Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Don't Blame Twitter or Other Platforms for Cyberbullying


It always baffles me when the advice given to someone who is bulled, by their lawyer or their friends, is to delete their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Cyberbullying and trolling isn't the platform's problem. It isn't even the network privacy settings. It's the fault of the assholes who are perpetrating the bullying. Period.

Mike Klein (@kleinkleinklein) said this in a post on TechCrunch: "Online abuse is omnipresent and not exclusive to one platform over another. It’s a behavior that starts with a mentality, not a platform."

So in other words, blame the person, not the platform. Sure, the owners of the platform are held accountable to waive their magic fairy dust to rid these trolls from abusing the decent, law-abiding users. However, they are not miracle workers and face it, it you have trouble managing 200 emails a day, imagine what it might be like to manage over one billion Facebook accounts every day. It's why the reporting option doesn't always get you justice, kind of like our court systems. But for all platforms, there are two surefire buttons that will rid you of THAT bully:


Delete and Block.

I was watching one of my Facebook friend's post comments get hijacked by a single "friend" who decided that nobody else's opinion mattered but his, Instead of editing his first post and add to it (like most of us might do), he posted thought after thought, but really, they were more hate speak, trolling, and bullying than intelligent thought. I unfollowed the feed so that I wouldn't keep getting notification of his diatribe. The only reply my friend made was that he was confirming the point she made in the original post. He continued and continued.

A week from now or a year from now, when Facebook gives people a look back at their activity, will that person still stand by his diatribe? Will he be proud to see it? Or will he finally see it with the eyes of the people who do not know him, who use his posts as a way to determine his character?

You do have control as to what you post, but also on what you see in your own feed. If you don't like what you see day in and day out (as when I hear friends complain about the drama in the Facebook feeds), then get better friends. YOU choose what you see. If you like the friend but don't like the posts, unfollow them while still remaining friends. You don't have to keep them as friends, especially if you don't know them well. But when you open up your networks, if you are not inspired, educated, entertained, or even interested by the home feed, find better friends to follow who will offer you that option.

In the case of being trolled or cyberbullied, if it's an onslaught and too much to handle (as in the case of Twitter pooping), don't delete your account, rather change your notifications. You don't have to be alerted to every tweet. You can take a break, but when you do, find the strength to shake off these strangers who have no clue as to who you are and are just living in their parents' basement jerking off to Spiderman comics. They don't deserve your reaction, your fear, your sadness, or your anger. Mute them as if they are the political pundits you hate to see on the cable news station. When you see them, think about Foghorn Leghorn: "Your mouth is flapping and nothing comes out."

You deserve to be heard. You deserve to be on the platform, front and center like everyone else. These cyberbullies are just mosquitoes in a forest of tweets. Slap them away.