I read with interest Richard Armitage’s far ranging introductory essay “The Human Condition and Social Media” that opens up a discussion about preventing and mitigating cyberbullying –or just bullying in general–via his newly minted Goodwill Ambassador status with The Cybersmile Foundation (portrait image right is by Robert Ashcroft from 2012, also found here at RANet). Some people/fans liked what Richard Armitage wrote, or not. Some people/fans liked how he wrote it, or not. That’s human nature. But Mr. Armitage has gotten everyone talking about the issues surrounding preventing and mitigating cyberbullying–and that can’t be a bad thing.
And in reading several varying opinions on different blogs about the Richard Armitage Essay, I appreciate their thoughtful comments positive/negative, good/bad as an aggregate. So what follows is by no means a compendium of all opinions, just me picking a few blog essays that reflected differing opinions that resonated with me–and perhaps voices that you might not have heard yet. And I will provide the links to those other blogs and their discussion for you below–so be sure to visit those blog posts and also read the comments where lively and spirited discussions take place.
And to paraphrase what Mr. Armitage tweeted in partial response some of his Weibo followers who objected to him following the Dalai Lama, my mentioning and linking to a particular blogger’s essay below is in no way an “endorsement”, I simply appreciate reading many different views and opinions–just as my not linking to someone’s blog post below does not imply that I disagree with them. And my choices of blog essays to feature below, reflects a wish on my part to bring additional voices to my reader’s attention–from among some of the other interesting blogs that I follow.
And my own thoughts about Mr. Armitage’s essay and peoples response essays became rather long. No surprise there. Ha! So rather than commenting on any one person’s blog post, I just decided to blog my thoughts here. My thoughts here are a bit free form for a change–somewhat like Richard Armitage’s essay. But I will try to keep it to one page in MSWord–okay 1.75 pages (9 pt font). *winces sheepishly*
1) Judiang of the Confessions of a Watcher blog:
One of ladies whom I consider to be one of my very good RA fan friends whom I have met and spent some extended time with–in person no less, 3 times, Ha! via the exquisitely talented British Actor Richard Armitage admiration that we share–is Judiang of the Confessions of a Watcher blog, which is currently experiencing some technical issues and is offline for the moment. But Michaela Servetus of the MeandRichardArmitage blog came to the rescue and gave Judiang a platform to share her views about the Armitage Cybersmile essay in a guest post–after Servetus had earlier shared her own views about personal speech rights and the Armitage essay. And Servetus has also kindly reblogged a few other people’s reactions to the Armitage Cybersmile essay for everyone’s convenience. Thanks!
Getting back to Judiang and her essay reaction to the Armitage Essay, I love her incisive and insightful mind. She challenges me to think about issues in nuanced ways. Sorry that her blog platform is still wonky. And I look forward when she can blog to us again. And thanks once more to Servetus for sharing your post here.
In her guest post, Judiang constructively enumerated several questions regarding key points in RA’s essay that I view as opportunities for RA to explore and elaborate upon for future essays–definitions of bullying, online identity/privacy/safety discussions, more about resources and cyberbullying prevention/mitigation response, etc., are topics that I am interested in hearing more about. With my career in the university educational milieu for over thirty years–oops, I just gave my age away, ha!–and for many years now as an administrative professional level support person–we receive additional annual training about various topics related to aiding and referring students who might be experiencing crises (since students often seem to let things go until multiple issues are hitting them), in order to help them gain the assistance that they need. So I am always eager to learn more ways to be of help to students and others.
2) Crystal Chandlyre’s eponymous blog:
A more glowingly positive response to the Armitage Essay was shared by crystalchandlyre. Her focus about the positive aspects of Richard Armitage’s essay and in creating greater awareness for the issue of preventing and mitigating cyberbullying resonated quite deeply with me. Many people have also commented about Mr. Armitage’s well intentioned efforts in bringing the issue of combating cyberbullying to the forefront. And while my green grading pencil is sometimes at the ready when I read others’ essays like Mr. Armitage’s–as well as picking apart my own essays–crystalchandlyre’s essay invited and reminded me to delay my critique and sit back and look at the broader picture and the longer term hoped for gains in broadening the discussion about cyberbullying prevention and mitigation on the internet that The Cybersmile Foundation and Richard Armitage hope to achieve with their awareness campaign.
3) Finally, Random Thoughts by Rashisama:
Rashisama, aka Amazing Grace on Twitter, sharing her views about the Armitage essay, is a middle ground Armitage essay reaction essay of sorts for me–as was Perry’s post on her Armitage Agonistes blog. And Rashisama’s essay perhaps reflects my own more sanguine views about anything that happens in Armitage World. This too shall pass is my motto. And the musical metaphor that Rashisama incorporates in her reaction essay to illustrate her views about the good/bad, like/dislike, discord/harmony reactions to the Armitage Essay still creating beautiful music reflecting the varied opinions, was as much lyrical as it was eloquent. Brava! Rashisama agrees with some people, and she disagrees with some people. And that’s okay. She shares that these are her views and opinions. And she helps us to understand how her opinions developed–that for me, served as a reminder for me to think more reflectively about my own opinion formation.
