That is what I came here to write.

The problem comes when you try to talk about any contentious subject which divides opinion. Twitter enables like-minded groups of people to dogpile onto single users who differ from their viewpoint, flooding their notifications and targeting their account with a concentrated stream of abuse. It is an idealogue’s stomping ground.

In my industry there are many prominent public speakers that most of my fellow professionals think are intellectually lightweight, nonsensical or even downright harmful to our medium of choice. Yet these people rarely get called out for the ridiculous pronouncements they make because they have an army of hardcore fans willing to make people’s lives miserable. The price of dissent on twitter is deemed too high and people are genuinely concerned that their careers will suffer as a result of speaking out. It could be argued that the mindset is the problem, not twitter. However, Twitter’s refusal to take abuse seriously makes it a part of the problem as it becomes a perfect enabler for this sort of dogmatic rule by holier-than-thou-ness.

And I would add that just because you haven’t been attacked for an idle tweet doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened to other users. We have the data on that one already. In a sense, the more engaged you are with the world, the more you want to use twitter as a platform for learning and sharing ideas, the more you care, actually genuinely care about a given topic, the greater the risk of blowback from the angry fire of a twitter mob. So the twitter platform turns into an arena for dull, safe, reductive conversational choices because the CEO’s of Twitter are not prepared to mitigate the risks of supporting constructive public discourse. Which is kind of a shame, really.

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