My experience with Twitter is changing me as a human being.
Twitter challenges me to pay attention to how I use gendered language. How do I talk about groups of people? Do I choose words that are inclusive of all genders, or do I fall into the familiar trap of thinking and speaking in the old male/female dichotomy? Am I willing to accept and to try to understand people whose presentation does not fit with traditional ideas of ‘man’ or ‘woman’? Do I listen to their experiences and allow their voices to be heard or do I participate in silencing them?
Twitter makes me pay attention to how people are shamed and stigmatized in my ‘real’ world. Do I participate unwittingly in shaming those who are different from me? Do I make judgements about people based on their size or clothing choices? Do I think less of people who struggle in a system that seems set on keeping them in poverty? Do my words and actions make people feel valued and beautiful and strong? Or do I distance myself from them by my words and actions and attitudes?
Twitter lets me listen to people’s lived experiences. Will I listen only to the stereotyped stories on the evening news or will I listen to the experiences of those whose lives are so different from mine? Am I buying into the systemic racism (which benefits me) or am I willing to challenge it? Will I give less weight to a woman’s word when she speaks out against a famous man? Whose version of events do I choose to believe–the versions told by perpetrators of injustice or the stories of the victims of injustice?