Magazine article New Internationalist

In the Eye of a Twitter Storm

Magazine article New Internationalist

In the Eye of a Twitter Storm

Article excerpt

Since having a child, I've given up on a real social life and settled for a social-media life instead. I've gone from laughing in pubs and gossiping over coffee with people I know and like, to arguing via computer with people I don't know and don't like. Sadly, for a delicate flower like me, my new social circle clearly doesn't like me one little bit.

I take full responsibility, however, for my recent journey to the online sewer, which was the unfortunate result of a bad mood, an exquisitely unpleasant radio DJ and access to a smartphone. This heady mix was enough to propel me, unarmed and unprepared, into the centre of a frenzied Twitter war with a professional Troll, the debris from which is still echoing around cyberspace.

To get you up to speed, here, in a Twitter-sized 140-character nutshell, is what happened:

Pompous bully viciously attacks frail, elderly black civil rights campaigner on radio & tries 2 make fool of him. I go crazy #fallsintotrap

Stupidly, I took the bait like a lion from a dentist and walked blindly into an ambush. Trouble was, I'd barely engaged with any of the actual content of the histrionic diatribe the host had been spouting and, instead of making a proper argument, just felt a visceral need to tell him and the rest of the internet what a monumental dickhead he was. This I did, and, if I'm honest, I probably went a bit over the top. But not nearly as over the top as the bigoted self-publicist himself, who expertly escalated my admittedly fairly childish remonstration, spinning it into social-media gold like a bloated, rightwing Rumpelstiltskin. …

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