You can’t possibly have failed to notice that this last week has seen something of a furore around the subject of twitter trolls and the issue of what is and is not acceptable online behaviour. As a consequence, there are increasing calls for twitter to be regulated and even policed to clamp down on those who transgress the rules of common decency.
They are wrong. Very wrong.
Now as anyone who follows me on twitter will know I am a huge fan. To me it’s a great source of both news and amusement as well as being a fantastic way to promote my books and well, what I do. Most importantly for me at least, it’s a great way to interact with readers and it’s fair to say that I’ve made some great mates though twitter with I hope, many more to come.
However, I’ve also encountered some proper dicks over the years and received more than my share of abuse from all kinds of trolls. This last week for example, besides the usual ‘shit writer’ fair, I’ve been accused of condoning child abuse, being a child abuser, being sexist, homophobic and racist. None of which is particularly nice I’m sure you’ll agree but, and this is the crux of this whole matter, I know how to deal with it. And by that I mean me. Not twitter, not my ISP and not the police, me.
And at the heart of that is one simple statement, ‘it’s not personal, it’s twitter’.
The day you start screaming blue murder about something mean said about you by some anonymous idiot on a social networking site is the day your life begins to spiral out of control. No, it’s not nice to be accused of being a rapist and I’m fairly certain that it’s not nice to read that someone is going to rape you but by reacting, you do exactly what the person who wrote it wants you to do, take them seriously and give them power. And power is all they’re after.
This is where people are getting it wrong when they claim twitter should be clamping down on trolls. Twitter doesn’t have to. You do, as the individual.
Yes, of course there are exceptions just as there are to every rule and yes, there will be instances where the police should and must get involved. But in the main, it is your choice to react, ignore or hit the block button which twitter already provides for you to use in just such cases.
If you don’t understand that and don’t accept that in many ways, twitter is the greatest manifestation of free speech we have, then rather than scream blue murder about the need for censorship (yes, censorship) why not take control yourself and employ the ultimate sanction, delete your account.
Because you do actually have that option at your disposal and speaking as a twitter fan, if you do indeed think that twitter is there to serve you and not the other way round, then I’d urge you to do just that.
I for one won’t miss you one bit.
This last couple of weeks has seen lots of progress on the movie adaptation of Top Dog and we’ll be releasing news of what’s been going on very soon. I’ll also be able to pass on details of the brand new movie I’m working on as well as a fantastic self-publishing project!