Sometimes, you’ll tweet something that may not even seem controversial, until your phone is bombarded with a slew of @’s attacking your 140 character sentence(s). Here’s how I dealt with trolls and Trump supporters on Twitter.
By: Elizabeth Guevara (@elliegguevara)
Shortly after protesters successfully shut down Trump’s rally inChicago, #TrumpRallyChi started trending on Twitter. Thousands of Twitter users filled the hashtag with their thoughts and perspectives on the event- recounting everything that happened, and what it meant to them.
As a journalist, I spend my time entering hashtag conversations to incite communication and meet other like minded individuals, while opening myself up to opposing viewpoints. I strategically entered the #TrumpRallyChi conversation to read eye witness accounts of the event, I wanted to see what the media wasn’t covering.
However, as I combed through countless tweets one conversation that stood out was a user stating if Trump were to be elected president, people would divide based on race and religion- leading to an all out race war. As a journalist and an activist, I decided to join in on the hashtag conversation and offer my two cents to the issue:
What happened shortly after I tweeted the post ave, was that I attracted a flock of Trump defenders who blasted my phone with support for the candidate, all while trying (and failing) to “kill [my] dreams.” Thanks @ZZLaowai!
Social Media allows people to say whatever they want without consequence- and what I soon found out, is that trying to respond to every condescending message I received was mentally exhausting. Was my witty approach ethical? Let’s take a look at some tweets and how I responded:
I find it cute that this user considered the actions of the protesters to be fascist. Here’s a quick Google definition on the word- for those who are unfamiliar with the term: “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” If you’d like to read articles pertaining to how Trump is the actual fascist, click here or here.
UPDATE: @AndyJacob has since deleted his tweet from his Twitter page.
Twitter user, @AsianChicks stated that it was the media who was painting Trump out to be a racist. However, the user must be forgetting the current controversy surrounding the candidate-whose father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and whose platform screams prejudice towards people of color. A quick flip to the word ‘racism’ in the merriam webster dictionary states that racism is: “poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race.” If we look at how Trump supporters are reacting towards protesters at Trump rallies, it is chock-full of violence against people of color.
I don’t think all Asians will agree with the above statement.
So how did I handle the backlash I received from my comment? I kept calm, cracked jokes, and told them how much I loved them. I did not give in to their anger, nor did I attack them in any way- I stood by my statement and handled my trolls with a little grace, wit, and some good ole’ lovin’.
User @susu1954 has since deleted her tweet but her response to my comment was ” racist? there’s already one in the oval office!” insinuating that President Barack Obama was a racist.
Sun Wukong held on the longest- he is a self pronounced “cool conservative” who “sometimes writes for Chinese newspapers.” His tweets were a little harder to shake off, but the best way to deal with his incessant need to be heard, is to tell the people you clash with the most, that you love them. However, he didn’t take the bait, so I decided to try a different approach, and proceeded to flirt with the man.
Eventually, the conversation ended, but then another user wanted to play.( Let it be known that my reaction and responses to the backlash received, were sarcastically loving, and flirtatious- I did not incite anyone nor did I attack anyone. I let their hate run its course.)
I did gain dozens of followers who shared my same vision: POC and White allies must band together to ensure that we do not let History repeat itself.
Social media allows us to communicate with people from all over the world, whose perspectives may align with our own, or who want to rebuke our beliefs. What isn’t talked about is how to deal with an influx of hate in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied instead of overwhelmed. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you tweet something that people may not agree with- prepare yourself for the worst, but remember that it’ll pass. Tweet feuds have a short life expectancy after all.