Are you in a Twitter Bubble?

I love Twitter. I spend most of my time there. Scrolling. I’ve connected and ‘discovered’ some really great people there, especially since I started tweeting under themotherhub banner earlier this year. I credit it with my being better read, more politically engaged and aware. I have found two tribes of great women – parenting bloggers and Irish feminists, with a good amount of cross-over on a Venn diagram of impressive women. I do follow the occasional token male. I don’t know if you’ve heard but men can be funny and well-informed too sometimes: but my Twitter feed is primarily a female space. It’s my Twitter bubble, and I’m allowed to do  with it what I want.

So in some ways Twitter is my safe space. When I go there, I find women who think like me, read like me. They might not live like me or look like me, but we come from the same place , mentally. I think the majority of us follow people because we agree with what they say, we like the same TV shows, books – you might throw in the occasional hate follow to get the blood pressure up, but nothing too controversial.

twitter-bubble

That’s why when you come out of your twitter bubble it’s such a shock. When the story broke of Ched Evans acquittal for rape charges a couple of weeks ago, everyone on my twitter feed was disappointed, shocked , angry, concerned for the impacts on future victims reporting in the future. I saw a tweet warning not to look at the tweets about the case, but I ignored it. I’m sure you’re aware of the types of tweets sent by those supporting Evans. He turns into the victim, she the slut who should be shamed, and imprisoned herself for what she has done to him. Rape threats were profligate. Such anger, such hatred. It is utterly, utterly depressing. I put away my phone for the rest of the evening.

Depressing as it is, it’s a reminder that your sensitively curated twitter feed is not the real world. It happened for me with the UK election a couple of years ago, and again with the Brexit referendum.

twitter-bubble-1

I’m lucky in that I haven’t encountered too many trolls or much abuse on Twitter, but it can often happen unexpectedly. A couple of weeks ago I listened to a debate on Newstalk about sex work – it was a balanced look at the argument from all sides. I sent a tweet to the presenter saying I found it interesting, and that it was a complex area and I was not sufficiently informed to have a definite opinion one way or another. I used the phrase sex work in my tweet, without thinking about the implications of the phrase. Overnight our conversation had been discovered by two US citizens who most presumably had not heard the show but were quick to accuse us of dismissing the victims of prostitution and ignoring its connections with human trafficking. I repeated my stance that it was a complex issue, on which I was not sufficiently informed to have a definite opinion. I was told that by using the term sex work I was thereby supporting the concept of prostitution as a profession, and what is more, my original tweet was mere virtue signalling. Whatever errors I had made, I was never going to win this argument. It’s not a place for nuanced debate, twitter. But the story highlights why for so long I kept my opinions to myself on Twitter, and why for people, women especially, twitter can become such a hostile place.

Other than that,  I’ve had the odd abusive tweet , particularly when tweeting about abortion access , or lack thereof in Ireland. I don’t debate with them – I mute them, let them rant into the void, they’re not interested in debate anyway.

Am I presenting myself with an unrealistic world view? Am I fooling myself that the world in general is more interested in the matters that interest me than they really are ? I don’t think so. Attached as I am to my phone, I do also exist in the world, read papers and watch the news, but I’m happy for Twitter to be my go-to place for news and opinions on the things which matter to me.

How are things in your  Twitter bubble ?

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20 comments

  1. I agree my ttwitter is my safe place. I’ve built a happy community and gained some friends via it but it my world and what I make of it. I do forget ssometimes that twitter is bigger than my circle.
    I had my first twitter troll a few weeks back. She got ignored blocked and reported. People like that aren’t really worth engaging with are they!

    Also my daughter was bborn on the day twitter launched so I think I’m destined to be a twitter devotee now 🙂

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  2. I wish I understood twitter better–I find it difficult to understand, read entire posts and interact. What tips do you have for this Gen X blogger to enjoy the scrolling and create her own bubble?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just follow loads of people who share your interests and passions , not just celebrities and organisations. Follow real people and talk to them, retweet people. Be yourself . It’s easy when you know how !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha–Yeah…..I’m still trying to figure out how to READ people’s posts!

