So once again there seems to have been a blow up on Twitter in New Zealand in the last week. I am not totally sure what has caused it, but I think it stems from a post by Richie Hardcore on International Women’s Day. I know that Jess McAllen wrote about it on The Spinoff last week. Additionally there was discussion around the cartoon of Judith Collins that referenced the Kim Kardashian post that Richie Hardcore was also responding to. Since then there has been a number of skirmishes in the battle around how various Twitter users see how society treats woman. This has resulted in Danyl Mclauchlan leaving Twitter:
Danyl Mclauchlan has committed twittercide. Big loss to NZ twittersphere. Pettiness & nasty culture too much – no doubt he’ll blog on it.
— Bryce Edwards (@bryce_edwards) March 14, 2016
His leaving Twitter has caused a large amount of discussion as well. With sides being taken, and some less than calm exchanges occurring.
However, all of this serves as a prequel to the point of this blog post. The events of the last week or so have got me thinking about why I am on Twitter, and what keeps me here. Twitter is an evolving platform, not just the platform itself, but our own experiences of it, with new users having a very limited view that normally grows as we use it. It is what I have experienced during this growth that makes me appreciate Twitter. I may be outside of the norm, but my view of Twitter does not align that strongly with my own political views. Some of my favourite people to interact with on Twitter, come from very different backgrounds, and politics, to my own. But that is why I enjoy being here, because I get to interact with people I would be highly unlikely to come across in the real world. These people have taught me a huge amount, and I hope I have helped them learn something as well. They have taught me about things as diverse as cooking, feminism, farming, rugby league, and many other things around politics and society that I can’t put into single words.
However we have been seeing a number of issues on Twitter lately. Though I think these issues are imposed by both its own platform created limits, such as 140 characters, some are caused by the limits of written English. Twitter can be useful as a place for both those with similar views to rally around the issues that matter to them, but also for those from differing points of view to come together and learn from each other. but, like any place of social gathering Twitter depends on people being willing and able to engage in meaningful dialogue, though this is not always going to happen. However I have learnt that Twitter has a lot more to offer me if I do my best to engage with others in a polite manner. Yes Twitters issues are big, but they are not unique to the platform, and the fact that they are causing friction should be making us think about how the platform is highlighting issues that exist else where, and not try to pin the blame for the issues on the platform. We need to stop blaming Twitter, or whatever other social media platform, for the issues that are occurring and realise that the issues are deeper seated, and we all need to do what we can to look more critically at our own, and others actions, but we also need to be kinder in how we articulate those criticisms. The power of the platform is immense, be that for good, or for bad.
I know this has been a bit of a random ramble, but I think Twitter offers to many positives for us to throw it all away! Lets all try and make NZ Twitter a nicer place, where we can all learn from each other! And have some fun and laughs at the same time!