What To Do When Freaks Go Haywire On You On Twitter

by Matthew J.X. Malady

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, IAVA digital engagement director and Tech LadyMafia co-founder Aminatou Sow tells us more about some jerks who sought out something in her archived tweets and then used it to annoy and bother her on Twitter.

Amina! So what happened here?
So June 26, 2013: momentous day in lady history! Wendy Davis (and rowdy protesters) basically (kinda? maybe? honestly it’s still *unclear* what happened at the end) prevent the Texas State Senate from passing insane anti-abortion bill SB5. I’m transfixed by the Texas Tribune livestream and literally head home early from work and cancel all my plans so I can watch her go all night.

This is a huge deal for me because I went to college at UT Austin, am super invested in Texas politics, and I personally know a lot of the ladies protesting in the gallery. Gaaaah I love Texas women so much! Seriously, one day Texas will be blue, and it’ll all be thanks to amazing queer Latinas who are doing the lord’s work. Cloak and dagger feminist shit is happening down there.

Anyway, yes, I’m watching the livestream on YouTube, rolling my eyes at the state senators mansplaining, internally debating whether I should order Wendy’s sneakers [no. not really #onbrand for me] and obviously tweeting up a storm like everyone else.

The connection to Tami Taylor of “Friday Night Lights” fame is such an obvious no-brainer that this image was born.

The rest of the night is glorious and Wendy Davis basically launches her run for governor.

Fast-forward eight [8!] months later: I’m minding my own business and notice strangers tweeting at me. Noooooooooooooooooooooooo it’s the worst kind of Internet strangers — people with strong opinions about things that are 12.56 Internet years old. Get out my feed!

It takes me a few minutes to piece it all together, and I realize that they’re conservative dudes upset about this old Wendy Davis picture I shared eons ago. Against my will, I’m dragged into Twitter canoes heading to irrelevant parts of the Internet. UGH. I really wish there was a way to remove yourself from tweets you’re tagged in.

Who does that sort of thing? Anyway, the floor is yours: What would you like to say to those jokers who came at you like that?

Terrible people with weird assumptions and who are devoted to their own ridiculous narrative do this. Why are people so awful, Matthew?

I guess the one weirdly redeeming thing about the Internet, but especially Twitter, is that if you are not a rigorous human, over time you will be exposed.

Almost always, I choose to not engage with these folks because: 1) It annoys them and 2) It drives home the fact that “no, we are in fact not having a conversation,” and “yes, you are talking to yourself, so you enjoy that and have a great day.”

The other thing that amazes me is how much time and energy these people have on their hands. The level of familiarity they exhibit and the fact that they think you want to hear from/about them is ridiculous. It happens a lot more than you’d think and annoys me to no end. What’s that rap lyric? “Get back get back you don’t know me like that?” OMG, I think it’s Luda. How embarrassing. Just google it.

Lesson learned (if any)?

You can go to great lengths to curate an Internet experience for yourself that is pure pleasure and someone will try to get in your lane and ruin it. BAN THOSE PEOPLE!

In theory, it should be really easy to not come across as a jerk online. It’s all performance theater, just be your best person!

You’re an unpleasant, argumentative asshole? Great! Save that shit for your family and irl friends, aka people who really care. The Internet? We’re not a family, we’re a community. It’s all about conditional love out here.

Just one more thing.

Just recently, I witnessed another incidence of this happening. It’s very disingenuous and dishonest. Anna Holmes is the patron saint of #delightfultwitter, so please stay in your lane.

Matthew J.X. Malady is a writer and editor in New York.