Twitter can be quite interesting sometimes. It’s a great way to find out the latest news or gossip. It can also be a great source of general entertainment because people take it far too seriously.
Before I continue, I think it’s worth noting two very important things:
- Twitter is public. Unless you set your tweets to be protected, anyone and everyone can view them.
- An internet troll is someone who gives out abuse and says hurtful things, with the sole intention of causing upset and distress.
Every now and again, an argument flares up on Twitter and before you know it, the main participants’ followers are jumping in; sometimes without even knowing what the argument is about. I suppose you could call it blind loyalty.
Just a couple of days ago, I witnessed such a situation on Twitter. A young girl was struggling financially and needed to raise £172.00 to pay an energy bill. As a last resort, she published her PayPal email address and asked her followers for donations. Very quickly, they obliged and I believe that this young girl raised the money she needed.
Simple so far, right?
Another Twitter user came across this and started to accuse this young girl of begging and said that it was a bit of a cheeky thing to do, and I agree. He wrote around 8 tweets to fit all of his opinions in and in none of these was he abusive or offensive; he was simply expressing his opinions over the whole begging thing.
He pointed out that in an earlier tweet, the young girl had mentioned that “the boy” (her boyfriend) was sat down watching the football on television. Now, if I was struggling to pay my energy bills, I would turn every electrical appliance that I don’t need, off. This was also suggested to the young girl.
If someone had posed a valid argument to me about something I had said (which is always a risk as my tweets are public), I would either respond directly or ignore them. After all, it’s no one else’s business, right?
If your tweets are public, it becomes everyone else’s business. You accept this at the time of posting your tweets. If you want to half-explain a situation, you have to accept that you may be asked for more about it; it’s then your choice as to whether or not you respond. But dangling the carrot like that is guaranteed to attract a response.
Several things went wrong very quickly.
Firstly, rather than ignore these tweets or respond directly to them, the young girl retweeted each of them, so that all of her followers saw them. This was either to raise support or gain sympathy.
Three or four of the young girl’s followers launched a tirade of abuse and insults at the guy who had dared to comment on something he’d seen on Twitter- a couple of them even called him a troll, which made me laugh as I’m fairly certain that a troll is much more malicious and hurtful. Plenty of people offer their opinions, but they’re not trolls, are they? He came back, gave just as good as he got and made a very valid point; one which I agree with entirely.
He pointed out that he had simply made a comment on something that a stranger tweeted. He was now receiving abuse because apparently he had no right to do so and it had nothing to do with him. In one way, this is true.
However, the young girl’s followers, who were now launching an attack on this guy, have done exactly the same thing. His comments to someone are no one else’s business, much in the same way that what the young girl does is none of his. To top it off, he wasn’t even rude or abusive when he made his comments, yet some of her followers were calling him a cunt as well as several other things.
Ironically, one of the young girl’s followers having a go at this guy had “sociology” as part of her Twitter name. Surely, if she had actually studied sociology, she would have ignored any such comments on the basis that she understands general social behaviours and accepts that this type of response is inevitable?
After the arguing had died down (this guy gained a few followers, so not everyone could have disagreed with him), he found a previous tweet from the young girl, which included a photo of her smoking a massive joint. Naturally, he retweeted this and pointed out that a drug user can’t be that hard up if she can afford a big joint every now and again, but, strangely, there wasn’t a response to that.
Reading through the tweets after that, it seems that there was a subsequent falling out with her and some of her “friends”. I don’t know all the details of this but shortly afterwards, her Twitter account was deleted. Apparently, she does this occasionally when someone upsets her (her account is now back up and running).
The young girl issued the equivalent to a press release, which can be found here. Credit where credit’s due, she initially threw a strop and a tantrum but she did come back and stick up for herself- you have to admire someone for doing that. The young girl addresses several things in her article, which I’m not going to even summarise- read it yourself!
I have a strong feeling that similar incidents involving this young girl will arise again. Begging, either in the street or on Twitter, is shameful simply because intended or not, guilt is immediately felt by people who then feel that they have no choice but to make a donation.
This young girl was happy to mention that she had some problems, but wasn’t prepared to discuss them, which is her choice. But why mention something that you’re not prepared to elaborate on, despite knowing that people will ask?
Some people aren’t suited to Twitter and if they’re going to throw a tantrum or shit-stir every time someone says something they don’t want to hear, then they should either protect their tweets or delete their Twitter account. It’s not rocket science.