I have the knack of testing people’s resolve by being an opposition. I have the belief that it helps strengthens my own belief system by purging untested arguments while giving my counter party food for thought. On Monday, November 23, 2015, I did my thing by trying to see reason with religious fanatics because this has been a research case study; trying to understand the line, the thin line, between fanaticism and spirituality. I argued my case briefly with a social media personality and all was well. However, I was not testing wills that same Monday, but was staunchly in support of an issue but the unfortunate omission of a word perpetuated by working under the constraint of having to write within 140 characters brought me to fore with twitter trolls and the vengefulness of social media. That morning, I had even skimmed through an article on what not to write or do on social media unaware that in less than one hour I would be the centre of a circusian attraction.
I tweeted in reply to someone’s tweet; “I don’t know why rape – unconsenting sex – is treated like a taboo and not consenting sex with multiple partners? Twisted world!”
The missing word was any of these; victim(s), discussion, issue, etc and was supposed to be after the ‘rape’ and not simply the rape itself. What I was supposed to tweet was;
“I don’t know why rape discussion, victims or issues– unconsenting sex – is treated like a taboo and not consenting sex with multiple partners? Twisted world!”
I went off twitter and when I came back I knew I had offended the gods of twitter land. Insults, disbelief, disinterest to even know why and much more dotted the landscape of my timeline. Even my attempts to explain was quickly rebuffed as the explanation of a concussed lunatic. I quietly left twitter for some days.
I have written a blog post in this blog 14 months ago stating my encounter with a rape victim and my distaste for rape (see here) and I also have a chapter in my first book, published in 2010, dedicated to the rape of Tamar and hope for rape victims by God (Seven Women, One God). Moreover, I am an advocate for premarital sexual abstinence by reason of my personal and religious persuasion and here was I being viciously vilified and labelled a pervert. It did hurt mildly especially as social media do travel fast and you cannot guarantee where and with whom your ‘mis’-writings will find themselves but, as me, I picked some valuable lessons from it.
- Do not be too quick to judge someone especially when you have not had him explain himself. God does not even want us to judge people.
- Social media is not the place to form opinions of people and their beliefs because you barely know them and definitely not through social media.
- You may not be better than the person you are condemning on social media because of his post. Your opinion may even be wrong!
- Check, re-check, and cross-check before you hit the send button. (ok, I knew this before but it brought a whole new sense of meaning to me.)
- Celebrities are really in bad situations having to read the insults and displeasure of fans and foes all day.
- I need to develop a thick skin if I am to stay at the top where I am going to. (People say it is cold at the top but not with the amount of insults I witnessed in one day. It should be hot).
- If you have to speak or write, speak or write clearly without room for misjudgment if you can. You may never get a second chance to do so.
- Endeavour to correct your mistakes as soon as possible but do not push it too hard. Some people’s minds are made up at first assimilation. They do not have provision for second chances.
- Don’t take erroneous insults personal. People will always find outlets to show they are better than you.
I quickly shut my window, drew the blind, covered myself with a blankie, retrieved a chilled Coca-cola and some pop-corns from the fridge and waited for the drama to play out. I only prayed I didn’t come out barbecued.