Hello guys !
So, if you’re heavily involved in the YA Book twitter community, like myself, you know that people have been feeling uncomfortable, unheard and hurt in the community, especially teens. Most importantly teens, since the community is *for* them. Anyways, that’s not really the topic today (it will be sometime soon though, because us adults need to do better by them). What I want to talk about today is that hurt that comes from being in a huge community in social media -in this case, twitter- where not everyone’s good and not everyone has good intentions. Just a heads up, I will be blunt, I will be direct and maybe even a bit pissed off because this is something that I’m particularely passionate about.
Book Twitter is mostly good, it really is, I made some amazing friends on there, people I talk on a daily, people I trust with my life. Like really, I never thought I’d find people like that by joining Twitter and being involved in it. BUT, just like there are good sides to it, there are dark side and people, especially for marginalized folks, we can have it really bad, some get harassed, shut down, dogpiled, etc… Sometime for something as little as asking for help (yes, this actually happened to a few people I know) and sometimes it’s -ist and -phobic content that’s not specifically directed at you as a person but at people like you (which means that it targets you too) and seeing that over and over again, can have a really bad effect on your mental health so THAT’S when social media turns toxic.
I feel like, when behind a screen, people forget that they actually are dealing with other people who have lives, feelings, issues, and that they don’t need anything added to that, because if you’re marginalized, you most likely deal with shit in real life, on a daily, so excuse me if I want my social media to be a safe haven and not yet another thing I need to be wary of. Especially since there are some lovely *sarcasm* people who make troll account just to keep an eye out and harass others.
Anyway. If I get into this rant I am pretty sure I will not stop because I have lots of feelings about it and that being said, I don’t want to make this post but instead, ways to look out for yourself and others in the community.
Take a step back
May it be by going on lock for as long as you need to feel comfortable again or getting off Twitter altogether, you just do what you need to do to get to a good headspace again because lord knows what people coming after you feels like, it’s nasty, scary and feels hella unsafe because you can never know what people are capable of. If you’re one of those people (like me) who can’t help checking Twitter but need to get off for the sake of your mental health, get a friend you trust to lock you out.
You don’t have to stand up to bigots on your own, your friends are here for you and they’ll most likely reach out to you and if they do, don’t be shy or feel like you don’t want to burden them, if they’re genuinely worried, talk to them, they can help with something, anything and if all fails and there’s nothing to be done, they’ll just support you and trust me having a good support system is important.
Befriend the mute & block button
The Mute button is a blessing from the twitter gods, how it works is that you can mute certain people/words so that they don’t show up in your timeline and this way you can filter the content you see. That being said, it’s not a foolproof method and sometimes the only way to get rid of someone’s negativity is by blocking them.
I know that blocking is sometimes hard especially if you’ve interacted with the person before or if they intimidate you, but you have to do what’s best for you. I know I’ve had to block a lot of people recently for… reasons, because I just didn’t feel comfortable with them following me knowing that they have certain views on things that go against my own being so I did what I had to do and I think people should be understanding of this (which I will get to later).
Talk to the person
And this is the least of your concerns and actually, no. This is something you shouldn’t do in 99.9% of cases but if you know the person, know they might not be aware that what they are saying is hurtful and you are okay with talking to them maybe do it, just so they are aware of their mistake, if they refuse to listen then, it’s on them and go back to point number 3. Like I said, this is not something you have to do, and in most case I’d advise NOT doing it but there are exceptions where you can talk to the person and resolve the conflict
This is what’s most important. Taking care of yourself and doing things for yourself that can improve you mental health and your mood. Now, self-care means different things to different people so I can’t really tell you what to do here, you gotta figure out what works best for you. To some it’s cleaning, doing laundry and getting their spaces organized to others it’s good books, good movies, teas etc… Both are equally good and work for different people at different times. You do what you need to do to feel better.
I want to preface that you don’t HAVE to do this, it is in no way an obligation but if you have the (mental and physical) ability to do, it would be nice. But as I said, taking of yourself first. Yes, it sounds selfish but selfish is good in these cases.
If you see someone who needs help, reach out to them and if you’re not used to talking, don’t DM them from the get go, that might add to the distress, just tweet them and if they need help and actually feel comfortable sharing they’ll tell you, otherwise they won’t and it’s okay, you did your part. In the case that they do answer, see what you can do, whether you can block/report, take over for them for a little while (talking to other people, updates,etc…), or just listen. As I said listening can go a long way.
When people are feeling unsafe and hurt, most of the time, when you’re not close with them and let your curosity get the best of you, you’re worsening the matter. And I’m talking from experience, some people can be very rude and entilted when asking about things going on. Don’t be one of them. Don’t DM the person and don’t demand explanation like it’s your business. It is not. Ask yourself, is you knowing going to change anything? If the answer is no, don’t do it.
Also, if a person blocks you for an X or Y reason that remains unknown to you, they don’t have to give you an explanation, so please, be understanding of that and leave them alone because on the internet owe you exactly zero and if they blocked you it means that they have a reason they didn’t feel comfortable sharing to begin with so trying to find out serves no purpose. I know it hurts your feelings if it’s someone you look up to or someone you used to be close with but things are what they are and we should respect those decisions.
Spread the word
If you see something that’s potentially hurtful, let people know so that they can avoid it and protect themselves. As I said, protecting yourself first, so if you don’t want to make a public statement, tell a friend who can do it or just you know a chain reaction that way. The number of accounts I blocked this way is ridiculous and I’m grateful for people who got our backs and let us know when we need to protect ourselves.
I think I am done. I feel like this post is a mess and my point was lost somewhere in there but I just needed to get thinks off my chest and I hope it’s somewhat helpful or even just understandable.
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.