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Is Twitter the new Marmite?

Guest article from an anonymous (former) Tweeter

From twitter to marmite. A former tweeter shares her twitter journey from love to hate , and why bullying meant she had  to tweet her last tweet:

Yes I confess, I have been having an affair with twitter for the past three years! I didn’t need to take out a Super Injunction as my other half is also a keen Twitterer although friends have always though me a bit mad or strange so maybe I have had to keep it a bit of a guilty secret!

How my affair started seems to be in todays terms Really Trendy as we clearly met on the internet! No dressing up in smart clothes or slapping on layers of makeup to impress, no nervous pre dinner drinks oh no….this affair went straight from first meeting to bed!! Now some may say that was rather hasty and I do have to admit that it was a threesome! Blushes…well a woman my age needs all the pleasure she can grab!!

Maybe at this point I should confess that the third person in this relationship was in fact my lap top.My trusted friend, who I actually tell all my secrets to and knows me better than anyone else I know and the only reason I was in bed was because I had the most terrible cold! So no hot bed of lust, well I did have a temperature does that count?

Anyway, I nervously typed in Twitter into Google. The hardest part of opening an account was deciding on my new identity! What should I call myself? Should I be undercover for fear of internet stalkers so what did I end up doing? Using my real name!! Now some may say that was a silly thing to do but to be honest with you my memory would be useless at making someone up so I thought I better stick to someone I know well and that person was ME……

Twitter opened up a whole new world of daily updates of my life..the pain of a horrible root canal filling at the dentist was shared with hundreds of people, a rant about news events a question about any topic you can think of was posted and very quickly answered by someone in a different country! It was and is amazing! A wonderfully surreal place where people from all age groups genders colours backgrounds and nationalities all mix together in a pot of bubbling opinions that gets stirred up by big news stories to boiling point then back down to simmer then on to something else!

Forming friendships and strong bonds on twitter

Where else can so many thousands of people mix together form friendships and incredibly strong bonds with people you may never ever meet in real life. Twitter is a place of friendship, love ,true genuine caring on a level so deep. I believe the strength lies in the fact its Words…the profound things we say to each other every day have such a huge effect on us all. A cheery Wave from Somerset and big hugs sent over the internet actually means a huge amount to someone having a really bad day. To be able to convey to someone you have never met in 140 characters where they cant see your facial expression or hear the tone of your voice is very hard and unfortunately and inevitably misunderstandings occur a lot….that is the downside to Twitter.

My wonderfully carefree affair with Twitter lasted three whole wonderful years. My followers rose to the heady heights of 1,760, my tweets sent were in the thousands! Life was perfect, fun and funny until one fateful morning……..

I love to scan the newspapers on line with my early morning cuppa and this particular morning a local story in Devon caught my eye. Now I know I was not adverse to posting comments about stories and events that I really felt strongly about and trust me this one really would make anyones blood boil! So hurriedly I logged into Twitter and made my opinion known! Sadly the outcome was horrible and unfortunately ended my long love affair with Twitter.

Bullying  made me stop tweeting

As with all large groups of people together in that mixing pot you will always get a few bad apples that side together form groups and turn into something I cannot stand and thats Bullies!
I was branded a racist a bigot and a bint!….Followers of each other seemed to gang together like a pack of wolves attacking, not even knowing what was originally said or reading through what I had said. To say I felt attacked on line would to some people feel really strange but trust me..be it a bully in a playground or work place environment the fear and sadness is exactly the same when confronted with Words spoken by almost strangers that prop port to be Friends…Those faceless people you have been chatting to suddenly become this ugly mob that makes you scared to turn your laptop on for fear of reprisals…..

As with the end of any relationship there were lots and lots of tears. What had been a happy carefree place now seemed to have a much darker side that innocent me just didn’t know existed.

I closed my account and waved goodbye to all those other people for fear that I could now not trust anyone. I had so many messages of support and love from so many people on Twitter that of course I know that they are not all the same but there was no going back.

So at the end of a relationship is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all….from this side I still feel hurt, sad, and a strange longing to bring back what I had..sadly it has gone forever!.

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  1. Lesley-Anne Hornbogen

    May 25, 2011

    What a shame that you’ve had to give up something that you obviously enjoyed. Could you not have just blocked the bullies from your account? There will always be a small group of people in everything we do that will try and spoil what is intentionally meant to be a friendly daily activity. Don’t give them the satisfaction I say. I hope you’ll come back soon.

  2. Liz Sparkes

    May 25, 2011

    I must admit to thinking the same as Lesley-Ann, it does seem sad to allow a few to taint the many.. exactly as it is in the play ground too…..

    The behaviour you encountered isn’t just a Twitter phenomena though, I have seen this “pack like” behaviour on internet forums as well, even business ones! It’s the “road rage” of the electronic world… just as drivers become disinhibited, “cacooned” by their metal and glass cages, so the same process happens with otherwise rational and wild mannered people on the net, whatever the platform. They are able to say things that they would never say if you were in the pub together..

    But this disinhibition is the same process which creates all the things we LIKE too. Disinhibition allows us to build on-line relationships quickly and deeply by risking more of ourselves, we allow ourselves to feel and share love for our fellow man (and woman!), and we can do this because we ARE protected by our screens. Would you walk into a new pub on your own and shout out to all “I’ve had a really bad day today” and expect to be greeted by a wave of “Oh, so sorry to hear that, want a hug?”… nope just wouldn’t happen would it? (and if it did you might well leg it!) The old rules of relationship building are being broken, and it feels good, as long as we can feel safe behind our screens.

    Unlike in the “real world” we DO have control over who we choose to engage with. We may not be able to avoid the workplace bully without quitting our jobs, but on the internet they can be gone at the switch of a button.

    For sure it would be helpful for more people to learn how to attach an opinion without attaching a person, but until then I have found standing away from the computer (or smart phone) for a while, letting things simmer down (as they always do after only a few days, the internet has such a short attention span) and in the case of Twitter blocking those who I have found to lack any moral fibre, ethics or common humanity sorts the problem out…

    And I am also chuckling at the irony that I found this blog via a link on Twitter… 🙂

    • Liz Sparkes

      May 25, 2011

      oops. Have just spotted a typo… I meant attack and attacking, not attached… that’s a different psychological theory.. 🙂

  3. Rosy Holt

    May 27, 2011

    What a sad story and I was desperate for the twist at the end when it all turned out well!

    I am really sorry to hear of your experinces but perhaps there is a lesson to learnt, other than to be weary of giving out too much of ourselves on the “world wide” web, bullying is wrong in what ever form it arrives in.

    I love Twitter and hope that in the future that four letter word for me never changes to one begining with a “H”.

  4. Jo Carroll

    June 14, 2012

    Twitter is, indeed, a strange place. And it’s not the only place where some people indulge in a bit of cyber-bullying. Recently a woman has been having similar trouble on facebook. The forums on writing sites are full of accusations of bullying. It seems that people feel able to abuse people online in ways they wouldn’t dream of to their faces – maybe there are too many people who simply haven’t grown up and shouldn’t be allowed out of the children’s playground.

    Meanwhile, I hope you have licked your wounds and feel better. Good to see you on Fab after 50 – we’ve all grown up here, and are pleased to see you.

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