All forms of social media are on the receiving end of some seriously bad press but, for today, I’m going to focus solely on Twitter’s positive aspects.
Having previously experienced the negative side of the online world, I’ve been careful in my use of social media platforms. To paraphrase a wise woman I know – what I share is authentically me, but I no longer share all of me. I have views and opinions which I either do not express at all online, or do so with a quiet voice. I have no interest in attracting the attention of trolls and bots – so prevalent in this digital world – nor that of individuals who seem to have nothing better to do with their lives than spew hatred and bile.
There are two positive aspects of Twitter which I’d like to highlight – the support provided by friendship groups which have grown up around shared interests and struggles, and the #WritingCommunity.
When my writing partner over at Fiction Can Be Fun persuaded me to give Twitter a try, I dipped in a very cautious toe. He was right though, for I have found the #WritingCommunity to be a rare and beautiful thing. Every day there are opportunities for writers to share extracts of their works-in-progress and every day, writers like and retweet the work of their peers. There are some absolutely standout good guys, turning up without fail to support their fellow writers, week-upon-week.
I’ve lost count of the number of tweets I’ve read where authors ask for links to the work of their peers, so they can purchase and read them. Now writers are not just time-crunched individuals, they also have considerable costs involved in bringing their own work to publication, yet here they are offering to support their fellow writers in the most tangible of ways.
Writing is a very solitary endeavour. Some writers are fortunate in having wonderfully supportive partners and families – others are not. Just today I saw a writer’s tweet expressing sadness that their family had not turned up to support them at a writer event. She received a lot of empathy, support and encouragement from the #WritingCommunity so, although sad, felt lifted up sufficiently to continue on the tough road of bringing her work to the public. This is a far from an unusual occurrence.
On the subject of Twitter communities in general, there’s been a little buzz across Twitter-land in the last week, because the promotional tour dates for the lovely Marian Keyes new book are being released. And you know what I’ve seen? People all over Twitter, coming together to book their tickets … in group outings. Nothing unusual you may think, except all these groups are formed of people who only know each other because of Twitter.
Lastly to the other Twitter community of which I spoke. I feel genuinely fortunate to have gained a peak into their world, for it is one where genuine friendships have developed. Most of the individuals have considerable challenges in their everyday lives, but they demonstrate great kindness and terrific humour. I’ll not be naming them, for despite their use of this very public vehicle, their lives are their business – so I’ll say no more, other than I am humbled by their care and kindness of one another.
There is a lot wrong with Twitter, but there is also much to be found that is oh so right. Like all forms of social media, Twitter is a tool – a tool used by individuals. Sadly some of the individuals are less than one would hope for, but fortunately there are still many who are everything and more.
Let’s hear it for the good people of Twitter! Come share your tales of positive experiences here …
© Debra Carey, 2019