What the Hell is Going On with People on Twitter

What the hell is going on with people on Twitter?  I do have a twitter account but remain relatively quiet or non-expressive on many things.  That is mainly because of the sheer amount of outrage I see posted there on a daily basis.  Some of this outrage is warranted.  However, much of it is over nothing.  For example, someone posting an opposite view on an issue can frequently reach a death spiral resulting in the original author being called out and harassed.  Worse yet they will receive terrible DM's threatening violence, rape, or just outright lambasting them for their view.  This behavior happens across the political spectrum and extends well into non-political matters.  

Someone I follow posted an innocuous joke that was not politically, racially or sexually charged.  However, the mob decided that the joke was wrongthink and sent threatening DM's of all shapes and sizes.  This type of overreaction is dangerous.  While there is nothing wrong with having opposing viewpoints and debating a point.  It is another thing entirely to threaten someone because you don't like what they said.  

There are several way that this behavior instantiates itself. Some examples: 

  1. Someone posts something deliberately controversial on twitter then claims harassment whenever someone respectfully challenges their viewpoint.
  2. Someone posts something on twitter that angers the mob and they get harassing and threatening responses and DM's
  3. Someone get lambasted for the way they look or other non tweet related issues
  4. Someone posted something controversial on twitter and gets death threats
  5. Guys sending dickpics to female users

One of the things I find very annoying is someone who deliberately tweets a controversial point on twitter and then claims they are being harassed when someone responds with an opposite viewpoint.  Especially when their initial viewpoint is itself calling someone else out.  The level of victimization here is staggering. I often find that the same people who claim this type of harassment are harassers themselves.  Ready to spring into action every time a point THEY disagree with is raised.  Claims of fostering online harassment are met with online harassment by those claiming to be victimized and their allys. 

It's as if the hive mind of twitter users are just poised to spring into outrage at the slightest misstep or errant tweet. As I said earlier, this outrage machine spans the political and ideological spectrum. I see people on the right freak out about people on left.  People on the left freak out about people on the right.  Basically, it seems that everyone is freaking out about *something*.

~b


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