Recently, author E. L. James had a conversation with fans on Twitter using the hashtag #AskELJames. Instead of a conversation, James was viciously attacked.
This sparked a number of blog posts about the issue of hateful and hurtful comments being posted online, from book review sites to articles, Facebook and Twitter, and everywhere in between. One such blog post by Deb Ng caught the attention of author Anne Rice, who has been crusading against this growing trend. You can find the post here.
After reading her very thoughtful post, one of the comments caught my eye. In it, the commenter stated that “it’s Twitter” and that these kind of hateful attacks are to be expected from the popular social media site. Twitter, of course, is a micro bogging site that gives users 140 characters to speak their mind.
Here is my issue: No matter what social media platform you’re using, you have no right to attack people. This applies to book reviews, discussions, comments, and any other place where you can post comments. That stands to reason, right? Common courtesy, social etiquette, netiquette….
But when you say “it’s Twitter” it makes it okay to post hateful messages. If we allow it, and it is tolerated because “that’s how it is”, then it becomes accepted even though it isn’t acceptable.
Twitter allows users to block abusive users, and they can also be reported. Let’s use those tools to show people that we don’t want to see their hateful posts. Let’s make it clear that we don’t accept this unacceptable behavior.