Has Anyone at Twitter Read the Twitter TOS?

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I mean, obviously the person or persons who wrote it read it, but it seems to be totally unfamiliar to the people at Twitter who receive abuse reports and decide if the person reported violated the TOS.

I reported someone for sending sexually explicit tweets to me, tweets that made me feel threatened. My opinion is, the person being harassed determines if the harassment is threatening, not someone sitting in a cubicle and not the person doing the harassment and their friends. Twitter thinks that some strange man ordering me to go perform sexual acts isn’t threatening.

Twitter is very wrong.

I actually argued with someone at Twitter via email tonight and tried very hard to get through to them, but I failed, and I cannot understand why. I sent them screenshots of the tweets and was told they didn’t violate the TOS. That’s a blatant lie, and the only conclusion I can reach is that the person I communicated TO, not with, shares the point of view of the “man” who sexually harassed me and/or is a trump supporter, like the “man” who sexually harassed me.

It seems that a lot of people in all walks of life are unable to leave their personal feelings at the door when they walk into work. That’s a big problem when you work for a hugely popular site like Twitter. I have seen too many women I followed leave Twitter because of Twitter’s failure to emphatically state that they will not tolerate sexual harassment and follow through. Women are afraid to push Twitter too hard in cases like mine because they know that the rep handling their complaint may just decide to shadow ban them or lock their account out of retaliation. No legitimate reason, just retaliation for demanding ENFORCE THE TOS.

I don’t see things changing at Twitter. I’ve seen nothing change for the better at Twitter since I joined in 2011, but so many of my friends are there, and there are so many great accounts that I follow: funny, informative, educational. So I have to put up with obscene tweets to use the site. Yeah, yeah, I can block people, but they just come back with another account, and they’re harassing other people! And Twitter doesn’t care.

I’m not leaving Twitter. But I’m not going to stop raising hell when I submit a valid abuse report and I’m told there was no violation of the TOS.

And there are usually ways of getting other agencies or organizations involved to deal with abusive users, because abusive users are stupid and think that they can get away with anything, and they almost always break an actual law. You don’t have to know their address to bring the hammer down. And when actual laws are broken and Twitter not only ignores it but doesn’t report it, they’re on the hook too.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat

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Yesterday evening, I looked yet again at the pictures of screaming, torch-carrying Nazis in Charlottesville, and something popped into my head. So I tweeted it.

“If you can’t stand the heat, don’t wave a tiki torch at a Nazi rally.”

Here’s a screenshot of my tweet, with the date and time. That’s important in light of what happened later that night.

slogan 6

Actually, I wrote it in the afternoon. At 5:08 pm, someone asked, “Can I steal this?” To which I replied, “You can RT it.”

At 10:44 pm, I got a tweet asking to use “this slogan” on the person’s podcast with my consent. I don’t know this person, this account, or anything about this podcast. I put them off with “let me think about it” so that I could find out what the podcast was about and who was associated with it. Then my neighbor came to the door. By the time I finished talking to her and got back to my computer, the user with the podcast had already decided that it was okay for them to use it because putting it on the Internet made it “fair use.”

That’s a load of manure, and I told them that they were incorrect. And then I spent hours fending off trolls . . . or tweets by the same person from multiple accounts . . . and reporting their tweets, including some that were sexually explicit. To a woman on the Internet, when a hostile, harassing man makes a sexual remark, it’s not a joke. It’s not “just trolling.” It’s threatening.

The person or persons with the podcast told me that I had FORCED them to reword my tweet so that they could use it as their own slogan. And they were foolish enough to put the copyright symbol at the end of their decidedly flat “slogan.”

People, please.

I’m not going to put the copyright symbol at the end of this post because I don’t have to. As soon as I write these original words and they appear on my screen, I own the copyright. Of course, registering your work with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is advisable because it makes it easier to defend your copyright in court, but I own these words.

Copyright and tweets is a new area of copyright law. Your tweet has to have some worth to be subject to copyright law. A poem, for example, has that worth. And if my “slogan” is worth people verbally attacking me for hours, telling me that I “deserve to be trolled off Twitter,” and rewording my tweet and showing it to me (I got a bunch of nice screenshots) then my tweet must have worth.

If I find the reworded tweet or my tweet being used for any type of advertising/moneymaking purposes, the people using it will get a DMCA takedown notice. And yes, I may consider a lawsuit. I told the people who so badly wanted my “slogan” that they did not have permission to use it in any way other than to retweet it. They’re already on notice.

