I’ve been off Twitter for the last few days – to be more accurate, I’ve been on it a lot less than before. Part of it is just taking advantage of the modicum of digital detox that the recent holiday provided but mainly I’ve become disillusioned with Twitter’s response to the abusive and grossly threatening tweets being sent to women who dare to pop their head over the parapet.
Let’s be clear: I still think Twitter amplifies stupidity rather than creates it, and while I find it very hard to get inside the mentality of a keyboard warrior who thinks it’s acceptable to threaten someone with rape, I’m not naive enough to think it’s never going to happen.
My main beef is Twitter – the company and one of its employees in particular – and its pathetic and incredibly slow response. It just reeks badly of risk-managed corporate bullshit behaviour designed to protect the company’s interests over those of its users, notwithstanding that in the long run, any idiot knows those interests should be the same.
The initial shit storm blew up last Friday and it wasn’t until Monday that Twitter UK responded. Now, the delay may have been down to people not working over the weekend. If so, shame on them for not recognising the importance of a timely response. More likely, I expect the delay was down to a massive amount of internal reviews by management and lawyers to squeeze any ounce of humanity out of the statement to ensure as little commitment as possible could be made while at the same time appearing to give a shit.
I don’t expect miracles to happen right away but it would have been great if a human statement could have been made along the lines of “Tweets that threaten rape are simply unacceptable and we will do everything we can to work with the police to help bring the people who sent the abusive tweets to account. We’ll also make it our highest priority to look at how we can this kind of situation arising again.”
So at the moment, I’m out of love with Twitter because I just find how they’ve handled the situation with Caroline Criado-Perez, to pinch the understatement from Yvette Cooper, ‘inadequate’. I realise I’m connected to some really great people on Twitter, and it’s not like I’ve been trolled too much myself, so I haven’t flounced off (yet), but Twitter’s a really tarnished brand for me right now and, given that part of me is looking for excuses to disconnect, I’m teetering on the brink.
If I stick around, it’ll be mainly because of the positive side of Twitter but, to be honest, partly because it’s part of my job to be up to speed with Twitter and the ilk. So I guess that would make me a whore. C’est la vie, c’est la capitalisme.
Anyway, to put a slightly more positive spin on this, have a read of Hadley Freeman in the Guardian, writing on ‘How to use the internet without being a total loser.
Despite the internet being several decades old (its exact age depends where you look it up on, funnily enough, the internet), some people still don’t know how to use it without being a total loser … [s]o let’s have a quick lesson in how not to be a dick on the internet.
And it may be worth checking out Happier, a, well, happier social network.