Why yes, that would be me. I am good at boycotting things.
It’s time to do it again and I encourage you, should you be so moved, to join me.
What had happened was (yes, please take a seat: a short rant is about to ensue), I was wandering through the un-hallowed halls of Facebook and came upon a post by a friend and fellow writer who I believe in, support, and trust. She described an incident briefly as such:
When a guy on twitter sent me hundreds of direct messages asking for naked photos, and threatening to cut me if I didn’t comply, Twitter did nothing even when I told them I wasn’t the only girl affected. I posted a reply to his one public comment to me — a magical wand I photoedited to say “poof, you don’t exist to me.” and I was banned for a week for death threats.
Policy hasn’t changed, but it needs to. And more importantly, I believe it can.
Here’s hoping a little silence makes some noise.
Can I point out two things here?
- ‘… a guy on twitter sent me hundreds of direct messages asking for naked photos, and threatening to cut me if I didn’t comply, Twitter did nothing even when I told them I wasn’t the only girl affected’
- ‘I posted a reply to his one public comment to me — a magical wand I photoedited to say “poof, you don’t exist to me.” and I was banned for a week for death threats’
Yeah, feel me?
She went on to describe how 1) she wasn’t the only one who has experienced this unbalance from Twitter and 2) there seems an inherent pattern of allowing bullying on the site, where women are punished for speaking out about mistreatment.
Problems, all round.
In the larger universe, some good things have come from Twitter … I know activists who have been able to mobilize for important causes based on 170 characters at a time. However, as a woman and one who is part of the Global Majority of people considered to be on the marginalized side of the tracks, I abhor mistreatment of any kind.
Hence the boycott.
And I don’t mean just for a day, today. I’m done.
I deactivated my account and disconnected my tendrils (AKA, my professional portfolio blog, this space, and my Hootsuite and Creator Collabs accounts. I am sure I have others, but in my present fury, those are the primary ones I use anyway. And are the ones I remember right now).
Like so many other things in the world, Twitter survives on users who, for the most part, exist because of word-of-mouth. How many businesses have you seen fail because customers started complaining and told two friends who told two friends, and so on (I’ve heard that somewhere before … timewarp to the 1970s, anyone?) until the joint closed its doors for good? Yep, it happens and it does not require an angry mob (or even one angry Hulk). Quietly voicing dismay, disappointment, or hurt and leaving the scene is sufficient.
Do I think that deactivating my account will turn off Twitter? Do I think the silent goings-away of my friends and their friends and so on will turn off Twitter’s lights? Nope and nope.
But it just might, if enough of us take a knee on this one (big ups, Kaepernick — I don’t do football much but if I did, I wouldn’t. You know what I mean).
Any place that would put the cuffs on my friend for speaking out against mistreatment is problematic and I don’t want to be associated with it.
Boycott begins today. If you need to find me out in the interwebz, look for me here, or on Facebook. ‘Bye, Twitter.