Social Media Etiquette 101

[Content Note: Rape culture; harassment.]

So, I write a lot of criticism of public figures, especially male public figures, especially around topics like rape culture.

This, as you may have noticed, tends to evoke a lot of harassment, from those public figures' defenders and from defenders of the rape culture. Or white supremacy. Or fat hatred. Or whatever.

When I link the things I write about these public figures on Twitter, I tend not to tag (or @) the public figures, if they have Twitter accounts, for a couple of reasons:

1. I'm generally under the impression that the public figures about whom I'm writing aren't interested in learning or doing better. (When I believe they are, then I do @ them. See, for example, my tweets at John Oliver, over a segment with which I took issue.)

2. I have no interest in getting into a protracted Twitter war with these fools.

3. I have even less interest in garnering the attention of their fans, who aggressively defend them in the most heinous ways, sometimes including threatening me. Sometimes this escalates to the point where they spill out of my mentions on Twitter and into comments at the blog, creating extra moderating work.

So I have a few solid reasons for not @-ing these dudes when I write pieces about them. Because I don't write them for their attention; I write them for my existing audience, or people desperately googling resources to push back on this kind of shit, to help tease out what's wrong with something that's problematic, or to be one voice saying something is wrong, or to provide a space for people to collectively process some bit of harm.

But there's always gotta be one asshole on Twitter who quotes my tweet and then tags the person about whom I'm writing. Because they just want them to see it so bad. They're mad about whatever it is about which I've written, but they don't want to personally engage with that person, so they send them my work instead.

(And, sometimes, people do it specifically to try to target me: "Look what she's writing about you!")


If I really want someone about whom I'm writing to see what I'm writing, then I'm perfectly capable of @-ing them myself. And if I haven't @-ed them, then there's a reason for that.

Don't do it to me, and don't do it to anyone else. You're not the one who has to deal with the fallout that creates.

If a critic wants a person to see their criticism, let that be their choice.

And, if you don't, own the fact that you're potentially harming us by exposing us in a way we didn't seek to be exposed. It's not a neutral act, elevating someone's criticism with the express intent of bringing it to the attention of people with sometimes millions of followers.

I don't not know how to @ people. I'm just thoughtful about it, for good reason.

If you follow anyone who similarly has reason to be thoughtful about it (any woman, for a start), then I urge you to be thoughtful about it, too.

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