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?