Team Reality - Fighting the Pandemic of the Uninformed
History will repeat itself - unless we make sure it does not.
When I started my Twitter account, I made a pledge - that I was going to deactivate it when “life returns to normal”. Every once in a while, I thought about this promise and whether it was time…
Then one of these times, it struck me: I was going to deactivate my account, and all my tweets would be lost. Forever. Many others in Team Reality would do the same. Even if they don’t delete their accounts, they would eventually stop using them or would get banned (like happened to many people in the past two years). One way or another, almost everything we had written over the past two years to fight the insanity would be lost…
Many times during the past two years, I have seen numerous instances of someone replying to one of my tweets and saying how myself and others in Team Reality were helpful in keeping them sane. Our tweets gave people assurance that they were not alone in calling out the insanity. They communicated unfiltered data and gave them hysteria-free information. Unlike some “experts” on social media, unlike the likes of CNN et. al., unlike some governors or mayors, our tweets did not try to scare people but instead tried to calm them down, to alleviate their fears, to assure them that life would go on. Many people clung to them during some of the worst times of their lives. Besides, those tweets were our “we told you so” evidence that we would use when the collateral damage from the insanity is still going on ten or fifteen or twenty years from now. They were simply too precious to let go.
So I asked people who follow me (I still cannot say “my followers” - sounds weird) if they would like a keepsake with tweets from Team Reality, given another motivation would be to just leave everything behind and forget COVID. The response was ~70% positive, so I then asked which accounts they would like to see included in the book and built a list. Then I started reaching out to people, asking if they would let me use their tweets in the book.
Many people quickly responded affirmatively, while a few had to say no for personal or professional reasons. Then there were several people I simply couldn’t reach because they either did not accept direct messages or never read them. Eventually, I had my list and started curating their tweets. Some people wanted to send their tweets to me. Most asked me to pick for them. I tried several filters and search terms to find the right tweets, which was important because I wanted the tweets to reflect each person’s voice and their most significant contribution to the conversation. I tried to do my best, which took more time than I was anticipating, but in the end, I believe I did a decent job.
My original plan was to order the tweets such that there would be pages dedicated to each person. Then I realized that the tweets I was curating were telling the story of the pandemic. They were history. History that should not be allowed to repeat again, ever. I realized that it would make more sense to order the book in a timeline instead, which would take even more time but would tell the story more compellingly. While curating the tweets, I tried to ensure that every prominent event that happened throughout the pandemic was covered in the book. The initial panic. The summer of protests that were not banned but instead encouraged. The initial southern surge that was blamed on the governors, then the winter one that was not blamed on the governors. Denial of seasonality and natural immunity. Double/triple-masking saga. School closures. Vaccine mandates. … I wanted everything to be in the book.
I will admit that even though I worked really hard to tell the story from every angle, the book probably reflects my read of the pandemic. There are probably more tweets covering issues I paid more attention to. However, I think this is what being an author or curator means: telling people a story from your point of view. That was the role I played in putting this book together. I hope that you will find the story I put together valuable. Valuable as a lesson. Valuable as a piece of history. Valuable as a keepsake. Valuable as evidence that even when everyone acts insanely, there were people who were able to call that “the emperor had no clothes”. Valuable as proof that as long as there is at least one person who has the courage to say this, that courage will grow and eventually overtake the insanity.
I truly hope that we never go through something like this again. The harms caused by our unmeasured response will be felt for generations. I also hope that if something like this ever happens again, my book will inspire people to have the courage to fight back.
See the link below for the book: