Last week I posted a tweet that caused quite a stir. I suggested that white, privileged men were being delayed in their journey through discernment within the Church of England and illustrated it with a screen grab of someone who was going through that particular journey. I tagged on the end of that tweet that LGBTQi folks were experiencing an acceleration in their journeys.
The tweet was inelegant, blunt and did not marry with the experiences of many LGBTQi people who have been through the discernment path of late. My comments were in no way meant as a denial of anyones experiences, but an attempt to demonstrate that the process is riven with bias – unconscious and conscious – for many groups. However, that point was lost in the outrage that (quite rightly) people felt.
In the real world, face to face I could have corrected the assumption, got across my wider point in a more helpful way. Heat could have been taken out of the conversation and a helpful one could have ensued – but in the world of Twitter the heat got worse and I hardly helped myself – adding petrol to the fire in several sarcastic and unhelpful responses.
Bruised (as indeed others were), I retreated from Twitter and left things alone for 24 hours. I woke the morning after and checked my messages to discover that a kind soul felt that I should take myself off with my shotgun and ‘do the honourable thing’. Another message expressed a desire that I would die horribly and painfully of cancer.
I am deeply sorry that my tweet caused upset and even more so for any pain that it may have caused – but I wasn’t prepared for those messages and – after prayer and a night’s sleep – I decided to deactivate my Twitter account altogether.
Interestingly, this led to a few people being upset that I had unfollowed them because I disagreed with them, fortunately a good friend let people know what was going on and the upset turned to concern (for the most part). I also received a number of supportive and loving messages from others in that 24 hours.
So, what now? Well, as I counsel my clients when this happens – retreat from the platform for the moment. I’ve re-activated my Twitter in the last 48 hours and protected my account. I’m not tweeting, checking messages or responding to conversations. I’ve deleted the app on my phone/tablet/computer and will take a good period of time away from the platform. I’ve been on Twitter for 13 years – it’s not something I’m happy to leave behind in a fit of pique because I’ve been stupid and because others have been unkind. A good chunk of my life is recorded on Twitter in photos, videos and tweets. All the good, all the bad, all the ugly. All of who I have been since 2006.
Thank you for your support and kind words. Thank you for the correction. Thank you for your prayers.