Friday, 2 August 2013

Check your Twitterige

I've already written one blog on twitter kindness as an alternative to abuse but wanted to also lay down a thought on the forthcoming #trolliday which seeks to leave Twitter to the trolls on 4th of August.

Caitlin Moran's reasons for this are of course fine and good. There is a beauty inherent of a unified call for action and as a campainer for 5 years nothing makes me happier than to see mass engagement against the cruelty waged by one person to another.

No one can fail to be sickened by rape and death threats and latterly bomb threats; targeting women writers who are speaking out against death threats and rape threats. No one except presumably the idiots who equate notoriety (for being an asshole), with winning the X factor (fast track fame game), and have jumped on the death threat bandwagon and also upped the ante.

It's Twitter Terrorism and like all terrorism seeks to destabilise and promote fear in pursuit of an agenda.

The fine Blogger PME2013 coined the phrase 'Twitter Taliban' to describe the mobs who swoop and attack and effectively silence dissent and opposition by sheer force of numbers.
Having been on the receiving end of one of these orchestrated mobs getting hundreds of tweets which lasted several hours, I would agree.

But whether mob or individual aggressor. There is always an agenda

In this case the agenda is to silence.

I pitched the idea for this blog to an online news outlet and was told it has been written already elsewhere. News to me and also not conversant with the approach generally evidenced by the many, many pieces covering the story of Twitter abuse/block button/boycott everywhere you look, but that aside, if I'm duplicating please alert me and I'll add links to the bottom of the page.

Anyway the reason to avoid the boycott is simple. If the point of the trolliday is to highlight the use of threats to silence women or anyone on social media then to electively silence ourselves is letting them win.

Bullying on social media platforms is endemic. From gossip to ignoring people, from orchestrated campaigns, to posting intimate, private images. From Twitchfork mobs to criminal acts like harrassment, defamation, libel and death/rape threats.

People deemed 'deserving' get shafted everyday in the form of the written word.

It begins with dehumanising and it ends the same way. As I said on Radio 5 live earlier this week Twitter is the people it is populated by and we must collectively choose to refuse to participate in these behaviours.

Boycott or not but for me, having repeatedly felt broken and defeated by Twitter I know that the good people really can rise to the occasion and demonstrate that we are more than the sum of our parts.

That needs to be shouted loudly everyday.

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