Our Changing Trollscape:
Or My New Year's Goals for 2021
I can’t tell you how much I don’t believe in the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Or maybe I should say, I can tell you quite emphatically that I don’t believe New Year’s resolutions are usually that effective. I can give you all kinds of evidence to support my attitude about resolutions in general, especially on super-charged occasions like the start of a new year, but I think instead I will just cut to the chase, because while resolutions don’t do much for me, I am a Type A person and I place a lot of value on productivity, so I’ll say that I sidestep the issue by reframing what might otherwise be called a “resolution” as a “goal” and doing it pretty much any time of the year. Works for me.
Ever the contrarians, John and I went vegan on February 1, 1995, that is how much I don’t believe in the solemn January 1 resolution, and maybe that is part of why it stuck.
All these years later, I feel like I am always refining, buffing and trying to improve my vegan practice; at this point, it’s like micro-movements rather than sweeping changes, but even these seemingly small tweaks can feel like a lot. It is both easy and tempting to not stray too far from our comfort zones, but I think it’s worth looking into how I can breathe new life into my expression of veganism, to keep it fresh and dynamic for myself but also improve it.
My goal with regard to my veganism in 2021 is to stop wasting my attention on those who don’t really deserve it. I’m pretty sure that I reaffirm a vow to do this every year - heck, every day - but it deserves to be underscored: I will not be arguing with people anymore on social media. In the past, this would be a meat-eater who was content to waste my time with predictable but still hurtful jabs. What is very different these days is that now our primary trolls are not bacon enthusiasts and dairy farmers but other vegans.
Heh. Let that sink in. Heck, let me italicize that for effect: Most of our trolls are other vegans.
From people who believe that Black Lives Matter is reverse-racism to those who think the coronavirus is a hoax, we are bombarded with vegan trolls and haters all the time, but especially when we pivot away from vegan-exclusive content. This is not to say I won’t ever argue back at some misguided troll who tells me to “stay in my lane” when I amplify other social justice or important causes (my lane, presumably, is one lined exclusively with vegan cupcakes and cashew cheese) but I will do my best to ascertain when it is no longer productive to engage. The researchers of this large study on productively arguing online found that some back-and-forth exchanges on social media and comment threads can be fine, but anything past three or four exchanges and your chance of being persuasive becomes quite low. So, yes, I am officially recommitting: I may post rebuttals to disinformation or unfair accusations for other observers, but I refuse to give my precious attention to those whose modus operandi is to confuse, redirect, obfuscate and promote disinformation.
If you find me engaging, feel free to intervene. It’s sad to realize that most of my trolls are other vegans, but I guess it’s healthy to not be in denial.
Do you have a vegan goal for 2021? Or do you have a favorite way of dealing with vegan trolls?
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