My First Twitter War
"Just had my 1st Twitter war." I was sending a text message to my husband.
"Congrats," he said with trademark irony.
But I took the congratulations to heart, because after all, starting a Twitter war is a small accomplishment. It means you influenced somebody to feel such negative emotions that they were compelled to hurl insults at you. It means you said something that, while perhaps unpopular, made an impression. And it means you accumulated a few passerby followers who did agree with you in the process.
What was my Twitter war about? The core subject was the Jason Mattera fake Bono video (as in Bono from U2). The video was released on and subsequently retracted from numerous conservative blogs yesterday, once it was determined that the person Mattera was engaging in ambush journalism and accusing of hypocrisy was determined not to be Bono, but a (good, but not perfect) Bono impersonator. A Twitter user who felt I was prematurely celebrating the video's demise (and was probably irritated that a fellow conservative was drawing attention to the blunder) took it upon himself to provoke me repeatedly by saying, "How are you so sure it's fake?" about 100 different ways, even after the video was taken down from nearly every site that had run it earlier in the day. The same user tweeted some very well known journalists to ask them what the deal was with the video, confidentally presuming they would take time out of their busy evenings to answer him (I'll give him credit: one did, with the thoughtful response "no idea.") If I sound a little bitter now, I'll tell you this: I was much nicer than he was. That is, until he said to me, "Forget it, it's pointless to engage with you." I hate this expression, but "Really?"
By this logic, there's only a point to engaging with someone on Twitter if 1.) they agree with everything you say, or 2.) they don't start out agreeing with everything you say, but eventually concede that you are right (most likely out of pure exhaustion). My Twitter war didn't end there (another user jumped in who captured his attention more, and I eventually just backed out - but not before sending him another link to a retraction of the story, further proof that I was right. When engaged in a Twitter war, the point is always to be right - or at least more clever).
Do you remember your first Twitter war? Or, are you someone who thinks Twitter wars are for C-list celebrities who place too much stock in communicating with fans and foes in 140 character increments? I survived my first Twitter war and I have to say, it didn't suck. It was kind of fun to spar with someone I'll never have to meet in real life (yeah, that's definitely an offshoot of a broader Internet culture problem). But I can't say I'll go looking for one again anytime soon.