Friday 6 November 2015

Time for Cyclists to Snipe Back?

And the response to these hate pieces is ever more jaded, its like cyclists are so used to being beaten about the head with this crap that they just give up. And its interesting that many of those who were most vocal years ago are now amongst the most jaded, and while there's a steady stream of new people sharing outrage there's a sort of progression, a seral succession whereby members of the online community move from enthusiastic outrage to thick-skinned via. tetchy, cynical and jaded. 

So another whack-a-mole trollumnist comes along, is hammered, will no doubt feign offence at how these aggressive cyclists have treated her, and we go back to square 1.

Something thats really hard to get across to activists in other areas is that for the most part, if you ask someone who cycles who or what they are, they don't say 'cyclist'. Yeah, we get about by bike, but we don't usually identify as cyclist. That identity is in other peoples minds. And that means that most cyclists aren't up for a fight about this stuff - it makes cyclists one of the softest targets for this kind of hate, because we're a demographic that doesn't mobilise behind the same banner. We don't recognise the banner that they believe defines us. 

When I look at articles like this I'm particularly reminded of how media have turned on other social out-groups in the past, particularly gamers, and their response was both simple and, initially outstandingly successful. By complaining en masse to sponsors of sites that they perceived as overtly critical of them, those gamers very quickly achieved most of their goals.

Their five-step approach - consult a list of those who've posted 'hate', define whats offensive, pick articles or related postings that exemplify this, plug this in to defined emails sent to the publication itself and to sponsors who advertise therein, and keep doing it ('be an annoying little shit') worked on their own press, but had far less impact on the broader media (which still loves its gamer stereotype).

Can we go one step further? We're a broad demographic - can we succeed in the wider arena of the mass media where gamers failed?

Can we go further than inept twitter outrage and consolidate the cycling community behind a campaign to change how we're portrayed?

No comments:

Post a Comment