My thoughts on #Twittersilence

It’s amazing, isn’t it?  I mean, the capacity for some of humanity to be utterly, utterly vile.  All week I’ve been reading about rape and bomb threats made to women on Twitter.  Women who dared to campaign for equality, or identify themselves as feminists, or be successful enough to have a verified Twitter account or, even it seems, just to be female and on Twitter.  Whatever.  But, of course, this isn’t something that’s unique to women. Gay people, people of colour, people with disabilities, people without disabilities, famous people, non-famous people; Trolls don’t discriminate, they’re just utter cunts.

So, some Twitter users have chosen to boycott Twitter today. Fine. Good luck to them. I didn’t.  Why?

Because I don’t think the best way to draw attention to bad behaviour is to stay silent.
Bullies love it when their victims stay silent.  The only way this has made such a shit-storm in the press this week is because people have been vocal about the abuse they’ve been receiving. Stand up and shout about it. Shame these idiots. I mean, come on. Really? What kind of ‘man’ sends a threat to rape another human being (men get rape threats too). Think about how ludicrous that is – how small, pathetic, and insecure you’d have to be to resort to that. “I have a penis, and I am stronger that you, so I am going to forceably insert it in you, because I can and it proves something about me.” Really, it’s laughable.

Because the vast majority of Twitter users are perfectly reasonable, decent human beings.
The fact that this has created such a massive shit-storm proves this. Most people are outraged by what’s going on.

Because I don’t blame Twitter for the behaviour of a small minority of its users.
Twitter is a free speech platform.  These Tweets go way beyond free speech, but there is already an existing report function for offensive/abusive/threatening behaviour. There is also the Police, who take rape, death and bomb threats very seriously. Trust me. I’ve had death threats. It wasn’t nice but the Police were awesome. Where there is a communication medium, someone will find a way to abuse it. My death threats came over the telephone, but I don’t blame BT for that –  I blame the silly, small minded, jealous woman who did them.

Because I choose not to let other people’s ridiculous behaviour affect my own.
OK – I have a massive issue with people who say ‘you really offended me when…’. No, you cannot be offended, you can only take offence. Nobody can force you to be offended by something – you make that choice yourself. People can say all the shit in the world, but if you choose to, you can laugh it off. Yes, threats of physical violence are scary and need to be dealt with by the authorities, but insults? Do you want to choose to allow that to affect your whole day – or not? When I tell people I don’t give a fuck, I’m not kidding. Why waste time worrying about what other people think? Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

Because there was something a bit painfully middle class and elitist about this boycott.
Let’s be honest, as I mentioned above, Twitter abuse isn’t old news, but now it’s affected a particular section of the ‘Twitterati’ and suddenly there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over their Fairtrade skinny lattes. Yes, I’m stereotyping – that’s fine. It’s a stereotype that I personally fit into, but I don’t feel like ‘the sisterhood’ is being attacked. I don’t feel like I need to be a member of a little club of people all doing something and screaming ‘look at meeeeee, I’m doing something‘. I want to see an end to threats to every human being. I want to see the spotlight thrown on all the dark corners, on every little dirty troll hiding behind a keyboard. I want to see positivity, support, genuine appreciation and respect for our multitude of differences put out there.

I want to see people being decent to each other, for fuck’s sake.

Is that too much to ask?


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