I have tried to discipline myself to sharing examples of only 3 bloggers essays in response to the Armitage Essay on preventing and mitigating cyberbullying, but a few other blog post examples snuck in as well. Ha! However, there are so many wonderful bloggers and their viewpoints out there. So, if you have also blogged about this issue–of cyberbullying prevention and mitigation, and/or Richard Armitage’s essay introducing the topic from his perspective–please share your post link in a comment below for myself and my readers’ convenience.
Grati’s Something About Love blog:
And finally, what is my/Grati’s take on Richard Armitage’s introductory post about the topic of cyberbullying prevention and mitigation? Apart from what I have already said in my comments above? I am interested to hear more from him and to see how he develops his essays for The Cybersmile Foundation in the future. As an ambassador for Cybersmile, RA’s public persona and reach will bring needed attention to the issue of bullying–whether it is cyberbullying or other. So others’ blog posts and people’s comments–such as in those exampled above and elsewhere–highlighting the positive aspects of RA’s message, are also ones that I appreciate reading as well.
Mr. Armitage has long sponsored charities with child centered advocacy as its focus through his Just Giving site. So his foray into being a spokesperson for what his essentially a cause to aid young people as a Cybersmile Ambassador, seems to align with his life mission of being a gentleman, artist, philanthropist, and citizen of the world. And as with others, I particularly appreciate and donate to Childline as one of those child advocacy organizations that Richard Armitage sponsors via his Just Giving site.
And since I am a speech and debate gal from way back when I was in college and beyond as a coach and tournament judge–and I also taught communication courses at university after earning my degrees–focused, concise, and well documented (evidence and citation) essays always win points from me. So I would suggest future essays by Mr. Armitage might consider espousing a single topic focus approach.
And having an editor/proofer is always helpful, but I would rather read a few grammar/editing snafus with Mr. Armitage’s real voice and thoughts coming through his essays’ messages, than some marketing person writing his essays for him–or a marketing person changing RA’s essays so much that it doesn’t sound like him. There is also the issue of who the target audience is–in regard to sensibilities, as well as, language choice. For example, I know that I am mindful that I have readers from around the world, and so when I use idioms, I also try to provide links to explaining them. And Mr. Armitage has a much bigger global reach, so that might also influence his writing style for future essays–or getting help with proofing. Ha!
As Richard Armitage continues developing his ambassadorship for The Cybersmile Foundation, my guess is that he will naturally broaden his own understanding of the issues of bullying prevention and mitigation within a layperson’s perspective–and many of us are laypersons, unless we are professionally credentialed via law enforcement, medicine, social services professions, etc. Then as laypersons, we can turn our attention to the experts for more clinical professional advice should we ever have need of it.
And as I reflect about where the issue of being bullied intersects with my own life as Richard Armitage also shared a little bit about his own experiences in his essay–whether as an impressionable child whose appearance was not the norm (I was and am chubby, and I am a woman)–or as an adult who thought that such things as being bullied and harassed were in the long distant past–being bullied is a harrowing experience. But of my own experiences of being bullied–without details–I was able to forge ahead and get past them only because of my enormously supportive environment with teachers, friends, and family, for whom I am infinitely grateful. I had and have special people in my life who recognize my abilities, my talents, my potential, and my heart, etc. So my hard won self worth was not determined by others’ pettiness and bullying, but by myself and my accomplishments and my achievements and my life view. Yet I also realize that I am perhaps sometimes still too self deprecating in my thanking people for their kindness to me when they comment here or in my real life. And I realize that this response on my part is probably an outgrowth of my experiencing the opposite of kindness by bullies/harrassers.
But then there are those transcendant moments in life that lift you up. And I think one of the most heartfelt (and yes, kind) comments that I received recently was from a colleague who told me “I couldn’t do this without you”. That level of affirmation and acknowledgement is what we all need every once in a while to remember that we are on the right track. And I try to give that positive constructive message to others in thanking and encouraging them for their efforts and accomplishments–and for just being them. So let me say to my readers and fellow bloggers and online friends, “I couldn’t do this without you”. Hugs!
In closing, I say Bravo! again to Richard Armitage and The Cybersmile Foundation for helping to restart the conversation amongst us about preventing and mitigating cyber/bullying as well as our being more circumspect and protective of ourselves regarding our social media use. And bravo/a to bloggers reflecting upon these topics. These are always timely and thought provoking discussions.