If you're a new Twitter follower… the rest of this document is all for you.
Why You May Like Following Me
Because most of my 16,000+ followers will tell you that I am one of their reliable sources of socio-political and tech news and insights, a few pithy quotes and observations, 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 You 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.
Both of these groups delight in trying to squelch my opinions, ideas, or advocacy. And both use dozens of phony liberal sock puppet accounts to attack me with blather that I "abuse or bully women," or any number of other mythical crimes which they even have entire attack websites to help perpetuate. 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 witnesssed 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 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