I did not set out to write a slogan. I wrote a tweet about the stupidity of carrying a Tiki Torch to a Nazi rally, then whining about having one’s picture plastered all over the Internet. I don’t want the words that I wrote used to make money for some losers who can’t write their own slogans. I don’t want the words I wrote used to make money at all unless I choose to use them in some way and give the proceeds to the people injured at the Charlottesville rally and the family of the murdered woman. She was, like me, a bankruptcy paralegal, and she chose that career to help people, like I did.

Now I’m a freelance writer, and I know very well how much people want words written by a professional but don’t want to pay for them, or pay for what they’re really worth. I’ve written so much content for businesses that sell expensive products or services. They’ve made so much money off me. I’ve made minimum wage, if I was lucky, but I like the work, and it allows me to be at home with my mother in case she falls or has another episode of malignant high blood pressure. Freelancing allows me to make sure my mother eats three meals a day and doesn’t try to climb a ladder to cut down a tree branch or vacuum the basement stairs.

I pinned my tweet to my Twitter profile so that everyone can see the time and date stamps. If I see my tweet being used in any way, we’ll see just how much value a court thinks that it has.

Red in Tooth and Claw

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Snow White-A Smile and a Song

It is really too bad that nature is not like this scene from Walt Disney’s Snow White. BTW Snow White remains my favorite Disney Princess because when I was a kid in the 1970s, she was the only brunette. I didn’t really care about her “happily ever after” with the prince who appeared at the end of the movie. I loved the thought of her living in the forest in harmony with all of the animals.

Then I grew up. Unfortunately, a lot of people did not.

I follow two related Twitter accounts: A woman farmer in Ireland, and an account for one of her cats. She posts pictures and short videos every day of her sheep, her farm, her cats, her spinning room. Usually they’re a diversion from the ugly reality in the U.S. Sometimes sad things happen, like a premature lamb dying. Sometimes upsetting things happen, like one of the farm cats getting into a tangle with a strange tom and having to have his ear glued back together (which I found fascinating as it healed up so much more quickly than stitches.)

A few days ago, she posted a picture of herself rescuing a wren nestling before one of the cats got ahold of it. All’s well that ends well, right?

Not on Twitter. She was verbally attacked by multiple anti-cat people who refused to understand that this is a farm cat, not a city cat, cats are needed on farms to control the rodent population, domestic cats aren’t evil. I blame the Audubon Society for spreading lies about outside cats and associating with people who advocate killing them for this sort of nonsense.

Life is not a Disney movie.

I’ve seen a blue jay kill a house sparrow. By the time I got outside with the broom to chase away the jay, the little bird was hopelessly injured. Another year, a bunch of grackles killed a family of house sparrows, parents and nestlings. Territoriality. Animal instinct. I didn’t kill the blue jay or the grackles. And anyone who thinks no cat should be allowed to roam or that cats are an “invasive species” (in Europe!) and spews that nonsense is going to get it thrown right back in their face by me.

The Audubon Society needs a good housecleaning, starting at the top. They are no longer pro-bird. They are anti-cat, and they are validating the absolutely false views of people who just hate cats. One person kept saying the cats “poison” wildlife.

I’ve never seen a cat putting out poisoned bird food, have you? This insane rhetoric has gone way too far. And not enough people are standing up to it, so if you love cats and understand that “nature is red in tooth and claw,” could you confront people spreading anti-cat lies? Could you confront online bullies in general when you see them? Those of us countering the lies and confronting the bullies could use some help. I don’t want to see good people who make the Internet better driven off social media because some blithering idiot can’t understand why domestic cats are so valuable.

If you are one of those blithering idiots: enjoy your bubonic plague.

Motivation failure

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I responded to a woman I follow on Twitter after she posted a motivational quote. I probably shouldn’t have. I do not for one second believe that she ever thought the quote could be in any way offensive or upsetting, but it is to me every time I see it because it is so totally unrealistic and really has a victim-blaming tone about it.

The quote was about change your thoughts, change your situation. Something to that effect. I used to believe in that. I believed it every day and believed so hard and it did not work.

It did not help me view my living situation in any kind of positive light.

It did not help me manage my anxiety and OCD. Nothing but medication and therapy has ever helped with that.

