Like most people, I was confused when I first started using Twitter. It seemed ridiculous, communicating in short bursts like that. I didn’t even really text at the time.
Very quickly I figured out that Twitter was a place I needed to be as someone who was working monitoring the media. The Parliamentary Press Gallery was all over Twitter, and many of them were posting their stories there before I ever would have seen them otherwise. Being on Twitter became a place I had to be.
And even when I went on mat leave, I kept using Twitter. I credit it with helping me through post-partum, because even on days when I couldn’t get myself together to get out of the house, I could still connect with people online and have conversations. Not just conversations, but understanding.
Slowly but surely the people that I met on Twitter became friends. I met many of them in person, I’ve worked with some of them, volunteered for others, and had playdates with many. I even went to blogger conferences to meet and talk to these wonderful women in person. I have had the chance to see some of them change their lives.
One of these friends once told me that she wished she could be confident like me. I thought no, you’re thinking of online Amy. Online Amy expresses herself much better than in-person Amy. But, in fact, who I can be online has changed the person that I am day to day. That person, I think, is who I have always been when I’m alone.
She’s still more articulate though. The ability to edit does that.
I still love Twitter, though many people have moved on. I love interacting with the news there, I rant there, I still have great conversations there, and I get to hear voices that I don’t necessarily hear anywhere else. But.
But Twitter is often a hateful, awful place. There are people there that spew racist, sexist, homophobic trash day in and day out. There are people who threaten to hurt, maim or kill other people. There are women who can’t look at their mentions because they are filled with angry, idiotic men who are threatening to rape and murder them and their families. Because she said something they didn’t like. Because she had an opinion at all. Sometimes just because she existed.
Honestly, if Twitter has taught me anything recently is that there are people who will hate you no matter what you do or don’t do, and Twitter has become their arena to speak hate and display their total idiocy without fear of reprisal. I mean, there is one obvious example.
And something else that has become clear is that Twitter really doesn’t care about the abuse being hurled at members of their community. Well, that’s not true. Sometimes they do act and sometimes they ignore, and it seems that often when they do act it is against someone whose actions pale in comparison to what others are doing.
Now, this is not just a Twitter problem, lord knows Facebook is filled with racism and misogyny and hate, but this one step, boycotting Twitter today, is just the first step.
If we don’t call them out on this, then we’ve done nothing, and I can’t do nothing any more.