Ross: How to navigate Twitter’s toxic debate culture
I noticed a piece in The Washington Post about the debate culture on Twitter – people who will call you out anytime you post something they disagree with, and then if you don’t debate they will call you a coward.
It’s this that really upsets people.
I would just point out that those who call you coward online are doing it from a keyboard. They are tapping their fingers on little keys.
Coward-calling might matter when you’re face-to-face and there’s a gauntlet involved, but it doesn’t mean much on Twitter.
I see Twitter as a little like driving on a crowded freeway: You’re among a bunch of strangers any one of whom could swerve and kill you.
There’s always someone who thinks you’re in his way. He’ll flash his lights, and ride your tail, just to terrorize you, and when you let him pass he’s still mad.
Don’t engage — take the next exit if you have to.
But there are times when you’ll find the driver who’s keeping a steady pace, and a safe distance even when people cut in, and I will fall in line behind that person. We’ll slow down to let traffic merge, we’ll speed up when there’s room. We’re probably very different people, but on this crowded freeway we’re working together to solve the problem, which is for everybody get home intact.
That’s the person you engage with on Twitter. The others will eventually careen into a ditch without your help.