Thoughts On Sniping

People use twitter for all sorts of things. One of those is sniping at others.

My favourite kind of sniper account is the political satire accounts. The successful ones tend to be funny, clever and fun. They continue the long tradition of satirising our politicians, but do it in very short, curt tweets instead of cartoons or stand up.

My least favourite are those that reveal the unhappiness or bad character of the tweeter.

Very often on twitter, as people’s lives change and adapt their manner changes, too. After a change of their circumstances, they view things in a different way. If they’re unhappy and insecure they may find that instead of seeking the answer to their own unhappiness, they seek to make others unhappy instead, targeting their sniping at whatever target they can find.

Some readers might feel that I’ve fallen into this category in the last couple of months. I’d disagree. Any sniping has been quite targeted. And has been less about dragging someone down, and more about opening their eyes – and there has been very little – although much too that the target might incidentally relate to. But then, as they can’t [legitimately] see my twitter anyway (and certainly wouldn’t have spies, oh no!) it’s not a factor.

The sort I’m talking about is the sniping that – maybe along with the constant doing down of one person by insult, innuendo and suggestion – is done from the church steeple at passers by. Perhaps people you’ve known and liked before (or just sniped about in private). Any slip up – grammar, content or style, even a position in a perceived hierarchy – is attacked. Or worse, someone who takes the attention away from the sniper.

This is at its core no different to playground politics. “Annoy me, and I’ll pillory you to anyone who’ll listen. It’s all about me, me, ME!!” It exists because those who do it – usually in a clique they hope to reinforce – are unhappy, insecure, and rather than find a way to be happier and more secure, will try to tear others down, make them unhappy too, and show what will happen to you if you dare cross them.

It’s narcissistic, controlling and manipulative.

Worst when apropos of nothing they subtweet along the lines of “Just fuck off.” Who are they subtweeting? Is it you, is it me, is it someone else? Best stay on your toes!

It’s particularly sad to see it from people who haven’t done it before. It shouts loudly that they’re unhappy now, and need to shore up their own self confidence and self belief. The trouble is, the only way to do that is to change the choice they made that is undermining those things.

We’re all on twitter to express ourselves. That expression is going to take many forms and have much variation: pictures, blogs, poetry and talk. If you care about people, you may want to raise your concerns the only way you can, but if you’re secure and happy in your choices and expression, you have no need to publicly snipe and make others feel bad about theirs.

Twitter is a safe place to express.
If you don’t like how people express themselves, don’t follow them.
If you don’t like what they express, don’t follow them.
Simple.

But don’t be one of the insecure, manipulative kids in the playground. We all know they end up with no friends except each other. Because people don’t like the way they express themselves and you’ll find other people unfollowing you just as simply. Which at least will give you another chance for misanthropic sniping at them.

If you’re unhappy with your choices and your life, don’t go around and around in your little cul-de-sac, reinforcing that choice, bitching away on the TL and in DMs, trying to convince yourself of what you crave. Change your choice – that’s allowed. Make yourself happy again.

It’s a better choice than making other people miserable.


© Charles Rochester 2016

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