On kindness and Twitter

Much of this blog so far has been about argument, conflict, anger, hurt feelings and the general difficulties of speaking fearlessly and honestly. But a recent experience on Twitter illustrates how kind people can be.

Some people seem to think Twitter is all about anger, abuse and piling on. 'Twitter's a cesspool' seems to be a common opinion (though I suspect uttered more by non-users than users). However my experiences show a different picture.

I'm a fairly small Twitter user (about 340 followers and follow about 380) and mainly follow people whose political opinions and views appear similar to mine. That can get you the 'echo chamber' effect, where you think your views and opinions are much more common than they are (this is also a problem for people who live in particularly 'lefty' areas, as I do) but it can also lead to affirming experiences.

Recently I posted on Twitter:

52 years after I first went to university, as a shy 17 year old from a remote country high school, on a commonwealth scholarship, I finally got my PhD #nevergiveup

As can be seen, it got 922 likes and 95 retweets - that's not exactly going global, but according to Twitter, it means it went out to over 35, 000 people, well beyond my small group of followers or any 'echo-chamber'. Also there were 68 comments, and every single one was positive, with several people saying it was also inspiring to them personally.

So I take from this:
- Twitter can be incredibly positive
- Many people are kind and generous
- Many people love the idea of life-long learning.



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