Anti-social media: Should you really tell Twitter your secrets?

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The reaction from the Twitter universe was severe. Most bayed for his blood and he was suspended from his job, but a section of commentators felt that she had unnecessarily aired her dirty laundry in public. File photo Image by: ERIC THAYER / REUTERS

THERE was a time when Twitter was just a place for kids to tell each other what they were eating and how epic last night’s party was.

But the passage of time has turned it into an altogether different beast: One delights in manufactured outrage, crass jokes and, more recently, stories that rub up against the public consciousness like sandpaper.

Perhaps the most recent example of this is how, earlier this month, a young woman took to Twitter to tell the story of how a young man, who at the time also lived in her house, allegedly beat her for four hours before locking her inside.

The reaction from the Twitter universe was severe. Most bayed for his blood and he was suspended from his job, but a section of commentators felt that she had unnecessarily aired her dirty laundry in public.

Before that, another woman had tweeted about her rape ordeal, and, while most were supportive, many felt that she should rather have taken her story to the police than to Twitter.

In both cases the women told their stories to empower other women but the question raised, at least by some, was whether or not Twitter was the right place to do this.

There are many arguments for not exposing the skeletons in your cupboard on social media. You open yourself up to accusations of attention seeking and leave yourself vulnerable to attack from the hordes of scumbags lurking behind egg avatars.

This is perhaps why Twitter’s most important feature is the un-follow button. That tab makes it easy to selectively bury your head in the sand should certain things irk you.

So the next time you see something egregious floating on your timeline, remember that following someone is a continuous choice, one that can be changed with a simple click.- timeslive.co.za

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