I’m thinking about these voices of protest who are enabled to be incredibly effective because of the scale and reach, on the exact same platform that enables all the harm it enables.
I’ve been busy lately so I haven’t been on Twitter, or anywhere else, much. So when I popped in some time today and saw some folks talking about #womenboycottTwitter, I was conflicted. Then I read the following post from Kate Bowles on Mastodon.
Yes! The primary reason I use Twitter is to connect with a community of survivors, and they weren’t the ones I saw pledging to take a day off. They were the ones using the tool today to provide moral support for something I’d tweeted yesterday. They were the ones who were today, like every other day, bravely sharing and raising awareness and/or desperately reaching out for someone else, anyone else, who had stood where they are standing, looking for some evidence that they are not alone or not crazy, or both. These are people who take issues of abuse seriously, and yet choose to use a tool that enables it. Even today.
I’ve been absent too much lately from that world already. How would not being present on yet another day help anyone? It won’t.
So then what might help? I think Kate’s right here too. We have to find a way to stop framing this as a series of questions about tools, platforms, and networks.
Instead, we need to give strength and draw strength. Commit to meet people where they are at. We need to care. Everywhere. We need to listen to who is there and always notice who is missing. And challenge systems of power. Demand that voices silenced and ignored for too long be heard. And accept the associated risks. We need to stop waiting for someone else, especially a corporation or man in power, to take the lead.
On social media. In mainstream media. In our classrooms. At our conferences. In our courts. Always.
At least I do.