If you’ve been on Twitter recently you’ll more than likely have stumbled upon some of your feed’s celebrity Tweeters going on about this #TwitterSilence malarkey. If you wondered what they were on about – allow us to fill you in.
Late last week, a wave of ‘Twitter Trolls’, as we shall refer to them, targeted high profile female Twitter users, including female campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and historian Mary Beard with abusive messages on the social networking site. After various menacing rape and bomb threats and subsequent arrests, it was then writer Caitlin Moran who stepped forward to save the day….kind of.
Caitlin Moran proposed that, since the head honchos at Twitter weren’t doing enough to tackle the issue, a Twitter boycott should take place over a 24-hour period. That’ll show them, right? Whilst Twitter came forward and insisted that they’ve installed a ‘report abuse’ button in their next update, this wasn’t good enough for the Twitter protesters who soon had the tagline ‘#TwitterSilence’ trending across the UK.
…the last thing fellow Tweeters should be doing is staying silent…
Of course the bosses at Twitter HQ wouldn’t have worried an iota that some celebrity personalities including the likes of Kirstie Allsopp and Sarah Millican weren’t Tweeting their usual insightful nuggets of information. In fact, many Twitter users came forward to say that the last thing fellow Tweeters should be doing is staying silent in the face of threatening, abusive behaviour. Isn’t it better that we stand up, speak freely and pity those who take to Twitter to share hatred and offend? One user, Jennifer Weiner said, ‘Not doing #TwitterSilence b/c I don’t think the response who want feminists to shut up and go away is to shut up and go away.’
Another Tweeter, Jane Doe, said ‘About #TwitterSilence: it’s a privileged thing to assume that others will notice your absence. Many don’t have that luxury.’
…I enjoyed all the people #ShoutingBack…
We can’t help but agree. Although the Twitter Silence may have, ironically, shouted from the rooftops regarding the fact that Twitter must do more to protect its users from violent and threatening messages, maybe the whole ‘silent’ aspect wasn’t the best method of protest. After the silence, Caitlin Moran went on to Tweet, ‘I enjoyed the #TwitterSilence with those that did it. I enjoyed all the people #ShoutingBack. I enjoyed people trying to do things.’
Whatever the conclusion Twitter comes to on the issue, as users of the social network, we should continue to diligently ‘not feed the trolls’ – a phrase coined in light of several high profile ‘trolling’ cases. Report abuse and swiftly move on. Don’t give the trolls ammunition, or the attention they crave – it’ll only make them worse.