It did not help me deal with the unkind people in my life because no matter what *I* did, they kept on doing things to hurt me. In fact, my attempts to be more understanding led to them taking even more advantage of me.

It did not help me deal with my physical health problems. It did not help me deal with anything, let alone give me the tools to change my situation.

And so I get so sick of seeing it repeated and earnestly passed around that I finally told this woman that I found the quote offensive and even harmful to people with OCD because we can’t change our thoughts without intensive medical intervention. Quotes and prayers are not going to help us. We pray for release from tormenting thoughts every day of our lives. At best, we turn to life examples of other people who have made it through horrific situations and try to look at them as role models and remind ourselves that that person got through X thing. I can get through this. And that doesn’t always work.

Distracting myself just leads to another intrusive thought. There is not one thing in my life I can think about that doesn’t come with some accompanying anxiety or bad memory. Just now I looked at one of my favorite dolls and immediately remembered this past February when a man and a woman cyberstalked me for weeks after I complained on Target’s Facebook page about poor service after I ordered a doll. Now I’m going to think about that all night and probably have a nightmare.

I got an early Christmas gift yesterday, a deck of oracle cards. I love it, but it’s always going to remind me of a friend who collects Tarot cards who told me that she wasn’t my therapist when I was having a very bad day and sent her a message about it.

When my 10-year-old cat gets in the bed with me at night, I start wondering how much longer he’ll live. He’s not even sick.

This is the life of someone with OCD and anxiety. Sleep is no respite because of the nightmares. Meditation is impossible for me. Reading helps a little. Gardening helps a little. Writing is another compulsion with its own humongous set of associated worries. Is this book really awful? I should rewrite this whole book. Oh dear God, did I save that paragraph I cut? I’ll never get a book deal so I’ll have to self-publish but I can’t afford a professional editor so I can’t self-publish because I’ll never catch all the mistakes. I’m doing all this work for nothing. I should give up. But if I give up, all the people who laughed at me and said I’d never be successful will win.

But that motivational quote being a huge trigger for me did not give me the right to jump down a stranger’s throat, and I’m lucky that she ignored me and didn’t tell me where to get off.

I just wish that everyone could understand that we can’t all be that person who lived through a nightmare and kept a positive attitude. It’s an impossible standard. I guess that quote helps some people. But I’ve been fighting to control my thoughts for thirty years and I know a lot of other people with OCD and other mental illnesses have too and some of us are so, so tired of the motivational quotes. The motivational quotes lead “normal” people to think that we’re just malingering, that we really can just “get over it,” “move on,” “stop dwelling on it.” We’re “drama queens.” The truth is that our illnesses are inconvenient for other people and they don’t want to be bothered by them, by us. They want us to shut up and act normal. They don’t care if we’re only acting. As long as we aren’t annoying them with our petty problems, that’s all that matters.

That early Christmas gift, that deck of oracle cards. It’s a stunning deck with 55 vintage images of women. A couple of the cards feature gorgeous vintage photos of Japanese women in kimonos. I cringed in my mind when I saw them because my ex-husband was obsessed with Japanese culture and the stereotype of submissive Asian women. I think that I’ll always associate such images with my ex-husband. How can you control a thought that stems from an abusive situation you were in for seven years? And then I feel guilty for having the thought because does it make me racist? No, it makes HIM racist for stereotyping Asian women and telling me over and over that he should have gotten a “mail-order bride” instead of marrying me, but I can’t suppress that thought.

So this, OCD, anxiety, PTSD after abusive relationships, this needs to be discussed. If someone with one or more of the disorders can talk about it, I think they should so that people will have to see us as actual sick people, not malingerers. But no one should feel pressured to talk about their illness. I talk about it. I get a lot of positive feedback from other people who suffer from the same illnesses.

It still doesn’t have anything to do with the woman who posted the motivational quote, so I apologized to her. I don’t expect to hear anything back from her. I wish I could tell her why the quote set me off. I guess that’s why I wrote this post. I hope it helps with the dialogue that’s so desperately needed between people with OCD and people who don’t understand it. I hope it makes someone think twice before telling someone with a mental illness that they can think their way to recovery. I hope it helps someone with a mental illness talk to someone who doesn’t get it.

I hope the woman who posted the quote forgives me even if she never speaks to me.

