Question: When the past arrives unannounced, how will you cope?
The last thing you really need on the first week back into work of 2018 is the reminder of how someone decided to abuse you anonymously. That’s what I got on Wednesday however, when a Pornbot favourited the Tweet above, thus making it reappear in my timeline. Staggeringly for me came the realisation that THIRTEEN other fake accounts had done the same, but because I cleared out my block/mute filters at the start of the year, I’d never seen it. PING, there it was again, sitting in my timeline. It reminded me of a number of people responsible for a tirade of abuse during that period of my Twitter ‘career’ whom were all unfollowed for the same reason.
Their use of this platform was, and still is, disturbing.
I reported it to Twitter of course but nothing happened, and on reflection it is no surprise. There’s no genuine threat, just a bunch of vitriolic abuse, undoubtedly meant to make the author feel better about their abandonment. This is the reason why, when I follow people, I now take time to check their Twitter followers. If all I find are accounts for female streamers, Twitch partners and women-only sports teams, plus a bunch of porn bots, I’m sorry but I will be arbitrarily judging your life choices based on harrowing previous experience. It is also fairly likely you’ll be unfollowed in short order.
There’s also a certain type of Twitter user for whom the platform is an extension of their ego: this isn’t just limited to male users, either… in fact there are many women whom seem to live under the apprehension that Social media allows the them to become judge and jury of all misdemeanours and personal shortcomings. I’m not on Twitter for the popularity contest. This is NOT about how many people I can mention in a #FF post. This is where I work, and live with people who I’m grateful respect me and took the time to grasp that I too have shortcomings. That’s why this platform works best when you remember it is called Social media for a reason.
Once it is established the Universe does not revolve around any one individual, life gets easier for everybody. Of course this makes those whose gravity has been savaged often more than a little aggrieved, but in time you can become surprisingly adept at dealing with the fallout. There’s also the reminder at this point that if you’re kopping abuse for your work, then it’s still exposure… the question then becomes what you do with that. For me, this blast from the past is a reminder of how far I’ve travelled since that point. It made me stronger and all the more determined to keep going.
It has also made me think that perhaps, at least in the last few months, Twitter may be making some inroads into curbing the number of abusive accounts allowed on the platform, plus the number of robots. Certainly I am seeing a marked decrease in the number of ‘random’ follows from accounts with no real association with anything I do. Using hashtags was normally a sure-fire means of pulling odd accounts with massive numbers of followers to my door, but now that does not happen. It makes me think it might be time to resurrect the Great Social media Experiment for another year.
As part of my Hashtag Series there’s a good chance you’ll see posts on Social media, written from the point of view of someone who’s close to having made 200,000 tweets. This has become a vital and significant part of my growth strategy, and the means by which I write and work. Twitter is a hugely useful platform for change and revolution, but only if you grasp how it works best. I’m still staggered at the way some companies refuse to use it as a force for good, or simply ignore the impact a lack of instant response can have in the modern world.
I learnt my lesson back in 2016: saying nothing is a perfectly valid response if you don’t want to fuel a fire. Looking back, it was absolutely the best course of action.