I am curious – I must be, my bio says so! At times this has got me into trouble; such as when I continued to open the Pandora’s Box of kink regardless of my husband’s desire to keep it jammed shut or when I have agreed to meet people that perhaps on reflection I would have been better not to have. I tread a fine line between wanting to explore, valuing honesty and clarity and feeling the need to protect not only my own privacy but that of those I care about. We all have our reasons for needing to guard some aspects of ourselves more closely than others and I endeavour to respect this requirement my friends and ask that mine is too.
Blogging and Twitter allow a peculiar juxtaposition; that of being apparently willing to reveal all (I post naked and revealing pictures of myself on the internet) whilst not wanting to give away my identity or location to anyone I haven’t met in person for my own peace of mind. My reasoning goes that ff I meet you I can tell if I can trust you, if I don’t trust you after meeting you I can withdraw and reassert boundaries that will protect me. This has proved not to be entirely true recently which is the reason for this post really
Twitter is a deceptively open medium allowing a multiplicity of levels of nuanced interaction: we can block, mute, interact on TL and in DM, stalk without the other knowing, stalk and give a shot across another’s bows by liking specific conversations involving pertinent people, follow and unfollow surreptitiously by soft blocking, unfollow people and then lock our account, unfollow with a flourish following a twitter spat and tell everyone about it and imply they should do the same, create numerous accounts and mislead people about our agenda, create numerous accounts and explore various aspects of our personalities. We can create, collaborate and tease, we can explore and gather information and some of us then go on to use that information for their own purposes.
Sometimes twitter can appear cliquey, full of people wishing each other Good Morning and saying Good Night – the same avis saying similar things to each other each day. For some this is exclusive, for others evidence of inclusivity. I knew no-one when i joined twitter and the morning and evening rituals allowed me to build connections and to check and monitor interactions to see if I liked the style of an account or not. It can also be the way that people set on making connections for their own ends operate. I make a point of noticing if a hierarchy exists of status transactions such as who gets responded to regularly, who gets a kiss at the end of a response, who has a pet name, who alludes to a shared joke – in the hands of a skillful manipulator these interactions can play on the insecurities of many, creating an illusion of connection and rapport in order to sustain an online image that is at odds with real life behaviour.
In my experience the shit really hits the fan when twitter expectations collide with real life. Many relationships are conducted predominantly online with only occasional physical meetings. Twitter allows a discrete platform for these relationships which may need to be conducted with a certain level of privacy. Unfortunately this can also provide a platform both for deception and for a startling denouement, the ripples from which spread out from account to account and can overflow back into real life too.
However I have come to a startling realisation recently, this will not surprise those of you more robust and resilient than I am at times but there we have it. It is that not only can I not take at face value the apparent motivations of some people on twitter. It is also that I also cannot be sure that I will not over-ride my gut feeling about them because of my current circumstances which at times can be lonely and isolated. It has happened that someone I met and trusted has gone on to become actively hostile towards me and it looks like they have used me to gain access to people I care about and a community I value. I feel a mixture of guilt and rage about this as I am wise enough to know that what has been done to me will, inevitably be done to someone else and I feel responsible for that possibility. I feel enraged because I simply cannot comprehend the mindset that would allow this kind of behaviour.
So. What do I do now with this new knowledge?
Firstly I am engaged in maintaining my own equilibrium. I know that what has happened is not my fault. It wasn’t my behaviour that provoked this and that knowledge is so hard won. My go to response has been to blame myself in the past but this time … no sirree. Secondly I took a good hard look at why I am on twitter and why I blog and I am satisfied that whilst I do not have to justify them to anyone, they are legitimate and healthy and that matters to me.
Finally I have to say that abuse on twitter is not only a thing, it is a common occurrence and I understand how awful it is. If you are experiencing it contact me and I will support you if I can because twitter is a lifeline for the isolated, the lonely, the people in transition, the vulnerable and the wounded and I am fucked if I will see it being spoilt like this if I can do anything about it.
Also be careful who you meet and who you introduce them to. I wish I had been.