Just a thought… I’ve had to learn when not to tweet. Like, you learn how to keep your mouth shut? Learn to keep your tweet shut. [@thatdanstevens (yes, that Dan Stevens, who played Matthew on Downton Abbey)]
Today Twitter is 12 years old. I’m still amazed at the number of people who aren’t on this social media platform, although I don’t blame or judge (why would I?). What I don’t understand is people who kind of sneer and say “I don’t use Twitter” (or, more often, “I don’t Twit” or something vaguely off) when they don’t know what they’re missing.
First: let’s look at the cons. Twitter has more than its share of idiots; so does the city bus that just drove by. It’s just the law of averages. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people willing to hide behind the walls of anonymity who will use their Twitter accounts to berate, to lie and to troll.
A few weeks ago, when a department of the US government said that it was going to lift the ban on the import of elephant parts for trophies, I retweeted Chelsea Clinton on the topic. As you would expect, her tone was one of surprise (Trump had backed down from a previous effort to raise the ban, due to a firestorm of reaction from people against the horrific move) and disappointment, as well as disgust.
It took only a matter of moments for a few tweets to come in, calling me names and telling me that it was “fake news” (how I hate those two words for anything someone doesn’t choose to believe is true). Of course, it was not fake news; it just hadn’t been widely circulated because that very day – probably not by coincidence – the news cycle was being dominated by Sam Nunberg, the former Trump staffer who went on every channel except the Weather Network to say he was not going to answer Robert Mueller’s questions.
So, that’s the worst of Twitter: you can be inundated with flat-out falsehoods, name-calling and the worst that humanity (or bots) have to offer.
But on the positive side, information! YOU choose who you follow, and my favourites are the Washington Post, Toronto Star, Victoria News and other informative and reliable sites. Of course, I follow entertainers I want to keep up with, as well as inspiring people and sites that give me more to think about than just the day’s headlines. Like the Parkland, Florida school shooting survivors, for example. I happily follow Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky. Their words are wise, their hearts are true and their vision is strong. I support them in every way, especially with this Saturday’s March For Our Lives.
Twitter (where you can find me @erindavis) is whatever you want it to be. When someone is obnoxious, you simply block them (or if you think they might change, mute them). You follow who you want and you can Tweet if and when you want – or not at all.
I’d give it up in a heartbeat if it meant that one @realDonaldTrump stopped Tweeting, but that bird has flown. Now, all we can do is use our voices to keep spreading truth and hope instead of lies and hate. And if we can do that in 280 characters, so much the better. Happy Birthday, Twitter. Now do more to use your powers for good, would you?