments, but a very specific brand
  5. Toxic Fandom – Says it all in those two words

There's the list, now let's expand a wee bit on each one.

First: Etiquette.

This is a huge problem for a lot of folks, but mostly women – at least when it comes to specific areas of interaction. We'll start with DMs, as those are particularly questionable sometimes (dick pics -eyeroll-, "you're gorgeous, follow me back sweetheart?" "Where do you live? Let's get together, beautiful." Etc., Etc.) And those are just a snippet of the gentler, less aggressive sort.

Then of course there's the occasional inappropriate public comment by some rando to PG-rated selfies that somehow get morphed into a ploy for lustful replies. No. Just no. A selfie isn't an invitation to be objectified. Full stop. Selfie culture in 2019 is just taking a damn photo of yourself because you can. Because you want to and because you're damn well allowed.

Moving on. Follow for follow (F4F) – this is gross BUT it feels as though this practice has slowly been dying off. At least for me it has. I don't follow anyone that doesn't pique my social media interests, and that's the end of it. If I like your content, if I relate or resonate with it, I follow. If you follow back, cool, if not, I'm still good going along with your journey as a person appreciating your content. Doing it for numbers is shit. Besides, the incessant pressure of F4F culture is unnecessarily harsh. Don't need that.

Sock puppet accounts – multiple accounts made by the same person to attack, barrage or otherwise stalk former mutuals or strangers for one reason or another. I have quite a few twitter accounts for my various businesses and pods but not one of them is used for this disturbing practice. Blocking (another thing to tackle later on) should block IP addresses and cut the bullshit; the sock puppet game is endless and tiring. You can try your best but if someone wants to stalk and secretly follow, they can. And they will. shivers

There's plenty more to social media etiquette that hasn't been mentioned, but let's leave it there and revisit in the future – in its own blog?

Second: Trolling.

This is alllllll about comments and replies so I'll try to keep it short and sweet. PSA... not every tweet, Instagram photo, etc., is open for discussion – regardless of it being on a public domain. Sometimes we as human beings living in a digital social media age of instant communication and access, just want to throw out a thought from inside of our brains (Tweet: I love Stranger Things, Hopper is the best, a literal sex god. Send tweet.) and that's all it has to be, all it was intended to be. But the internet doesn't ever, ever like your opinions and so they must let you know.

In the meanest, harshest way possible oftentimes.

And these unwarranted replies come in gifs, in videos, in weird photos and off the wall commentary – in ALL of it.

Let us allow a thought to be a thought and move onward with your day. If you disagree with someone on something – something unrelated to the actual problems plaguing our world – go the fuck away and keep it to yourself (I see the hypocrisy of my statement here, but oh well, point stands). Why go out of your way to ruin some else's mood because they love The Last Jedi or enjoy Jorah and Daenerys together forever and ever and ever and he definitely shouldn't have died, like at all.

I'll never understand it. [GoT or the internet decide ;)]

Third: Abhorrent Behavior.

This one sort of speaks for itself, but the PvP attacking on social media is an absolute disgrace anymore – on every single platform. It's stomach-turning, cringe-y, rage-inducing behavior that goes on and on and on. From comments attacking content creators, actors, directors, politicians (I mean...*some* words of anger are warranted here but), journalists, communities, cultures, religions and people. Just PEOPLE in the world being attacked for any and every damn thing.

There's a huge disparity between what people would say to someone outside in a public space versus what bottomfeeders get away with online. If you can't, or wouldn't, say it to someone's face, don't fucking say it online. Internet Rule #1 to live by.

Fourth: Gaslighting.

Again, another point of interest that speaks for itself. Let's dig into it a bit though...

Gaslighting is defined as: to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Sigh. This is another example of a run-rampant act all over the social medias. And I'm gonna say it loud and clear: It almost always involves a situation which finds a man gaslighting a woman. 'Oh you feel this way and are acting like a crazy b!tch because you clearly shouldn't have invested so much of yourself and time into me!' There's one example I'm deeply familiar with on a really fucked up personal level that I could, and will, write a book on at some point in my life. Anyway.

But it's not JUST men doing this to women. They are the majority when it comes to this ugly, cruel practice of table-turning but women are guilty of it, too. From physical attributes to big emotions, from body shaming to sexuality and double standards, from fandom to entertainment interests, from writing to reading, from content creating to consuming, from love to hate and everything else under the sun, it's done all the time, every day, every hour. It's so unbelievably icky; it comes from a place with no names or too many names and my distaste for it grows bigger all the time.

Fifth: Toxic Fandom.

Oh, fandom, how I love and loathe thee. I have been a part of fandom – various through the years – since I was 11 years old. I've seen it ALL. And the one thing I can say with absolute clarity is this: It's only gotten much, much worse with the ever-evolving growth of social media and instant communication. Now that each of us has access to everyone and virtually anyone around the world, we've perfected cutting each other down for the things we love the most.

Folks these days make parody videos, satire commentary and flat-out mean-spirited jokes when they see someone so passionate and in love with THAT THING, because ??? Because they're mean-spirited? Because they're part of the troll, gaslighting, abhorrent behavior crowd? D) All of the above.

What it is, is sad. Fandom should be the one place, the safe space, the comfy home away from home where we enjoy what we enjoy and share and revel and love, and while it IS that, and it always will be that for the ones of us doing it right (shoulder brush), there's this underbelly of scum and filth that lurks. Ever present and waiting to strike at the first sign of fanglee.

It sucks. It isolates us into smaller pieces of ourselves one knock at a time and in a world that has more bad than good lately, the last thing we should do is bring toxicity into fandom. Alas, the real world is never too far, I suppose and so with it comes the real world assholes.

And there's Day 1: Complete!

I'm sure not everyone will agree with the above (that's fine, sweetie, you don't have to) but if I left something out, please tell me and I will amend my blog to include it. I want to be inclusive and listen and hear constructive feedback because it helps to learn and understand others' experiences outside of my own.

You can email me at or | follow me on twitter @thewildcollect / @ironseapod