My thoughts on the #TwitterSilence

It is without a hint of irony that I decided to stay silent about my thoughts on the #TwitterSilence before Sunday.  And in fact I wasn’t really going to take part in at all.   I understood the point behind it but wasn’t sure I could stay silent, you know me.

What has happened since though has backed up why the event had to happen.    It was a group of people saying “we want to protest and this is our way of doing it”.    We live in a country where we are entitled to our opinion.   Where we should be free to voice that opinion.   And where we should not be ridiculed for it.

And that is what has happened, isnt it?  Those that took part, that supported it and put their names to the campaign have been ridiculed.

A.N.Wilson has written his thoughts on it this morning, which include the following:

As someone who has never used Twitter, and cannot understand how Twitter serves any useful function, I could not help being bemused by the protest.

It always “bemuses” me how somebody can say something like “It serves no useful function” when they haven’t actually had any involvement with it.    And statements such as the above just go to show how woefully out of touch A.N.Wilson really is.   Has he not seen how Twitter has helped in Syria?  In Egypt?  After earthquakes?  To relay news to the rest of the world before news agencies can get their act together?

He goes on to suggest:

It is the mindless sharing of half-digested  thoughts and pointless comments which would nearly always be better kept to the tweeters themselves.

This clearly shows he has no clue.  NO clue what Twitter is about.   No idea that Twitter is far more than that.  That is is a lifeline in some cases.  Not just for those in Syria or Egypt.   But for breast feeding mums up at 3am.   For charities to get their message out there.   For campaigners to rouse support.   For people who live their lives alone to feel they are still connected to the world.

How else could Team Honk have ever raised £10,000 for Comic Relief?  How else could we have helped celebrate the work done by Red Nose Day over 25 years?  And that is just one example.   One.  There are millions of others.

Is it possible to imagine any more fatuous waste of time than by tuning in to read what millions of morons think — about the weather, sport, fashion, politics, food or anything else under the sun, even bathroom habits, updated relentlessly and pointlessly day after day? 

Is it any wonder that such a vehicle as Twitter, which encourages exhibitionism, should attract to itself so many sickos?

Nice, intelligent women such as Mary Beard have many other ways of communicating with us — in her case, through television programmes and books.

She should leave Twitter to the idiots and self-publicists.

A.N.Wilson you are missing the point completely.    Mary Beard is appealing to a generation who might not necessarily tune in to her programmes or read books.   She is connecting with people.   Getting their feedback on her points.

#TwitterSilence was about people protesting against a vehicle, the only way appropriate to that vehicle.   Twitter is about chatter, it is about noise.   By stepping away for a day some people were voicing their protest in a way they felt appropriate.   In a way THEY wanted to do.

In a way they had a right to do.  Does that give others the right to call them morons?  To label them as hypocrites?  To be scathing and damning of their actions?

Isn’t that just making those hurling those accusations the reason for the #TwitterSilence in the first place?  People, predominantly women, are standing up for what they believe in, fighting for their cause.   To then receive torrents of abuse, and in some case threats of decapitation and rape, is that right?

Is it?

Trolls such as Samantha Brick call them “attention seekers, desperate for a cause”.   Pot, kettle, black?

Why?  Why not just nod sagely and let them get on with it?

Why do people have to be so vicious in their commenting?  Why can’t we just let people protest if they want to and if we chose not to, sit on our arses and watch from the sidelines?

As I said at the beginning, I wasn’t going to comment, I wasn’t really going to join in but I respected those that did.   But then on Sunday morning I read a story of a blogger, if you are a blogger, you will know who I mean, who posted about an incident involving her son.   Her son being physically assaulted.   That has now spiralled out of control.    She too has had her address splashed over the internet.  She has had people turn up at her door.   Her son is two.   Two.   Two years old and was sitting in a supermarket trolley when this happened.    She has  now had to delete her blog.  Her Facebook page.   Her whole life online.   There are whole threads on forums tearing her apart.   Destroying her.

I read about this as the #TwitterSilence was starting.   And it made me realise that if that was me, which it could easily be, what would I want my friends to do?  Actively be silent?

Or sit by and do nothing?

Doing something, anything, even being silent, is better than doing nothing.

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  • Me too- really nails it. I did not use twitter silence. I am boycotting each Sunday til Twitter put tax avoidance money into combatting abuse & til they pay due tax like we do. But that doesnt mean tsilence & Sback are, as Piers Morgan says, pointless – every effort is raising the profile of a most necessary dabate. Glad u participated.I agree with u entirely. and u cant take seriously the point of view of someone who labels all morons and hypocrties. Who is A N Wilson ?

    • Thanks so much Graham

      Indeed who IS A.N.Wilson He is a columnist and commentator but actually, he just comes across as a pompous arse.

  • I had no idea this cute boys Mummy had to delete herself online. That sucks hugely. Why were people goingto her house? I’m falling out of love with the internet this week. A troll “protest” and so many people have seemingly gone to the darkside instead. What the actual ???.

  • I was horrified at the abuse, ridiculing and name calling that the twitter silence people got. Not necessarily by the shouting back team, I could see the point of both and the good thing was in many instances it encouraged debate and encouraged people to tell their stories of why being silent was no longer an option. However I am saddened by the shouty minority who diminish and ridicule people who want to do something rather than just sit back and grumble – which was the whole point of the campaign in the first place, surely? To sit quietly and toe the line, don’t make waves, don’t make a fuss. I have had some appalling abuse on twitter. I’ve been called a murderer, a c*** and many more because of what I do for a living. Funnily enough I know that many of those who are vocal for feminist rights and free speech would wade in and join in if I were to complain so I just block and ignore but I know plenty of people who have left. I stick it out because I want to help people.

  • Well there you again being that intelligent and inspirational woman.
    Great post. Huge round of applause from my direction.
    I will always put my head above the parapet where there is injustice and love how you do that too.
    Keep fighting the great fight. Proud to know you even a little bit.