To be frank I don’t know how Twitter is going to cope without me on Sunday . People will just have to pull through somehow without me tweeting a picture of a baby hedgehog or linking to some Funkadelic. Never mind all the important “research” I do on Twitter. None the less everyone will have to manage, as I am making the weeniest symbolic gesture of boycotting Twitter on Sunday.
A conversation has begun that is a long way from over. The majority of social media users: women, should not be subject to rape and death threats. And yes thanks I know full well the difference between disagreement and a description of dismemberment. We want the company hosting these threats to be less lackadaiscal and be able to respond faster. We provide the content and can it take it elsewhere. There are other apps out there and Twitter has felt past its peak for a while anyway.
The perception that this is merely the concern of some self-important newspaper columnists who will collectively flounce depriving everyone else of their wit and wisdom is one I understand. Simply though, I don’t think this idea would have any legs if all kinds of people were not disgusted when online misogyny is made visible.
Plus ,as protests go its about as easy as it gets. You have to NOT do something instead of doing it! If you want not to be silent then tweet Simone De Beauvoir all day, shout back at the abusers (troll is not the right word) . All of it is fine.
There have been previously been discussions about misogyny online but this has hit a nerve and we watched a week of Twitter dithering and the police making the right noises but unable to achieve much.
What has been eye-opening is the outpouring of hostility to the very notion of a boycott. The ongoing discussions about the technical difficulties abound and the essential complicated ones about free speech will continue. But what remains is this essential fact : right now it possible to threaten rape and kill women online without any consequences. Behaviour can and does change. When Lord Mcalpine successfully sued prominent tweeters for libel, Twitter woke up a bit.
The past week has opened a can of worms. Some of the worms get off on each other . This strange goon squad of sub-Clarksons, bedroom anarchists ,useful idiots, hardcore woman haters gives most of us the creeps and they will be slithering about on Sunday.
In cyberspace as in the real world. They will not prevail. On Sunday the boycott is a bunch of people going quietly Travis Bickle. We "ain’t gonna take it anymore." Join us or don’t. The boycott has already worked. Because Twitter , the company is nervy and watching its back. Hello? Thats how it feels when strangers abuse you en masse. Personal apologies to high profile women feel nothing but patronising. Just the prospect 24 hour boycott has made us talk much openly about what could happen, what is happening. Thats all. Funny chaps us women? Because once we start talking , we won't stop.