Monday, June 25, 2012

Enter The "Twitter-Bully"

I have always been a big fan of Robert Greenwald... and have floated in a couple of the same circles as Art Greenwald... So when I saw that there was a gay left-wing blogger and fellow South Floridian writing for named Glenn Greenwald, I figured he'd be a winner for sure.

Not so much, as it turns out...

I'm sort of new to Twitter and my blog's Twitter account has only above 80 followers thus far. A few of those followers have a propensity toward showing me their breasts... They evidently don't read my tweets or they'd know they're barking up the wrong tree.  I'm still learning and only recently learned about how Tweetdeck helps a person.

I had avoided establishing myself on Twitter for the longest time because the only things I knew about it were that it limits your thoughts to 140-something characters or less and that it was, fittingly, the communications medium of choice for Sarah Palin.

Now, I know you're anxious for me to get to the point, so let me just brief you about my thoughts on "bullying" in general real quick.  I'm not totally sold on the idea that bullying should be or can be legislated out of existence... but I do believe that bullying in it's myriad of forms is wrong.  This might strike some as a bit hypocritical coming from me but I assure you it's not.  As Dorothy Parker once said, "Every morning when I wake up, I brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue."  That doesn't make me a bully, it just makes me one not to mess with.

Although I'm used to shaking things up politically and can hold my own in internet flame-wars... I support an organization called NVEEE that seeks to make life a little bit better for those who aren't so thick-skinned.

Now, here's where Glenn comes in... And I'm really sort of picking on him because he picked on me first.  He's not at all the only Mainstream Media personality who does this.  And what he did wasn't really all THAT terrible but it was immature and it was technically a form of cyberbullying.

He and I got into a day-long heated discussion argument about Jimmy Carter drone strikes.  He's steadfast against them and I'm wishy-washy on the subject.  In my opinion, we elected a President who assured us that he'd "bring a scalpel" to the war on terror and "not a sledgehammer" as George W. Bush had done.  I think Drone Strikes might accomplish exactly that... provided there's enough transparency regarding their use.

Well, it didn't take Glenn Greenwald very long at all to start denouncing all Obama supporters as vicious child-murdering unsympathetic warmongers and yaddita-yaddita-ya... Of course, the terrorists who use children as body armor are just trying to get some long-awaited respect as far as Glenn is concerned... but I digress...

That part, I can handle - but where it got curious is when Glenn did what I've seen Michelle Malkin do before... He kept re-tweeting his responses to me over and over again. Now, I didn't know at first why he was doing this. I thought maybe his keyboard got stuck or something... (he might actually look at the pictures of the "cam people").  And when somebody "re-tweets" themselves using an application like Tweetdeck, Twitter doesn't tell them not to.  Furthermore, the re-tweeted tweet just moves up on the feed again but retains its original position on the (twitterers?) account page, so it kind of even looks like they're not doing anything.

Then his "followers" started joining the conversation one by one... Some of them were very nice and some of them were "on my side" too.  But not all of them. I suddenly realized that Glenn Greenwald was "Twitter-Bullying" me... He was taking advantage of his stature by using his number of followers to launch an attack in an effort to intimidate me and make me change my opinion.  His staunch defenders - dare I call some of them "sheep" - would now commence unto bleating in my general direction.

Once I indicated to him that I was aware of what he was doing, he immediately stopped.

But let's not make this all about Glenn, ok?  Let's imagine for a moment how this scenario would go down in a high school setting... In this alternate reality, I am the dorky fat gay kid and Glenn is the beautiful prom queen who has everything.  Need I go any further with this?

As I've already stated, Glenn is not the only "blogosphere celebrity" doing this on Twitter, I've seen Keith Olbermann sort of do it too... and I've seen Cher come dangerously close.  In Keith's case, he didn't re-tweet over and over again, but he made his responses to his detractors a little too personal to be comfy with. If you've been following this blog at all, you also know that I first pointed out the hypocrisy or at least the audacity of Dan Savage entering the nation's "bullying" dialogue - long before Breitbart did.

Now, I understand, that to those Twitter Superstars, they got #99Probs and a ___ aint one. Poor Meghan McCain was bullied by some of Michelle Malkin's evil minions (and other people I'm sure) and felt the wrath of Twitter... but I didn't say much at the time... because I know that Meghan's a big girl and she has lots of followers. But what if Meghan isn't the only person viewing the attacks against her?  What if some random *other* heavy-set girl who supports gay rights was exposed to the attack?  See, it's a problem no matter who does it or to whom...

I think it's wrong for mainstream media personalities (or even just popular people in general) to victimize their detractors (or random people) by inciting their "fans" to do their dirty work for them.  What we can do to prevent this is three-fold:

1) When you see someone being "bullied" on Twitter, tell the participants to stop.
2) Unfollow the bully and start following the bullied victim.
3) Try to avoid the temptation to pick people apart personally. Stay focused on your point and not what you think of the other person when you argue.

I might just unfollow Glenn if he gets out of hand with this.

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