How to stay safe in the Twitter-verse
August 27, 2019 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Are there 'best practices' to keeping harassment and personal attacks down online?

I was on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook several years ago for work in order to promote things that I was working on. Some of those things were contentious and periodically I would get harassed or threatened. I decided that Twitter was a sewer and I stopped tweeting and made all of my other social media hyper private, including changing my name etc.

Now I need to dust off those old accounts and get back on social media to again promote my work - which is even more contentious and I anticipate threats and harassment (I already get hate mail at work as it is). People I work with have been doxed and threatened. I have a family, I have zero tolerance for this.

Are there 'best practices' for posting and engagement? Is there still no way to report harassment? Do police still not consider online threats real? In general, should I just start blocking people left and right?

Articles would be welcome as well as personal practices people do too. I'd prefer not to hear "if you can't take the heat..." that's not helpful to me here.
posted by Toddles to Work & Money (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think I personally have been able to mostly avoid this by not engaging with the trolls themselves or with the things that attract them. Don't reply to the inflammatory tweets, but also don't @ people you don't know, don't use trending or popular hashtags, don't reply to tweets by famous or infamous people. I also don't use Twitter to actively promote anything, though, so I don't know how you do that while also promoting your work.

There are some good resources for other preventive measures to take when you anticipate potential online harassment. Staying Safe While Speaking Out is a post from Leigh Honeywell that collects quite a few of them.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:45 PM on August 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I work in a space that is contentious in a way that draws a lot of fire online (last time a close coworker was doxxed by far right trolls was, let's see...Thursday), and tbh as far as I can tell from watching my colleagues' experience, the only winning move is not to play, especially if trolls have any reason to think you might be female. Do you *really* need to use social media in this way? Are there lower-volume channels you can use that are more targeted, or IRL venues you can use to network and publish?

Because, yeah, except for random local improvements at the margins (if you happen to live in Seattle you can put yourself on a "high risk of swatting" registry! Pretty cool huh?), literally NOTHING has gotten better in the last few years on the big sites, and a lot has gotten worse.
posted by potrzebie at 10:13 PM on August 27, 2019 [7 favorites]

This guide was written by folks who were targets of gamergate.
posted by matildaben at 1:27 AM on August 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

I just returned to Twitter after an extended absence to promote my podcast, and I have done a few things to keep my sanity.
1) Keep your follower count low and focused on the people in number 2.
2) Only follow back those who seem to want to genuinely engage with you in a positive way. Don't fall into the trap of mandatory follow back, for in that way lies madness.
3) Install Re-Imagined Twitter or some similar browser plug-in to clean up the interface and turn off a lot of noise
4) Turn off retweets
5) Ignore pretty much any and all advice from social media gurus, it's a damn hurricane out there and just as predictable.
6) Play nice with people who play nice, and if they don't, then
7) Mute and block with abandon, but most of all,
8) Have fun and provide great value to those who follow you.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 10:38 AM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just automatically block people who give you shit or quote your tweets to say shitty things. Report any accounts that are hateful. I'm not sure what you mean by asking if there is "still" no way to report harassment - I believe there always was, but now there's a menu on every tweet that allows you to report tweets. After you report a tweet, you'll be asked if you want to block that person, so if you plan to block *and* report, you can just report and block from there.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:37 PM on August 28, 2019

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