Passive me, aggressive you
What’s the difference between Facebook and Twitter? This isn’t the start of a joke (but feel free to smile wryly).
Facebook is the dinner party you throw for your family and friends. You chat, you share, you get the photos out, you play games.
Twitter is the pub crawl you go on with mates. You bump into people you’ve never met before. You quickly and easily make new but tenuous friendships. You just as easily encounter people and attitudes you don’t like. Sometimes people try to interact but you ignore them. Sometimes you don’t interact at all. You just watch the crowd.
There is something transient about Twitter and while that can be a strength it can be a weakness too.
Just like on a pub crawl, it is terribly easy to get into an argument on Twitter. Before you know it you have a 140-character pushing and shoving match, surrounded by your friends and their friends. Your friends stick up for you. The other person’s friends do likewise.
I’ve seen (but not been the target of) those so motivated by rage or embarrassment (or possibly damage to already dwindling self esteem) that, to prove their point actual aggression gives way to passive aggression.
I’ve followed (but not been involved in) spats resulting in tweets that are effectively stage whispers: no name and no aim, but directed knowingly.
I’ve read (but not reacted to) blog posts onto which the desire to gain the high ground has spilled (or should that be oozed) from the shorter format.
When did cyberculture infantilise us? How do we let it happen? What makes supposedly sensible grown ups act this way? Most of the time I love Twitter. Sometimes I see stuff and I just want to crack heads together. There’s nothing passive about that.