Making a difference (part2) in Twitter

Twitter often gets the news before the news channels, and sometimes straight from the horse’s mouth.

I favour the approach of trying to engage with brexiters, including those who are racists. This approach isn’t without problems,

Whether you are new to Twitter or not, if you like getting your current affairs info without spin or you want to get quick interpretations from other people in the know, then Twitter is where you should be (it is also possible to find every concievable interpretation of any particular news item, so do remember to bring your own brain with you).

Finding people to Follow. It’s easy to Follow people and fill up your feed with rubbish. If you have been on Twitter for years, then you will have built up a list of interesting people to Follow, but one of the main problems (I think) with Twitter is that it isn’t quick to find an initial good-quality list of people to follow on Twitter for an accurate feed of information on a particular topic without being over-run by random tweets.

Your own Follow list will undoutedly get fine-tuned over time, but these lists can be useful for long-term Twitterers too in order to avoid the ‘echo chamber’ effect. Either way, getting a new list of people to follow can be a real boost for an otherwise dull feed (or to dive into a new interest or issue…hence this post of course).

Managing your Follows efficiently by using Lists and other methods can become important if you have a lot of Follows, or if you don’t want to Follow everyone for ever, as will avoiding the pitfalls and idiots.

AntiBrexit contacts aren’t always easy to find, so see my post on Follow Recommendations for Twitter where you can find some starter lists.

Anti-troll tips. Another, bigger, problem with Twitter, is the existence of the legendary Trolls. Trolls are an unfortunate reality of Twitter, especially if you are engaging in political discussions. It is clear that some people think that freedom of speech means ‘freedom to annoy and abuse’, but there are ways to deal (or cope) with most situations. With a bit of practice, Trolls can often be dealt with or reported or turned away.

For serious issues, you should contact Twitter directly, but here are some tips for getting rid of trolls or minimising their impact:

  • Consider carefully what personal information you display on Twitter. As well as some inspirational and informative people, there are also some troubled and manipulative people on Twitter. If you are engaging in political discussion about Brexit, then you will get abuse. Unless you are seeking attention or a personal visit, do not put information such as addresses, phone numbers, place of birth, birthdate online. If you choose to use your real name, be aware that in the current political climate there are a lot of zealots about.
  • Report the user. This should be your first consideration if the level of abuse/insults is troubling. If you are receiving direct abuse or harassment, do not delay. You can find the Twitter support page here: http://support.twitter.com
  • Report specific Tweets.
  • Block a user.
  • Temporarily Block. If you block someone, you then can’t see what they’re posting, and sometimes it is better to know. If you can bear peeking, try unblocking them after several hours (or days).
  • Mute. You can just stop seeing someone’s posts – they can still see yours. As with Blocking, you can choose to Mute someone for a few hours or a few days if you think they’ll calm down and engage in future conversations.
  • Adding a troll to an (insultingly named) twitter list sometimes annoys them enough for them to block you. Handy.
  • Remember that Twitter isn’t a safe place for kids.This is a bit of an aside, but in my opinion, if your child is trying to convince you that Twitter is safe, don’t believe them.
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