Twitter is fun until it’s not fun.
By John Harrison aka @purfleetjohn
IT was just a normal day for me, tweeting about politics, cats, football when I saw someone I know being called a ‘spastic.’ Not very nice. I tweeted that this was offensive to people with cerebral palsy and could they find some other insult.
I had a day of troll after troll having a go at me. Apparently I had offended their sense of ‘free speech.’ On Twitter to even mention that calling someone a ‘spastic’ is a bit off is to invite abuse.
To begin with I just gave as good as I got – let’s be honest, I am no shrinking violet – but once the swearing starts, I start blocking people, which means I can no longer see their messages. What they were calling me was stuff like ‘mong’ and ‘autistic’ – which I found more shocking than the normal stuff. Why would people use illness and disability as insults? What was the matter with them?
Then it got worse. Some….person….went through my timeline and found a picture of wife. They then posted that picture saying ‘he’s only sad because his wife is a mong.’
At this point, I got extremely angry. It’s one thing having a go at me, but to drag my wife into it? She doesn’t tweet. She said nothing and some idiot is insulting here?
A lot of these people have done lots of tweets, but have very few followers. That’s because their days are spent attacking people because they think it’s – what – edgy? Funny? They clearly work together; you block one and another pops up. They worked out that attacks on my wife were the thing that got me angry so they just went for it, culminating with someone saying ‘love the pic of a spastic screwing (not the word used) his wife.’
This went on all day. By the end of it, I had blocked sixty people. Hardly any of the accounts were in the person’s name, but silly, made up names, often offensive. Late in the evening some idiot using his real name started on me and my wife and the got all hurt when I responded by threatening to report him.
I went to bed weary, astonished and hurt. I like to think the best of people, but that day on Twitter shook my faith a bit.
However, on the positive side, many people on Twitter rallied to my support; friends asked me how I was. Twitter is great. I’ve had the odd spat, mostly about Jeremy Corbyn, but the trolls are out there. They are real and they are horrible, but they won’t stop me tweeting.