Twitter Etiquette and Why I’m Sick of the Blogosphere

I’ve been a little down on blogging recently. I thought it was a lack of motivation or that I had nothing to say but I’ve noticed it’s actually more about the blogging community. Feel free to eye roll because goddamn how many times do we bloggers get on our high horses about this?

I started blogging a little less than two years. In that time my blog has gone from being solely about mental health to more of a mix of lifestyle, mental health and general wellbeing with the odd book review for good measure. I’m so pleased and grateful for how my blog has grown over the last two years. I never imagined that anyone would read it let alone be publishing blog posts out to 5,000 Twitter followers.

But in a way I yearn for the days when I had a couple of hundred people following me because I know that I was braver with my content. I was happier to tweet my opinions because I wasn’t scared of people smacking me down in an instant. The other day I was out with a blogging friend for coffee and we talked about how we often felt scared of posting things online in case they offended someone or triggered an argument. As a quiet person, the internet has given me a platform for sharing my opinions. It has given me a place to be able to articulate my feelings before saying them, to discuss differing opinions with others and most importantly to learn from others. But in recent months, social media, Twitter in particular, feels like a breeding ground for anger, wild goose chases and hostility.

There appears to be a belief on the internet that “calling people out” is okay. It’s an almost daily occurrence on my timeline that someone will post a tweet, someone else will take offence, share it around, and before you know it, the whole blogosphere is talking about ‘drama’. Then of course, the buzzword ‘bullying’ will crop up and there’ll be yet more #drama about whether it is or isn’t bullying and why and why not we shouldn’t be throwing that term around.

What happened to polite discourse? When did we all turn into animals lashing out before re-reading to see if you’ve misunderstood or if someone has just made a throwaway comment. Twitter is a great platform for educating people and if I said something offensive then I’d be more than happy for someone to correct me on it, politely, preferably in a private message. Not retweeting the comment with a eye roll emoji and an explanation as to why it shouldn’t have been said.

Nobody is perfect and we all say things online that we shouldn’t. But sometimes we say things online that we didn’t even know we shouldn’t. There’s a fine line between pointing something out to someone and going out of your way to embarrass and upset someone in return. And the blogosphere just doesn’t seem to be getting that balance right.

People shouldn’t be scared to post their opinions, or to post anything in fact. Sometimes I spend far too long editing a tweet to make sure that it can’t be misconstrued into something that will upset someone. Maybe you could say I shouldn’t be so bothered about it. Why am I getting into such a tizz over the possibility of someone reading my tweet and being offended by it? But right now, for me, it’s not really about that.

It’s about this gang mentality of taking sides where sides don’t need to be taken. I really don’t think any one person should be telling anyone else what to do or say or believe. Sure, we can suggest that a specific tweet might be taken the wrong way but going around thinking everyone needs educating because they don’t share your opinion is patronising, not to mention rude.

This was basically a big ramble because I don’t have any answers except to say maybe we could all try to be a little kinder and not jump to conclusions so quickly. Because that’s the only way I can see the blogosphere improving its community right now.

Rachel x-x-x

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Why I Stopped Hate Following

Ahh social media, the technology that allows us to continue viewing the lives of people we no longer see, care about or even like.

If you’re not a hate follower then I commend you. For as long as social media has existed I have been friends with people on Facebook whose content really riles me up, I’ve avoided following people on Instagram yet continued to have a look like their profiles every once in a while and I’ve failed to unfollow Twitter users whose lives are a trainwreck.

Whether it’s insecurity or just humanity, most of us prefer reading the bad to seeing people’s successes. A huge Twitter argument? You can bet I’m refreshing that timeline like nobody’s business. A giant relationship break all over Facebook? I’m probably screenshotting to discuss with my friends. Let’s not pretend we don’t do these things. Unless it truly it just me in which case I’m just a horrible person.

But as I’ve matured (read: aged), I’ve realised that I’m way more interested in seeing people do well and be happy than I am in petty gossip and moaning Insta stories.

These days I’m getting better at this hate-following thing, and by getting better, I mean I’ve stopped doing it. As is human nature, putting others down can feel therapeutic and help you feel like you’re growing socially but in reality, it’s not cool at all. On the other hand, supporting others and building your pals up is incredibly cool.

If you think you’re guilty of a hate-follow, here’s what I did to curb that horrible habit.

  1. Unfollow all of the people you hate-follow. Every single one. Even that friend from school’s mum who writes horrifically racist statuses.
  2. Maybe cut down on your social media use. If you’re spending enough time on social media that you’re searching accounts out to make yourself feel better, then perhaps it’s time to quit that.
  3. Interact! Instead of silently creeping around on the internet, taking sneaky screenshots to send to your friends, use some of that negative energy and transform it into engaging with others. Send your pals funny memes, compliment them on their selfies and mean it! Do anything that’s not being judgy mcjudgerson.

Finally, no one’s perfect. I think everyone has hate-followed some time in their lives, so you’re not a terrible person! But it’s definitely a habit that’s far easier to pick up than it is to break!

Rachel x-x-x

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How I Burst My Twitter Bubble

Twitter is a microcosm, yet unlike real life, it comes with a mute, block and unfollow button. Three buttons which in all honesty I rarely touch anymore. I use the mute setting to silence TV show spoilers, I block creeps who DM me and I only tend to unfollow accounts which are gagging for attention.

