If you're just looking for my blog, that's here, or my quasi-bio, that's over here. If you're a new Twitter follower… the rest of this document is all for you. It addresses the many myths, smears, and allegations about yours truly which you can find all over the Internet. This is really my only response to any of it, as there's not much you can really do about these things. Trolls, bullies, and political operatives have their tricks and tools, and any visible voice on social media just has to live with that. But that doesn't mean they should go completely without response. So this is mine.
Why Some Like Following Me
Because most of my 19,000+ followers will tell you that I am a reliable source of socio-political and tech news insights, a few occasional pithy quote or observation, and a pretty good way to locate interesting people to follow on Twitter. I am also known for writing many Twitter tutorials and tips that you can find on this site; for creating several Twitter acronyms and conventions such as the MT code; and for heavily promoting the early popular definition and use of the #p2 tag for progressives. I was the founder of the stoprush.net project, which built the database system that helped make the #StopRush effort one of the most successful consumer campaigns ever launched against that scurrilous talk show host.
Oh, and I'm also kinda fun at parties.
Why Many Don't Want Others Following Me
Because I am known for having a loud and assertive progressive voice, which makes me a favorite target of many right wing political hit squads, as well as some disaffected progressives who often resent my support of President Obama, my dislike of pseudo-left heros like Glenn Greenwald, my pragmatic politics, or my contempt for much of the ineffectual Left that uses issue tourism as a pretext to harvest money from well meaning progressives. Together with @MSNBC contributor, @joyannreid, I once defined "emo-progressives" (which I later renamed "Puritopians.") The enmity this produced lead to all manner of assaults on me, most of which rely on dredging up past assaults o me.
Both groups, from the wingnut-right and left, delight in trying to squelch my opinions, ideas, projects, or advocacy. And both use dozens of phony liberal sock puppet accounts and attack me with blather that I "abuse or bully women," abuse children, or any number of other mythical crimes which they even create entire attack websites to help perpetuate. Much of the nonsense of these sites propagates from one to the next, until it's impossible to tell who is a source, and who is a victim of which fable on any given day. I long ago stopped trying.
They constantly troll me, try to set me up with using confidants, romantic interests, or any other device they can think of. Think I exaggerate, or I'm a bit paranoid? Just ask around; This nonsense has gone on for years, and hundreds, nay, thousands have witnessed it, and many of them have been dragged into it for no other reason than that someone could.
And that's just the political side of things. As of August, 2012, the biggest source of acrimony, and various and sundry “abuser narratives,” revolve around two overlapping personal dramas. Both are directly related to a mean-spirited act of romantic vengeance by an ex cyber-girlfriend who, with an obsessively devoted Twitter clique, spent about 18 months of Twitter time trying to taint me with various kinds of abusive male & male-slut shaming narratives with "proof" no one but them has ever seen, and which they never bother to document.
Most of my followers watched this drama unfold in real-time over many years, and know that it's all a bunch of contrivances, setups, and selectively manipulated tweets. As happens with these kinds of conflagrations, I occasionally made the mistake of fighting back, using strategies that sometimes only made things worse. I should have taken my friend's advice and never responded to any of it. And that has been my habit since early 2013: I never respond to these absurd allegations, insults and gossip. Period. You can't ever win by doing so. You only call attention to the past hoaxes, smears, and allegations, and whip up the harassing mobs into a frenzy all over again. Instead, I say nothing, and let people observe just how dedicated these obsessive people really are. That seems to speak for itself to sensible folks.
Note: I have redacted about 1500 words that once appeared here where I had detailed key people, events and gossip about this unfortunate side of my Twitter life. I've decided that while such details certainly placed the blame where it rightfully belongs, it just creates too many opportunities for people to tweet questions about it, which only serves to stir up the hornet's nest of malice and acrimony all over again. So while I am sure this will allow these troll armies the space to blather on anew without redress, in the end, I think enough about me — and my better reputational aspects — can fend off much of that noise going forward. If it becomes necessary to publish it again, I won't hesitate. I will also make it available on request if you're an author doing a story on Twitter trolling and abuse.
That's All You Really Need To Know
In one way or another, almost every dreadful thing you might hear about yours truly on Twitter and the Interwebs owes its origins to the paragraphs above, regardless of which stealthy belligerent or concern troll might find a way to bring you the news… "as a warning."
- Is Bullying an Acceptable Response—Ever?
- Psychology of Cyberspace – The Online Disinhibition Effect
- 'It just makes me happy when I can make someone angry' – the dark world of trolling