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  3. I enjoy the scrolling more than the interaction. I suspect I’ll never get beyond broken twitter-ish. I embarked on it as a compensation for a break from blogging but can’t see myself in it for the long-term. Many’s the gem of a read I find amid the rubbish, and seeing seasoned users deliver succinctly is a spectator sport I could never imagine giving up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an interesting, vital post-like all social media it’s a slice of reality and sometimes not even fully reflective of reality either. It started as a means to break the news as we know-a democratic platform and whilst it still operates in that way, it’s moved beyond it and people feel less free to converse as candidly-because it is a public forum after all, tweets live on even if deleted. I agree that with curated timelines, we can often be surprised by unexpected tweets which come from those we don’t recognise. I have had a handful of trolls in 6 years-people who have told me I looked fat after having a baby or that my kids look weird but with twitter use and generally being visible, I’ve grown a thick skin. I can see the twitter wood from the trees. I accept it isn’t real, not in a IRL sense of reality anyway. Loved this piece. Don’t stop being you, being open about your views and candid-when we stop questioning and are silenced-particularly by the tools created to liberate us, it’s a sad day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vicky , appreciate the thoughtful comment. You are well smart 👍

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  5. Haha that made me laugh x

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  6. I just started my blog a couple of days ago and funny enough my first post asks the question on the benefits of twitter. Is it a more glorified version of Facebook, is it Instagram without as many pictures? Wanting to get more engaged on social media but only if it’s adding value.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is so much good in twitter – but you do need to step away from it every now and then. Good luck with your blog !

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  7. This is such a good point and one I hadn’t thought of before. Something to think about for sure #StayClassyMama

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  8. I know what you mean. However, I think that we want to surround ourselves with like-minded people, but is that right? Hmmm. I am all up for discussion but not when it is abusive. I have had my fair share on blog. My worst was when I wrote about the Ched Evans. It seems that the case produced a lot of ill-feeling. Very sad really 😦 #stayclassymama

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    1. Yes, disagreeing with people is one thing – totally right and acceptable. But I really don’t see the point in trying to debate with people who have no intention of having an open mind. It’s a strange place, twitter. But I love it . Sorry you’ve had abuse on the blog – but on the other hand it means you’re doing something right by speaking out on things

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  9. Haha! You haven’t lived until you’ve received a twitter death threat! Happened to me once on an old twitter account when I jokingly sent a tweet saying I would attend a Cupa Americana match and unfurl the flag of the Falkland Islands. It was at a time when the Argentine President was trying to deflect attention away from domestic issues and was claiming the Malvinas were Argentine. Someone else picked up on it and RTd it to 10K people in Latin America with inevitable results! Anyway, I am often surprised at how little abuse I receive, considering I often wrote about gender and equalities issues and being a SAHD, I frequently challenge people’s perceptions. Then again, social media brings out the worst in people and I also have a theory that some people with mental health conditions get sucked into it and spout off without thinking (again, someone I am acquainted with who has mental health problems spends huge amounts of time on social media and will do irresponsible things on line. It’s an anxiety thing I believe, social media gives people a chance to rant without physical consequences, add in a failure to understand when you should stop and, boom, you have a major problem). So no, I don’t live in a twitter bubble. I tend to take it with a pinch of salt.

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  10. I am trying not to read the comments on news stories on SM. I live in a bubble and when I read the comments, I learn there is an angry (and usually very stupid, illogical and hateful) mob lurking beyond my 5km inner city radius. I prefer my bubble, as distorted as it is. #Stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s easy to get lost down a Twitter rabbit hole isn’t it? One thing leads to another and then you come across a whole bunch of crazies… I don’t think this should stop people tweeting about important issues, but sometimes the back lash can be uncalled for #stayclassymama

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  12. I’ve only had one incident on twitter from an acquaintance who launched into me when I said I didn’t class myself as a feminist although I did believe in equality and that women could do the majority of things that men can do and should be able to. She couldn’t and wouldn’t understand why I didn’t want to associate myself with the term – by her forceful judging, she was doing exactly what the negative stereotypes of feminism are doing in their extreme vocalism. On the blog side of things I’ve been let off easy, and I rarely an strong about my views because it is in the public view and I don’t want it to ruin any future job prospects.

    I do follow a few people who aren’t the same as me in views, but until there’s a big political event or similar there’s no way to know what they’re life when following them.

    I don’t let it concern me too much. Twitter isn’t the really important stuff in my life, it’s conversations.

    #brilliantblogposts

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  13. Definitely not. I force myself to tend to my account every couple of days to check that nothing startling or untoward has happened, and I send off a few listless Tweets. Maybe follow 100 strangers for no reason. Then leave. I firmly believe everyone secretly hates it and is weeping inside but won’t say.

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  14. I love the Twitters! I get lost on there, a quick check to see what’s trending, what’s in the newsfeed and catch up on my notifications and I can lose time…a lot of time. But really I don’t class it as a loss of time. It is informative, funny, happy and sometimes sad. I’ve connected with wonderful like minded and also very different minded people and it is totally engaging. I share my love of Irish Country Music and the inner sparkle we all have that we need to set free. Twitter is my ‘me’ time, my escape, my bubble and I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great place for finding like minded communities you wouldn’t necessarily meet in real life

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