Have A Voice, Be Silent

I don’t usually say anything on high-profile or emotive topics doing the rounds on the internet. I stay out of the discussion on purpose. All too often I have seen a wave of anger swell up on Twitter and there be repercussions. Actions taken by people in power because they believe Twitter is the voice of all. I don’t believe it is and though I have seen it used for great good, for instance in the London riots when people used it to meet up and help put communities back together, I have also seen it used as a tool of destruction and the people who take to it as a medium to voice their opinion have little knowledge of how powerful that group voice can be.

It is hard to stay out of some discussions. The descriptor, emotive, says it all. I have to switch off.

But. There are times when staying out of it, just doesn’t feel right. Standing by and watching that very tool be used as a weapon against a single person, not an organisation or a government, but a single solitary person, well, that’s just not what I’m about. So I’m not going to stick my head in the virtual sand and let all this blow over and carry on doing my “social” thing. Today I shall have a voice and say here, on my blog, that we must, each and every one of us, think about our actions and what we think is acceptable. It is not just “The Internet”. Behind every word and every tweet we see, is a person. Behind this blog, is a person.

Would you sit by in your local coffee shop and watch 50 people in the space of an hour, walk up to a solitary female and threaten to kill her and rape her? They don’t intend to do it, but from across the table from her, they say the words. She’s not at risk. It’s just words. Do you carry on sitting and typing? Is this acceptable behaviour and do we want to be a part of this?

We are a part of something. When Twitter is reported upon by the press, it is us who make it up. Twitter does not have the number of users that Facebook does, so when people who don’t use it, sneer at Twitter users and how animal like they are, they are talking about us. You. Me.

All this because a female, Criado-Perez managed to get Jane Austen on the new ten pound note. Criado-Perez paid for this heinous crime with death and rape threats of about 50 an hour on Twitter.

There are lots of discussions going on now about how to address this. One is to have a Twitter silence tomorrow. I will not use Twitter tomorrow. It is us, you and me, who make Twitter what it is. Let’s just take a moment of silence to voice our disgust and outrage that this could not be stopped quickly. You use Twitter. What do you think?

31 thoughts on “Have A Voice, Be Silent

  1. I don’t think it was about Jane Austen. I think it’s about a lot of things but not really her in specific, or, at least, only what she personifies: being female. Some of it, in my opinion, is social contagion. Some of it is misogyny. I also think there is a lot of people jumping on a person in the way that bullies do, because they represent an easy target. In that way, people, via a combination of projection and displacement, use another person to vent their own various rages. Often these have nothing to do with the actual case in point. I think this is what we have here. It’s similar to what’s been going on with Mary Beard. Very sad.

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    1. I don’t think it’s about Austen but her gender was what made Criado-Perez a target. It’s been an awful week on the Internet. There has been an obvious pack mentality and I don’t think Twitter in general has come out of it well. Your psychology education shines through in your analytical response πŸ™‚

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      1. Thank you. It’s a great post, Rebecca. You haven’t said anything here that millions of other people don’t agree with. I know what you mean about wading in on stuff … but sometimes you/we have to, and I do too. Often things push me to a point where I feel I have to say my piece. I was reading some of the stuff earlier about Mary Beard. I’ve had a friend staying this week and haven’t really followed the news. It is awful. There are a lot of angry, unhappy people out there. I looked on her Twitter feed and she’s still receiving death threats now. It’s completely bonkers and really makes me sad.

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      2. The problem with speaking up while its happening is we just end up adding to the noise, which is why I’ve come over to the blog to do it. It is an awfully sad state of affairs. So many people involved. So many capable of saying those things, without thought or care. Eloquent was the word I was looking for in my last response!

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  2. The whole virtual world seems to have given some inadequates a place to behave in ways they would never have the courage to do in ‘real’ life. I will also be staying off Twitter tomorrow, but then I rarely use open networking anyway and certainly not for expressing an opinion – I don’t like the pack mentality and superficiality that tends to pervade it. And I hate that they misuse the important concept of free speech to justify their behaviour. Great post – thank you for airing the subject! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Fiction Fan. I agree that they do hide behind their computers and devices and probably wouldn’t dream of saying such things if they didn’t have that perceived anonymity. Whatever people have chosen to do today, it has raised awareness of what can happen in a pack in a place such as Twitter.

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  3. I don’t know anything about it. I have minimal influence, but I “rebuke” for lack of better word, anyone for tweets which I think are too much, or inappropriate or whatever. Your comments are reasonable and rational, and I like to believe that sensible people like you and me, are in the majority in the Twittersphere. Good on you for taking a stand.

