I do not normally reblog from someone’s site but at times I make an exception…..this one cuts to the heart of what I say a lot and I want to share it with my readers…..it is a piece written by Matilda Murday on a site titled Practical Pinko………
Twitter is a big place; its users hold the full spectrum of opinions, political leanings and religions. You’ll be hard pressed to find even a handful of people who will agree on every topic and, frankly, that’s the way it should be. Twitter is not representative of any one single group. Can you just imagine how dull it would be if it was?
One of the best things about Twitter is that you can step outside of the limited group of people you are normally exposed to, access totally new groups, make new friends and discover a world with greater diversity than you knew before. But, every time someone steps outside of their comfort zone, be it online or offline, they are at risk of hearing things that may shock or disturb them. Often on Twitter different worlds are colliding, but there’s more to it than that. Twitter is still very new and as a species we’re not quick learners. Getting used to an entirely new way of socialising is proving difficult for us, we’re losing our ability to hold back. Perhaps it’s the instantaneous nature of Twitter, or the constant mob we know will encourage and support us no matter how wrong we may be, that leads us to type out in 140 characters things that most sane people would never dream of saying.
Famously this lack of reserve has led to a young man being arrested for tweeting deeply racist remarks about a footballer. But if that tweeter had been writing about someone less famous those tweets would probably have remained uncensored. Being protected against abuse still remains a privilege of the few and a dream for the many. Since Twitter is very reluctant, rightly in my opinion, to censor their users, and your average Joe can’t rely on the police to step in to fight their battles, to survive Twitter you must have a thick skin.
What’s more, even if the Tweeter has no malicious intent, the limitation of characters strips the nuance from what people are saying, a famous example of this problem being Diane Abbots tweets regarding post-riot race relations. How do people go about explaining complex thoughts with such limitations? Well, it’s an art form that some people are simply better at, for everyone else it’s a matter of vigilance and, possibly, apologies. Even if there were no limitations on how much you could say, 93% of human communication is non-verbal, so in any written context there’s a massively increased chance for misunderstanding what people are saying. Even if no offense is meant the chances of dispute are high.
Real offence does happen, some people are just not particularly nice people, they like upsetting people and go out of their way to do so. There is only one way to avoid this, set your account to private and only communicate with people you know. Personally, although what people tweet can occasionally be shocking, I have no desire to do this. I don’t find the abuse terribly upsetting and it’s the access to new and varied people that I enjoy. A private account would take away the part of Twitter I enjoy the most, for that I’m willing to accept a bit of flack. I also believe that it’s good to hear feedback on what you’re saying and people have a right to react in whatever way they feel they would like to. If I don’t like their reaction or I think they’re offensive I also have the right to tell them that and react however I see fit. I don’t believe I have ever blocked anyone but if an individual began a campaign against me I might, although of course they are free to start a new account and start again. Luckily this hasn’t happened to me, perhaps if it did I would change my mind about my privacy settings, I don’t know.
Sadly for some people the campaigns launched against them on Twitter or Facebook have proved too much and there have been suicides, particularly amongst teenagers. I can only imagine the sadness and horror experienced by the friends and families of these victims. Please try to understand that people react to the same things in totally different ways, think before you tweet. Imagine yourself saying what you are tweeting to the person’s face, if you can’t imagine saying it you probably shouldn’t tweet it.
For everyone else, try not to take the abuse personally, everyone experiences it, and for heaven’s sake don’t feed the trolls.
I agree with her….civility is the key to solving problems….without it we have slogans with NO solutions…..