When Twitter came out a few years ago – with Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres being celeb pioneers – I thought it was a pretty sad concept.
Sad, as in loser sad.
I mean. It just seemed so absurd to me. You had 140 characters to speak your mind, so I just assumed the quality of tweets would be akin to those irritating Facebook status updates. You know, stuff like Ugh. I Feel so fat today or This weather sucks balls! or Just had the best cappuccino. Here’s a pic!
I wondered if we really needed another social media platform for people to be able to just thought-vomit?
How things change.
It’s 2014 and I’m a total tweet-vomiter. Or maybe not. Actually, I hope I’m not. But I love to Tweet. And I love to read Tweets.
And I totally discovered that Twitter and Social Media is not at all sad, or bad. And people often have really great things to say. Intelligent things. Funny things. Thoughtful things. Sometimes, I even have tweet envy. I read an awesome tweet and think that was so perfectly constructed and totally rad and so I retweet it.
Spread the Twitter love, people.
And it’s my go-to for news. My timeline contains not only daily, breaking news, but the 140-character opinions of intelligent tweeps I follow as well. It’s like a mammoth news forum that keeps you stimulated and thinking every time you have a sticky beak.
It can also be totally hilarious. If you find other tweeps with similar interests (shout out to the Real Housewives of Twitter) it can keep you highly entertained when you have a few spare minutes in your frantic day to talk a bit of smack and have a laugh.
I once worked at an airport
And I used to think that people were just arseholes because they are travelling and rushing and panicked and freaking out and maybe even scared of planes.
And I would forgive the 83rd person for the day that hurled abuse at me because they had to leave their nail clippers behind because airports bring out the worst in people and I’m sure they are lovely at home.
But then I became active on social media and quickly realised that no, airports do not bring out the worst in people. Social Media does.
Another one bites the dust
Sunday saw the first ever Real Housewives of Melbourne Reunion aired – with designer Alex Perry as the host. And while I – as a totally devoted Real Housewives fanatic – too found it weird to watch Alex try reign in the crazy (given I’m a huge fan of Andy Cohen, the reunion host of the US versions) I think he did a pretty decent job at it.
But apparently others didn’t agree and within 24 hours his twitter account was closed.
Defining a troll
What exactly is a troll? Andrea Moss, a Real Housewife of Melbourne, mentioned at the reunion that she had learned to cope with Twitter Trolls and has even made them come around once they know the facts.
Which leads me to wonder if she’s referring to Trolls as those that simply disagree with her, or real, proper, vicious Trolls that relentlessly attack using the power of their anonymity.
Real Trolls don’t come around. They take pleasure in vile outbursts aimed at those they don’t know and without valid reason.
Real Trolls don’t just disagree with you. They can wish you harm; they can threaten your life. They can say things that they wouldn’t dream of, face to face, without the comforts of their keyboard, tablet, phone and obvious sadness and/or insecurities that made them this bitter and twisted.
Twitter and Social Media are magnificent tools but do we pay a price for freedom of speech?
With every tweet that rocks my world, I see one that mortifies me.
With every tweet that links me to an article or blog that will touch my heart or make me belly laugh, I’ll see one that riles me up to the point of day ruined.
Social media give us the power to be publishers, and because it’s just so easy to speak our minds, we often do it with no filter. We have the ability to immediately (and often innocently) publish our poor experience at a restaurant in 140 characters – but where does that leave the hard working owners that just happen to have a dud waitress? We can criticise the weight gain of a celebrity – but where does that leave regular people really struggling with their own body image?
I often write about the power of words. And I’m not naive enough to think this post will make a difference to any troll that may stumble across it because to them, perhaps spewing hate gets them through the day. As awful and horrifying as that sounds.
But how wonderful would social media be if we thought about every Tweet and Facebook comment like we would as a guest at a dinner party – where our words are a representation of ourselves, as people.
Have you had any experience with Social Media trolls? Or are you one and WHY, PUNK?All comments read, appreciated and responded to. So thank you x