Well, this is awkward.
I've been mulling over this post for a while, not sure how I should, you know, attack this topic. What angle I should take. How I should pilot the airplane of my imagination and carpet bomb the crap out of the toxicity that is bro dudery on twitter. From #GamerGate to #NotAllMen to even gay men upset when someone writes a piece confronting their privilege, there are just innumerable thunderheads of electric flatulance the brodude masses are trying to pitch as lavender-scented wisdom and analysis on twitter.
I hate it.
I normally don't want to blog about this stuff. I blog about writing. I like writing. Most days I would even call myself a writer. Sure, I recently made fun of a brodude for stealing a woman's piece, missing the point entirely, and then rambling on for two-thousand words–but I'm not even sure he minded, since he got to ramble on for another 900 words in my comments section.
Lately though, the brodudery has become too much. (Well, it's always been too much, but lately I've been finding myself the target of 0.00000000001% of it–I don't know how non-cis, non-white, non-men peoples deal.) From seeing nearly every woman I follow on twitter continually being harassed, to even being harassed myself, I feel like I have to say something. And I'm not even trying to be accusatory right now–trust me, I have a history of brodudery as well, and it took a lot of emotional and intellectual concussions and sitdown sessions with my own reflection to finally get to where I am now–so take this as it's meant to be: truths learned from experience delivered in a well-meaning way along with some cussing and CAPSLOCK.
HOW NOT TO BE A BRODUDE ON TWITTER
1. Don't @ women unless you know them, or you have something nice to say about something they've tweeted
2. Believe people when they say they have been and/or are being harassed
3. Don't talk about free speech unless it is within the context of A GOVERNMENT NOT PEOPLE BUT AN ACTUAL GOVERNMENT censoring/silencing its citizens
4. Do not engage in discussions about privilege if you do not believe in privilege
5. Do not engage in discussions about privilege if you believe in privilege but haven't considered how your contributions could disrupt said discussion
6. Understand being contrarian is not cute, it's hostile
7. Understand that a conversation is also a space, and you don't have automatic rights to enter that space just because your But-Actually compels you to
8. Understand that no one owes you a reply, ever
9. Know that apologizing is nice, unless there's a "but" attached to it, in which case it's just a lie–and in most cases, apologizing is just a sign it's already too late
10. Just don't ever send tweets that start with "Actually"
11. Read the timelines and the profiles behind tweets before commenting
12. Women and "females" are not synonymous
13. Interjecting a personal anecdote into a discussion is not evidence of anything besides the fact that you like talking about yourself
14. Arguing terminology and definitions is pedantic and makes you look like a dick who wants to derail or control the conversation
15. Do not approach online discourse with the notion that "people can change" because that's a lie you're telling yourself; what you really mean is that you think you can change people IF THEY JUST LISTEN TO YOU, and who the fuck are you to think you can do that?
16. Don't tweet dick pics–if this rule surprises you, wake the hell up, because men do this to women online all the time–also, rape/death threats–if this also surprises you, you're either not following the right people or not listening to them
17. If, as a potential brodude, at any point you have looked at a tweet where someone is saying something about people like you and thought "I am not like that" you are likely missing the point of the tweet
18. When someone says they want to end the discussion, or they ask you to leave the discussion, LEAVE JUST LEAVE JESUS SMURF-CHRIST CRUCIFIED ON POPSICLE STICKS LEAVE
19. Ironic sexism/racism is actually just sexism/racism
20. The best way to support someone is through favoriting and retweeting content you like; it's a quick, easy form of engagement, and often is the best way to attract more followers
If at any point you found yourself reading this list and eye-rolling ("Why can't I @ women what if I have a question or like they get FACTS wrong you can't argue FACTS") I would strongly encourage you to humor me, or yourself, and see how your interactions on Twitter change if you follow these guidelines. This list, right here, is just the tip of the Titanic-murdering iceberg, and it still takes tons of effort to acknowledge your brodudery and become a kinder, more empathetic member of Twitter. I can tell you though, it's very rewarding, and very exciting, and a much much much more positive social media experience.
We can make Twitter a better place.