I’m kind of dreading talking about this because I feel like a lot of people are going to take it the wrong way and think that I’m attacking them personally. For the record, I am not here to do that at all. I just want to rant about a small group of people who think it’s okay to tell others how they should be behaving on social media.
I have encountered people like this many times over the past, say, three years, but lately I have been noticing that it is happening more and more. My friends have also experienced this and to be honest I think everyone is pretty fed up with it. But I’m not here to speak for them. I’m here to talk about my own experience and opinions.
Apparently some people think they have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t talk about on their social media accounts, particularly on Twitter which is the most popular social media forum on the internet right now. Now, I’m not just talking about book bloggers, I’m talking about those in TV fandoms, those who don’t belong in any fandom at all, just regular people who think that it’s okay to tweet people and tell them how they should be behaving.
In the past, I have been told that I shouldn’t be saying certain things, and I have been shouted at for voicing my own opinion. This makes me angry because this kind of behaviour makes people, especially younger people who are perhaps not as confident with their opinions yet and are trying to use Twitter as an outlet, afraid to share their opinions with others. It eventually leads to silencing these people, and that is wrong.
The most recent case of Social Media Police that affected me was over tweeting spoilers for a TV show. Now, let me explain something about my Books of Amber Twitter account. I generally keep book spoilers off of BoA because the majority of my followers (<3) are book people, and I would hate to spoil my friends about books that they’re perhaps contemplating reading. I have another account that is 100% NOT spoiler free, and people follow it at their own risk.
The exception to my rule, and it is MY rule that I have set myself because it it MY Twitter account and MY outlet, is TV show and movie spoilers. Particularly if a show has already aired in another country (most likely the USA or the UK) then I consider it fair game and I likely WILL spoil it. The thing is, I like to liveblog. My friends like it when I liveblog. So I do. And yet many people seem to have a problem with this.
A couple of weeks ago, I was told that I shouldn’t post spoilers for The 100 (which was airing in the UK and I was liveblogging along with it) even though the episode had aired in the USA two months earlier. This is the latest incident from a long line of people who think it’s okay to tell people what to do. I politely declined when this person approached me, and explained that my account isn’t spoiler-free when it comes to TV shows. They then went on to say that they weren’t even following me (?!) and my spoilers were all over their timeline through retweets. Which, a) how in the world is that my fault, and b) if you haven’t watched the episode then what are you doing on Twitter while it’s airing without taking certain precautions? Since I know that a lot of my friends and followers are catching up with The 100 (you’re welcome!), I have been holding off liveblogging and spoiling until the UK air date because I try to be a little bit considerate. I think two months is a pretty decent amount of time to stay silent, don’t you agree?
That’s what happened to me, and someone else also shouted at one of my friends on that same night, which is partly what has prompted this post. I hope that was enough context for you.
Anyway, the point that I am trying to make here is that my Twitter is MY Twitter. I am free to post whatever I like on there, since Twitter for me is an outlet for all of my fangirling and rage.
Ultimately what it comes down to is this: If you don’t like what someone is posting on Twitter, then don’t follow them. It is unbelievably rude to try to tell them what to do on their own account. What makes you think you have that right? Would you tell someone what to say in person too?
Unfollowing is an easy fix, but if you don’t want to do anything that drastic then you could always mute the “offender”, or mute the hashtags they are using if they are liveblogging something. Personally, I don’t give a crap if you unfollow me because you don’t like what I’m saying. Unfollow me, mute me, or even block me if you want, I do not mind. If what I say in terms of liveblogging is getting to you and upsetting you so much that you feel like you need to repeatedly tell me to stop, then please, leave. As long as people’s opinions aren’t offensive or hurting anyone else (which, by the way, liveblogging generally is NOT) then you have absolutely no right to tell anybody what they can or can’t do on their social media.
This has really been getting on my nerves for a while now because it feels too much like people telling others to behave in a certain way. It’s bordering on censorship if you tell someone they can’t say something, and then get continuously more aggressive when they decline. I wish people would think about what they’re saying before they tell people how to behave on their own accounts. Would they like it if someone were to tweet them and tell them to stop talking about a certain topic? I don’t think so.
In conclusion, people can do whatever they like on their Twitter accounts or other social media as long as what they’re doing isn’t offensive, illegal, or otherwise completely terrible. It’s not your job and it’s not your right to tell anyone how to behave, so please stop acting as though you have some sort of authority over those of us who are just trying to enjoy ourselves.