I’ve debated this heavily with a number of people and it turns out there are some varying opinions on whether we should mute what we can mute. The internet is full of people with some very extreme opinions and when you’re feeling low, the last thing you want to see is something that’s going to upset you. You only have to set foot on Twitter to see a racist, transphobic or homophobic comment and that’s never good for anyone’s wellbeing. But equally, life is full of these people too, so are we allowing ourselves to pretend that these people don’t exist by muting them? I’m still not sure about this.

When I first started using Twitter properly for blogging, I would mute anyone that I thought warranted it: people who promote themselves a million times a day, people with poor grammar, accounts with varying political opinions to me. And as time went on, I noticed that other people were doing the same thing. When the Brexiters won the vote in 2016, I was shocked. How could so many people have voted for this when everyone I interact with believes the opposite? I was for want of a better word, bamboozled.

When you live most of your life on the internet, it’s really easy to just mute people who you don’t agree with. You can block the homophobes and the racists because obviously no one wants to see profanities all over their screen, and with a mute button right there in front of you, it seems ludicrous not to use it. But shortly after Trump won the presidential election, I realised that what I was really doing was muting out real life.

I was only seeing the people who I agreed with so I wanted to burst my twitter bubble and engage more to understand different viewpoints, even when they are poles apart from my own. So I unblocked and unmuted all the accounts I had previously hidden from view.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy. I’m a really sensitive person and seeing people tweet things that I’m so against has probably caused me more rage than is necessary, but it’s helped. It’s helped me to understand where people are coming from with their varying opinions, and to get a better understanding of a huge amount of disillusionment that I was previously unaware of.

Something else that I’ve become acutely aware of from my bubble bursting adventure is that just because someone has a viewpoint different to mine doesn’t mean that there is nothing that I agree with them on, or that they are always wrong. Yes, the source of an opinion is important but don’t just assume someone’s viewpoint is ridiculous before thinking about it yourself.

I know that for some people, muting and blocking is a great way of stopping upset and seeing triggering content, but right now, for me it’s been really helpful in quashing the idea that everyone around me shares my opinions, just because an algorithm shows me what I want to see.

Do you find blocking Twitter accounts useful, or do you prefer to see everything? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

 

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Twitter is an Angry Place

This morning I scrolled down my Twitter timeline as I do every day when I wake up. It didn’t take me long to find an angry tweet – something about the blogging community being divided. You know the kind of tweet I’m talking about.

Normally I roll my eyes, and carry on down my feed. But today I didn’t. Something about the tweet really riled me up but instead of just letting it bother me I’m trying to channel it into this post.

Now I’m absolutely not saying that we shouldn’t be posting any kind of negativity on Twitter. I can definitely be a negative Nancy at times, and it’s really important that we don’t only post the highlights of our lives.

But this constant division of ‘writers’ and ‘bloggers’ which I’ve seen growing and growing in recent weeks, as well as the inevitable ‘Just @ me next time’ tweets have left me feeling disillusioned and confused about whether I want to be using Twitter at all.

Most of the people I have on Twitter are over 18, so why are we all acting so childish? Cliques will form inevitably, but the mentality of ‘If my best friend doesn’t like you, I don’t like you,’ is ridiculous. Form your own opinions. Don’t judge based on interactions that you haven’t seen for yourself. Arguments escalate on Twitter far more quickly than in real life and users are so quick to jump down someone’s throat.

Just remember that people make mistakes when they’re tweeting. Opinions don’t always sound the way they were intended and it’s so easy to get the wrong end of the stick.

So remember what your mother taught you: Think before you speak and If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Rachel x-x-x

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Why I’m At The Gym On A Sunday

This morning, I waved goodbye to my boyfriend after a lovely long weekend and put on my gym clothes. I was promptly met with a look of confusion by my housemates.

“It’s Sunday. Why are you going to the gym?”

Normally I would brush off the remark with an “I know, who am I?” Or a “I must really hate myself.”

But today I didn’t. Because recently the internet has got me thinking about my fitness habits.
After Christmas, I saw a tonne of comments about the negative effects of fitness and healthy eating advertising. There were so many statuses saying that we should love ourselves and that we don’t need to lose weight. But that mindset doesn’t sit quite right with me. I absolutely think that everyone should love themselves, regardless of size and in lots of cases size does not equate to fitness. But, there is definitely an attitude, especially in the internet community, to look down on people that are bettering themselves and be negative about healthy eating and fitness.

I take a lot of pride in my appearance and I’m not embarrassed to say that. I’ve spent 23 years of my life being lucky enough to eat whatever I want and not put weight on. But late last year I found that I was tired all the time, my skin looked dull and I was getting heart palpitations and feeling dizzy on a daily basis. I soon found out it was down to a vitamin b 12 deficiency. And so I started eating better, working out more and just being generally mindful of what I was doing to my body.

Soon, my energy picked up again, and I became determined to look after my body better. This had been a minor blip in my health but it really spurred me on to be proud to say that I look after my body.

I think what I’m trying to say is that, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you should love yourself no matter your size or level of fitness and therefore be complacent about what you’re doing to your body. I thought that because my body looked fine from the outside that it was probably fine on the inside too and that wasn’t the case.

Fitness is really important, after all, health is all we really have. So next time someone makes you feel bad for not having that cake or spending your morning at the gym, just remind yourself that you shouldn’t feel bad for improving yourself. Trying to better yourself doesn’t mean that you’re fat-shaming or falling victim to the ‘new year, new me’ curse.

Take care of your body and be proud of that.

Rachel x-x-x

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