I recently had a bad run in on Twitter. (Shocking. I know.)
I agreed with a guy. (Let’s call him the Coffee Cup Marauder.) He said having an eclectic set of coffee mugs is nothing to be ashamed of (as opposed to making them all match in the cupboard, I guess) and, since I own a very impressive collection of mugs, I retweeted with a show of support…or…so I thought. The next time I logged on, me and the Coffee Cup Marauder were at war. In less than half an hour he’d attacked me (with those SCARY BIG LETTERS) and sicced his followers on my feed, because arranging the kitchen is serious business, y’all.
I thought about explaining that he’d misunderstood me (I’m still not sure HOW he managed that, but it’s the only explanation I can think of) but it was obvious this guy was itching for a fight and would drag the conversation out forever.
Life is short, so I blocked him, deleted the (apparently) confusing comment, and moved on with my life
Then I remembered…this used to happen every day. For years, I avoided Twitter because mentioning my favorite song or asking about the weather is all it took to start a week-long street fight. Was everyone on Twitter a frustrated warmonger?
Then I started using the #writingcommunity hashtag. Just that one change has turned Twitter into a miracle.
Within the #writingcommunity I’m seeing outpourings of support where hundreds of amateur and professional authors cheer each other on. It’s okay to be unpublished, or to stumble out of the gate. Or to call yourself a writer without a lot to show for it. Being a writer is a journey, and it turns out a lot of people have been sharing this journey and didn’t know it.
Of course, once in a while even the writing community has its jerks. That’s what the mute and block buttons are for. Auto-spamming my feed with ads? Blocked. Oh, you thought I wanted you to retweet every single article from CNN? Move along; don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good Lord split ya’, as they say where I’m from. All caps arguments over your favorite font? Get lost, pal. Make fun of one of my writer friends? Welcome to Blocked-Ville, population: you.
And as I push forward with my upcoming anthology, I’m finding so much encouragement along the way that I feel this strange sense of…confidence. It’s amazing what happens when you surround yourself with the right people.
So, has the #writingcommunity has saved Twitter? I think so; at least, for me. Because my annoying run in with the Coffee Cup Marauder is the first “bad” experience I’ve had on Twitter a long time, and I bet it’ll be a long time before I have another.