Earlier this week I was involved in a Twitter discussion. Nothing major, no more than 7 tweets or so, but it’s left me so wound up I could hardly speak. Did someone accuse me of something actionable? No. Did someone tell me I should be raped for sharing my thoughts? No. But they did leave me with the total belief that Twitter…really isn’t working anymore.
Recently social networks have gone from being places where people share, to places known almost solely for the number of lawsuits attached to their users. In the last week I’ve seen more tweeters than I can count being abruptly rounded on by dozens of others, for saying something they didn’t agree with. Not people spreading hate, but just everyday tweeters sharing thoughts that weren’t necessarily “I love @XX, she’s queen of the world”. People who’ve questioned an individual’s endorsements, or a meal at a restaurant, getting targeted by countless others accusing them of bitching or bullying or both, and I’m left gaping. What is the point of Twitter if we don’t make it a discussion, a conversation? There’s DMs after all. If you want to have a private conversation, have it um….privately? Don’t snap at people who join in if you make a statement public. Why are there tweeters out there who think every opinion they make has to be met solely with applause and arse-scratching retweets?
And to clarify, no I don’t think you should be able to bully, spread hate, or do anything else that would be illegal in person (and is on Twitter, if only people did something more than hit the ‘report spam’ button), but seriously, aren’t we just letting the trolls win, if Twitter becomes a place where noone can actually politely engage their bona fide opinions anymore for fear of being witch-hunted?
Perhaps I’ve had too long a day in t’office, but isn’t conversation what umm…Twitter is about? Isn’t it?
(Post-script note: following conversation with the persons involved that formed this post, some elements have been sent to the angry dome in the sky)