A Tale of two Twitters

A tale of two twitters!

Over the past fortnight, I have experienced a roller coaster ride of all that is both the best and worst of being a Twitter user.

I have had a personal and business account for over ten years on the Twitter platform and have enjoyed varying degrees of follower support. Like many Twitter accounts with a conservative-leaning I suffered a dramatic loss of followers after Donald Trump was kicked off Twitter and conservative accounts were then purged across the globe. This in itself was bizarre as people on Twitter group mostly according to their interests and beliefs, so unless you were going to suspend every conservative account on Twitter, then that group would always rebuild in both numbers and content, which is exactly what has happened.

After that, I slowly but steadily grew my following once more. A month ago I then became serious about actively building that following and in four weeks I grew it from 1600 to nearly 3,000 followers. The reason I pursue this course of action was that I had my business locked down for nearly two years and  I decided an online option was a good way to fireproof my business from lockdowns so that no matter what happened in our economy,  I could still earn an income. In the end, I landed on an online media business where I would run an online forum for conservative voices thinking the purge should have been over by now.

It was starting to work nicely as well with a website, an email newsletter, a video blog and a growing online presence to the point that I was even starting to earn an income from it all.

My technique was very simply to ensure that I was transparent and that whatever articles I wrote and whatever media I published I was true to myself and it reflected who I am. So I didn’t hide behind any false names and used my own instead and I tweeted how I spoke in normal life which was straight to the point, with some tongue in cheek humour and my own fair share of four-letter words blanked out with special characters on most occasions so I didn’t offend too many. Where confrontation was required I wouldn’t hesitate to engage in it and this was especially so when I defended the values and people I thought were being unfairly tarnished or demonised.

Being raised in a family of ten children with eight of them being boys, finding myself in confrontational contests was and is water off a duck’s back for me. I have also coached junior and open age basketball for thirty years along with running basketball competitions for all age groups and genders. So having to negotiate weekly confrontations and arguments in the cesspit that is the political battlefield of junior sports, I am well and truly prepared for the cesspit of twitter confrontation. That history gave me the tools and the thick skin to flourish on this platform.

Once I had become serious about boosting my following I doubled it in four weeks and was sharing my thoughts and media on all types of social media platforms, but especially on Twitter. In that period I had my conservative and classic liberal values front and centre and I called out all sorts of politicians and media personalities from both sides of the aisle on their Twitter threads. People who should have had thicker skins certainly were quick to hit the block button.

Four weeks after this follower drive started I received a seven-day twitter suspension over what I thought was an innocuous tweet. This was my first hit from twitter in ten years and after speaking to others to receive a seven-day suspension on your first alleged transgression was apparently both surprising and harsh.  I didn’t give it too much thought to it at the time and jumped straight back into the Twitter cesspit once the suspension was lifted. My approach was that it would be good to have a week off from social media. Then eight days ago out of nowhere, I received a permanent suspension for what can be only described as the most absurd reason.

I had just watched a  video opinion piece from SkyNews journalist, Sharri Markson, attached to a tweet, where she expressed the opinion that she didn’t want to visit a venue where she could be sitting next to an unvaccinated person and be breathing the same air as them. 

I was disgusted at this and responded on the thread to the attached tweet.  As you can see most of the tweet was about my experiences in Melbourne throughout this covid-19 crisis before finishing the tweet with what I thought of Sharri Markson’s remarks. In that tweet, I used the word wench as an adjective to describe Sharri instead of the harsher ones that I had in mind.

The Miriam-Webster dictionary “noun” definition of the word wench is –

aa female servant (a tavern wench)

ba girl or woman of a socially low class

I have no issues in admitting that I was using it in a derogatory manner, but to imply as twitter did, that I used this in a hateful manner to encourage abuse and/or violence against another person is simply not feasible in any way shape or form. Due to this, I cannot believe an algorithm identified this in this manner. So in my mind, it had to be another person reporting my tweet, so I followed the Twitter reporting process on another tweet without lodging that report and discovered a number of the reasons for reporting a tweet were identical to what I had been suspended for. So draw your own conclusions from that as I did, which was that another person had reported me for my tweet.

I immediately appealed had it rejected and then lodged another one. I decided to give it seven days and if the account remained suspended I would use my business account to start rebuilding the following that I had built on the suspended personal account.

Seven days later I started that mission by sending direct messages to my 464 followers on that Twitter business account. In less than forty-eight hours, that following had increased by an incredible 912 followers. I know other accounts have enjoyed far more dramatic increases, but for somebody like me, who in reality is a nobody basketball coach in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne who is now getting by from expressing an opinion, to have a loyal group of followers come to my aid in this manner was a little overwhelming and at the same time uplifting. What was even nourishing for the soul were some of the messages passed back to me from my followers. It’s always great to see your work and your messaging appreciated and supported.

This is even better when you are recognising familiar accounts and the people behind those accounts that you have grown to recognise through the years. Many people refer to these followers as your online family, but you don’t realise how true that concept is until you genuinely need their support. That realisation was driven home to me in the most amazing way in under forty-eight hours.

Throughout my life, I have had some very challenging times which showed to me who my true friends were. When I needed those friends the most, the true friends were there for me, the fake ones couldn’t run away fast enough or even in the worst cases dig the knives in the back deep enough.

Yet nearly to a person, my Twitter followers came through for me. People whom I have never met but whom I have come to know through our shared opinions, views, politics and experiences, didn’t hesitate to my aid. They truly are an online family and one that I am so grateful that I decided to fight for by rebuilding my following.

Twitter and social media have their detractors and rightfully so and I certainly am critical of the platforms organisation, owners and administrators. They censor information, delete it, place ridiculous notices on tweetsthat they disagree with, shadow ban people they disagree with and as in my case ban and suspend them. Instead of allowing free speech, they look to manipulate and control it instead. 

The good news is you simply cannot put the genie back in the bottle., good people will not kneel, they will stand they will fight, they will argue, they will support and they will defend each other. They will share their life moments, both good and bad, they will share emotions and ask for help or provide it and through this, even without knowing it they will inspire others. It can also embolden another person’s internal constitution when it’s most needed as they realise there are others out there who do share their views and opinions when all around them in their daily lives may not.

Social media can also help us understand the views of others whom we don’t understand, people from the LGBT community for example as I have done or those from other cultures than our own and through that come to understand that we are not that much different after all. We all value our families and loved ones and we all value our freedoms and our way of life in this country.

On a more personal level through social media, we share the most important things in life; the births of children and grandchildren, the joys our pets bring us, a great scenery, a good joke, a funny meme, a picture of a great meal or a video of a great event.  We do this with people from across the globe that in past decades we would never have come to know and appreciate.

Isn’t that the very core of what lies behind a solid family unit?

So yes, Twitter has its infuriating points, but if you are prepared to look past those points then you realise that it has far more positives than negatives. So in this era of big tech censorship, we need to continue to support each other in whatever way we can, especially those of us who share conservative of classical liberal values. The Marxists and socialist big tech billionaires now have us in their sights, as they did with families in the communist eastern bloc during the cold war. We must never lose those values that make us who we are and like those Eastern Bloc families and people we need to keep fighting until the Marxist regimes trying to control our lives are defeated.

As a united and dedicated family, we can achieve that. Stay strong and look after each other in the same way you have looked after me this week. Something I will always be grateful for.