At the Christmas dinner table last year, my father asked “What is Twitter?”
What he meant was “why would anyone want to use that?” I passed the task over to Ryan (the expert at the time) but he was unsuccessful. I was still (begrudgingly) new to the platform so I didn’t have much to add. But now, 2500 tweets later, I have an answer, Dad: I use Twitter because it makes me better feminist. (It probably also makes me a more engaged citizen in general, but that’s for another day.)
Twitter connects me with ideas – some that maybe I could have come up with on my own but didn’t know how to express, and others that make me stop and say “huh” – and a world of new people. It’s like being in a high-tech consciousness raising party.
It took an online protest for me to really get this. In the past weeks, during the height of the internet and media assbaggery surrounding the Julian Assange’s rape charges, up sprung a Twitter protest. #MooreandMe was officially a place to protest Michael Moore and other high-profile people for their treatment of the situation, but was clearly more than that. It was women – women I otherwise wouldn’t have known existed – demanding that the world listen to them.
It was awesome. It was amazing to watch. And even though I didn’t agree with everything that happened or was said, it left me feeling empowered because I knew that people were talking intelligently about rape and our culture’s often messed up ideas about what that means.
Of course there were still horrible trolls and internet bullies but mostly there were strong, positive voices for change. I read amazing posts by Kate Harding (who never fails to blow my mind) and Andrea Grimes. I got a glimpse into soul of the woman spearheading the protest. I even got to watch Naomi Wolf lose the respect of women everywhere when she said that sex with a sleeping woman isn’t rape (during a debate with Jaclyn Friedman on Democracy Now).
And after sharing all of those great links on Twitter, a male follower wanted to talk about it. He wanted to understand what was going on and what all those women were shouting about. So I sent him more links – and I’m pretty sure he read ’em too!
So that’s it, Dad. That’s why I love Twitter. There’s no doubt that it wastes a lot of my time. But from where I’m standing it’s time well wasted.