I really enjoy Twitter. When I scroll through my timeline I laugh, get sad, roll my eyes and, hopefully, learn. I think Twitter is a great tool for everyone when used properly. We can learn about events our local news does not cover and interact with people we would never meet in real life. On the other side, there are the trolls and people who think they have never had a wrong thought in their life. With anything in life you take the good with the bad.
I bring this topic up because of something that happened a few days ago. A student at Stoneman Douglas High School posted a picture of himself with an AR-15 on Instagram. The student used his social media fame to explain he was “interrogated” and “intimidated” by the school resource office and Broward County deputy when they asked him about the photograph. I have no idea about the interaction between the student and the officers, it could have been an interrogation, it could have been civil questioning, but I cannot speak to that. What brought all of this to my attention was a teacher posted a tweet explaining in today’s educational climate, a student posting a picture like this is not the best idea. That teacher was then quickly attacked by various people on Twitter talking about how what was done to the student was unconstitutional (which it is not) and illegal (which it is not) and infringed on the student’s rights (which it does not).
In response to this teacher being attacked, I sent an encouraging tweet to him for trying to bring some clarity to what goes on in schools because of the gun violence issues we are facing. Then they came for me. I was not attacked like many people on Twitter, in fact, it was very tame. However, this showed me why I love Twitter and hate it at the same time. In response to my tweet, a ended up having a discussion with a woman who did not agree with what happened to the student. We went back in forth pleasantly and constructively. Did anything change either of us? Probably not. However, it was great having a discussion with someone I would probably never meet in real life. On the other side, I had people calling me “moron” or stating that the law had been violated and how could I, as a teacher, endorse something like this? Someone also stated, they knew I would be upset if this was done to my son. (It is not creepy they knew I had a son, I had stated it in a previous tweet)
I understand with any social media it is a forum for people’s opinions, good and bad. What makes me not like Twitter is how hateful people can be. It is a great tool for collaboration and discussion between large groups of people, yet some people use it to spew hate and viciousness. I realize that is part of the world we live in, but I just wish people would realize, it does not help us advance as a society. We are more connected than we have ever been, yet we still have people working to drive a wedge between groups or degrade people they do not agree with. I would never say everyone has to agree, because the reality for most is somewhere between the extremes and the disagreement helps us fine the common ground. However, I do wish people would investigate and question instead of firing off uninformed, angry opinions.
All this being said, I will still be looking over my timeline and enjoying myself, just maybe not reading responses quite as much.