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The Howling Wind

It’s fair to say that I’ve kept a low profile on Twitter for a while, after experimenting with tweeting in various different styles in its early years. Nowadays I spend my time there reading depressing news stories posted by far more prolific people. Occasionally I tweet something work-related, as many of my followers know me from work. Now and then I’ll tweet or retweet something that isn’t, but mostly I use the Like button to keep track of that, using them like bookmarks (or favorites, funnily enough).

Or at least I did. Then I realised (because I have a second Twitter account for a project from a couple of years ago) that Twitter helpfully alerts my followers to things I’ve Liked, not just things I’ve tweeted, and so my audience (including that second account) were treated to this email subject line in February:

Rory Ewins liked rotophonic’s Tweet: Holy Fuck!

Oops.

It was some tweet about Trump’s immigration orders, which certainly deserved a four-letter response, but isn’t exactly what you want to say to colleagues and students on a weekday.

Or is it? Because if ever there was a year to use those 140 characters efficiently by using as many concise four-letter words as possible, it’s 2017. More to the point, by keeping quiet about the two great political nightmares of our times, I’m ceding the floor to Trumpists and Brexiteers, who ought to be countered at every opportunity, professional demeanor be damned.

For some time, though, I figured that the last person the Twitter world needed to hear from was yet another straight white bloke, whichever side I’m on. But that puts the burden of fighting bigots and fascists on women and LGBT people and people of colour, and lets straight white blokes conveniently off the hook—too conveniently. At this point, as many people as possible who oppose Nazis, racists and xenophobes need to speak up, in whatever venue we can. There’s no denying that Twitter is a better venue for that than a personal blog, at least in terms of its reach. I may have been able to make my case at greater length here, but what’s the point if hardly anyone sees it?

So, time to ramp it up, and brace myself for the flood of Union Jack and Dixie avatars in my replies. I may be some time.

4 September 2017 · Net Culture


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