Are you a Twitter user? I am, for almost a year now and as I’ve mentioned before, I find it an interesting place to have some stimulating conversations with people over the Internet.
Even though it’s tough to have a real conversation in 140 characters, sometimes, just sometimes, I find myself becoming involved in discussions that take place over hours. Everything from atheism and skepticism, to politics and religion.
Normally I shy away from discussions on religion. Mainly because I don’t see the purpose. I’m not going to convince the other person, and of course, they’re not going to convince me to fall on my knees and ask forgiveness.
The discussions I find really interesting are those about skepticism and atheism. More specifically, how we talk to one another over Twitter about the same.
As we all know, Twitter is an open forum where anyone can see what you’ve posted at any time. I find that remarkably refreshing. Normally, I only see the tweets of those I follow or those that follow me(mostly the same list) but occasionally I will see tweets from one or more of those that involve others that I do not follow and do not follow me.
What I really like is the diversity of opinion. I always talk here about how much we can learn from one another if we just take the time to actually listen. I don’t always have to agree; in fact I may end up vehemently disagreeing with another person because I find that the person(s) I’m having the discussion with refuse to even try and see that there might be another point of view that is possibly as valid as theirs.
One of the things I hate though is that when someone that I’m tweeting with, suddenly decides I’m not worthy. Know what I’m saying? They always say something like, “Don’t “@” me anymore!”. When someone does that, in my opinion, they’ve conceded the argument.
We’re on a public forum. We should all expect people to jump into any conversation and we might even have to take a bit of derision. It happens to me, and I’m sure at least most of you, have had the same experience. I’m not talking about verbal abuse, its just that that maybe we’ve said something that’s ill informed(I was going to say stupid, but decided to be kinder. To myself.)
To me, this is the beauty of Twitter. There’s also a remedy if we don’t want to hear from a particular account. We block it. Normally, I don’t block anyone. I do block what I perceive to be spam accounts, and then those that refuse to have an intelligent discussion. I think that in the last year though, I’ve only blocked two or three people, and that’s because their tweets were patently abusive.
Just because we happen to disagree though is not a reason for me to block you. I won’t do that. Ever. It’s important to hear other views on any subject. I won’t tolerate those that spew hate, or divisiveness, but I will attempt to have an informed discussion with most anyone.
When someone blocks you because you happen to disagree with them? That’s another story. It’s shameful and as I said a minute ago, shows that the person that blocks you doesn’t have a cogent argument to make. All that’s being done at that point is that you are portrayed, to their followers, as the bad guy. We all know people like that and what I would like to say here is that if you happen to follow people like that on Twitter, you unfollow. These are people that cannot take any criticism of their ideas.
It’s difficult to be a skeptic and it’s easy to fall into the trap of ideology. All of us do this at one point or another. I try, as your “Token Conservative”, not to do that because I’m really interested in ideas. I’m interested in discussion. I’m interested in other points of view. These points of view I believe are what define us as “Skeptics”.
If you cannot take a little criticism on a dumb social networking application as Twitter, then maybe you need to stop utilizing Twitter for you messaging. Try something else.
UPDATE: I’ve retitled this post because I must have been drunk when I came up with the original title and of course it’s impossible to discern what the post is about from the previous title.