Twitter Turnoffs

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Please for the love of all that is good and holy stop:

Sending auto DMs to new followers. No one likes them. They are the opposite of welcoming. I understand that most people don’t have time to say “hello” to every new follower, but we don’t expect that. Auto DMs are off-putting because they have an “I can’t be bothered to really interact” vibe. It makes people feel that your account is very likely automated and you’re not there often, if at all, and we’re not going to see your personality.

TrueTwit Validation: Okay, I am never ever ever going to click that link. I get lots of bot and spam accounts following me. I ignore them or, if they tweet to me, I report them for spam. I don’t use any kind of validation service. It’s unnecessary and pretentious.

Using follow/unfollow apps: Many people must not realize that those apps auto-tweet to your followers how many people UNFOLLOWED you in the last week, which is not something you really want everyone to know. Twitter still has an unfollow bug. Twitter unfollows people randomly. You have no idea if someone deliberately unfollowed you unless you ask (which is crass unless you’re friends, in which case you should probably ask and not assume.) If you unfollow everyone who unfollows you, or if your app does that for you, you are very possibly unfollowing people who did not unfollow you intentionally. People you know who get hit by the Twitter unfollow bug will realize that you’ve disappeared and re-follow you.

Promos! All promos all the time! NOOOOOOOOOOOO. That’s the quickest way to get unfollowed, except by other Twitter users who post nothing but promos. An all-promo account is just about the most boring account type. And that includes RTs of other people’s books. I am NEVER going to click on any of those promo links. If you’re a real person and you interact and you tweet or RT things of interest to you, I am much more likely to engage with your account and check out promos. How often should you promote your book? No more than three times a day. That allows you to hit the morning, afternoon, and night Twitter audience. And pick your promo RTs with care. I want to know that you read the book or at least know the author and something about their writing style and subject matter.

And finally . . . be a real person. I’ve unfollowed a couple of accounts recently because they’re clearly all automated. The same tweets day after day. Perhaps a flurry of replies once a day. Automated accounts are boring, and they tell us that you’d rather have a steady stream of auto-tweets on your account than a few real tweets a day. We know that you’re very busy. You’re writing, and you have a family and friends and a day job. But we all are. Try to schedule 10 minutes two or three times a day to actually be on Twitter. Otherwise, your Twitter account is basically a spammy bot. And everyone hates spam and bots.

I’d rather read your controversial political opinion than see any of the behaviors listed above. At least that tells me there’s a person behind the avi.

Being Normal

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I love my hair. I wanted a pixie cut since junior high. I’m 43 years old. I’m more concerned with being happy with what I see in the mirror than with what a potential romantic partner sees in me. It’s wonderful, being able to look the way that I want, not feeling constrained by someone else’s opinion.

I spent the first half of my life skinny. Having cleavage and curves is a new experience. I’m not particularly interested in what anyone else thinks about my size. It’s my body. If you don’t like it, quit gaping at it.

I like my work. I get paid for writing, and then I write for pleasure. I don’t work Monday-Friday, 9-5. I’d like to make more money, like everyone else would, but I’m thankful that I have a job. Quite often, I’m working while the people who look down their noses at me are relaxing. Does that make me better than them?

I like my hobbies. I love my garden. I really enjoy my doll collection. I don’t give a tinker’s dam what anyone thinks because everyone has a hobby that someone else finds stupid, boring, etc.

I do not give a fuck what anyone thinks about me living with my mother. She’s 68, walks with a cane, and needs a hip replacement. I do the bending and the lifting and going up and down the stairs to the basement and changing of bulbs in overhead lights and all the other crap that the fallow little snots who think they know all about me by my Twitter selfie take for granted.

I have two cats. My mother has a dog. WE have two cats and a dog. My ex had an iguana. My friend next door has two dogs. My new neighbor has a cat and a kitten. My neighbors across the street have a bird. I’d like to have a pair of ferrets, but I’m allergic to rodents 😦 Wait, what does any of this matter?

I like blue. And purple. And red. And pink. I love the fragrance of grape hyacinths and clean cotton sheets. I like nose piercings, the tiny little piercings, but I’m afraid to get one, but I have a tattoo that goes from my ankle almost to my knee.

Nothing anyone says to me online is going to make me change anything about my life. That’s Realityland. That’s adulting. I work and I care for my mother and our pets and I write and I garden and I take pictures.

Anyone who finds fault with that has problems that can only be solved by a psychiatrist.

Happy being normal to everyone who sees some aspect of their own lives in this post.