I’m not normally a huge Twitter user. It has its uses, and I admire certain masters of the art, but I don’t have the always-on mentality to constantly stay in the stream saying witty things. For one, my job doesn’t allow me the luxury of carrying a cell phone (or even Internet access); for two, I don’t want to be always plugged in, always looking for the next clever thing to tweet.
But for a brief evening, I tried it out.
Every once in a while I participate in one of the trending topics, usually with a humorous or political slant. My contribution to #LessInterestingVideoGames, for example, was “Left4Lunch.” I doubt that topic had any hidden motives or sponsors; it was just something someone thought would be amusing.
Far more cynical are heavy-handed attempts to get “trending” topics for political or commercial gain. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it does. It’s astroturfing for Twitter.
This, and variations of it, were a big “trending” topic last night. Probably before, too, but that’s when I noticed it.
As often happens, a lot of rather clever people on the other side of the “debate” decided to hijack the trend, flooding Twitter with the opposing talking points. As I find the latest attacks on my right to effective defense especially vile, I felt compelled to participate.
I managed to come up with around 35 or 40 over the course of two hours or so, while I really should have been packing and getting ready to go back to Yakima. A sampling of those that others favorited or retweeted (on the theory that if no one flagged it, it probably wasn’t as good as I’d hoped):
#NowIsTheTime to realize that universal background checks won’t work w/o universal registration. Nothing good follows. #NowIsTheTime to wonder when “common sense” universal background checks will be required for speaking, writing, or voting. #NowIsTheTime to make exercising your right to defense as simple as exercising your right to travel and speak. #NowIsTheTime to make laws based on facts, history, and reason–not fear of what you see on television. #NowIsTheTime to recognize that you can’t prevent evil people by restricting good ones. #NowIsTheTime to give the right to defense the same broad protections as speech, religion, and association. #NowIsTheTime to understand that today’s reasonable exemption is tomorrow’s loophole that must be closed. #NowIsTheTime to admit that laws can’t prevent mass murders, but armed citizens might. #NowIsTheTime to recognize that if you “don’t know why anyone needs” something, you are entirely unqualified to make decisions about it. #NowIsTheTime to admit that your fear is not a good basis on which to restrict other people’s rights. #NowIsTheTime to take a new person to the range and show them that a gun has no evil will of its own. #NowIsTheTime to wonder why “common sense” rules have to be passed as soon as possible without actual debate or evidence. #NowIsTheTime to give gun owners the same protections against “undue burden” that you extend to voters without ID. #NowIsTheTime to know that being helpless in a violent situation is not somehow morally superior. #NowIsTheTime to take responsibility for your own life and safety, and allow me the freedom to do the same. #NowIsTheTime to make laws based on facts, history, and reason–not fear of what you see on television. #NowIsTheTime to actually learn about something–BEFORE you try to make it illegal.
Obviously, some were better than others. I tried to take different tacks and address different parts of the so-called debate, preferably without outright attacking the often well-meaning people who support policies from ignorance. It’s too easy to get angry and lose sight of the slim (ethereal, virtually nonexistent) chance to get someone to think about what they are supporting.
My phone would vibrate every time someone retweeted me; I had to turn this feature off because it became insanely irritating for a while. This is probably as close as I will ever come to being a Twitter superstar.
Check out the current state of #NowIsTheTime at Trendsmap.