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    1. Thank you. I think we are generally in the majority but there have been a lot of nasty haters against female twitter users this week. It’s made the news because of the seriousness of it all. I think the users believe they are anonymous. And it gives them added bravery to join in with the pack. It’s made me sad today. Many people are upset and anxious about it all.

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  4. I was shocked to read the story of this poor woman. What a dreadful state of affairs. Those who threatened her should be punished. Twitter is a great place to meet friends but enemies need nipping in the bud asap by admin! I tend to sit quiet and not rock the boat, but this has me riled and I am not sure I will be able to stay on the sidelines much longer.

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    1. It is those admins who the Twitter silence is aimed at. The monsters who make threats really don’t care. The good thing about today is that it has people talking. The sad thing is that it’s not always in agreement. It’s an emotive topic. I’m quite glad I stayed off today.

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  5. I had not heard of this. I did see Twiter ( which I don’t use, so I can not say from experience) has put a report button up which led to an arrest, but I am not sure if it’s the same case. It’s absolutely hideous to think that people do such a thing. It’s cowardice.
    I was absolutely thrilled to hear Jane will be on the tenner though. πŸ™‚

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    1. I do think Twitter are attempting to react now. It’s about time. But saying that. I heard on the evening news today that rape threats are still ongoing on twitter. Very very sad. I hope Twitter have come up to the mark.

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  6. I agree that the aggressive tweets were inappropriate and unacceptable (not to say ridiculous), and agree that we should comment. I’d like to see it removed from the gender debate, though — plenty of inappropriate tweets go on within and between the sexes but overall, there should be a consensus that everyone should show each other a basic level of respect on the internet. By making it a gender issue, even if the latest uproar is based on that, we encourage a divide between the sexes (and vilify “men” when the vast majority are both blameless and pleasant) and we distance the blame from the individuals responsible. The people who sent the aggressive tweets didn’t do so on behalf of “men” — they did so on behalf of themselves, as individuals. They, personally, must be held accountable.

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    1. Unfortunately I don’t think you can take gender out of this weeks events when it was rape threats. I agree not all nastiness on there is men and no, we know not all men are the same. It hasn’t shown our human race in a very good light though.

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      1. Yeah, agree you can’t take gender out of this week’s issues, just thinking the boycott should be to make Twitter aware that it needs to moderate all aggressive (sexist/racist/other awful) behaviour.

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  7. I’m doing the Twitter silence …and have told Twitter. Have also left positive messages on Twitter timeline of Caroline and Stella. I had the ”joy” of a troll last week – someone decided my campaign to save my community’s green space and our rare wildlife (if you follow my blog you know all about this) was ”worthy” of their opinion as to what sort of a ****** ***** I was. Responded by sharing my opinion as to the size and function of his lower appendage and the contents of his head, and blocked him. See, I’m sure it was a him. There’s a world of stuff to be thought about as to why trolls are 90% male. Internet porn, Lads Mags and parenting boys come to mind.

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    1. I did see some of your blogs about your green space. What is it with people who just have to butt in and can’t be happy to let people do things they see as good?! Small minds. It’s a sad world. Sad, sad world.

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  8. A brilliant article and very well said. I’m afraid I couldnt get behind Twitter Silence, my personal opinion is that Silence is the very last thing we need on this subject – although I can see the opposite point of view and indeed applaud all those taking part. The point is to do what your heart feels is right. Either way the cause is the same. Twitter Silence has worked very well in bringing the issue to the fore – Twitter silence has been trending all day. People speaking out. Giving an opinion. And there has been hardly any negativity that I’ve seen. So in fact. Twitter silence was actually twitter noise – so much noise in fact that many people who don’t use social networking, or have not been affected in this way are sitting up and realising it can be a real issue. . Its garnered publicity for the online bullying/threats problem. So no matter the original intention. A resounding success I would say. πŸ™‚

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  9. Completely agree. There are times for silence and times when it is our civic duty to speak out. That said, I also agree with many of the comments. Misogyny is still alive and well – even in the western, co-called civilized world.

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    1. Thanks Yvonne. It really doesn’t feel very civilised right now. It feels pretty much out of control. And it’s not just a few. A pack mentality has erupted and its as though they think its a fun game. It’s awful to watch.

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  10. I came in from Glynis’ page. I was startled to hear about this story in one of the papers yesterday.

    We like tto think of ourselves as civilized, but there are days that just goes right out the window.

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    1. Thank you for coming by William. It is awful isn’t it, to think we are civilized and we pride ourselves on how far we have come as human beings, to see it all boil down to such base threats as those that have been made. It is sad.

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