Twitter is a Playground

**This post originally appeared on John Amoroso’s Medium page on July 25, 2016**

We all played on Playgrounds as kids and now, some of us have done so more recently than others. We all cherished the time we spent going down the slides, moving across the monkey bars, and just being able to have time to be around other kids. We loved just being with other seemingly like-minded kids during these very simple times in our lives.

But we all encountered the one kid or group of kids who thought they were the ‘leaders’ of everyone or better yet, thought they owned the damn park.


To some kids’ credit, they were sometimes just natural leaders and we went along with it because we were having fun or we just enjoyed the company of others.

Most of the time though, those kids were straight up bullies. They would take toys or steal a seat on a swing, or push someone out of the way so they could go down the slide again and again. We all felt awful when it happened to us. Young children do not know how to react to the situation because remember, they are two, three or four years old. The natural reaction is to cry when bullies come about. The other kids around the situation would maybe come see if things were fine but nothing ever happened to that bully.

On a vastly different scale, the news of Leslie Jones quitting twitter amid raciest and hateful speech filled our timelines and our hearts. Jones, who starred in the new Ghostbusters movie showed us how angry and mean spirited people really are on the internet. She openly asked for help on Twitter from Twitter itself. This prompted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to tweet at Jones saying that the conversation could be discussed over direct messaging.

When the CEO of a company comes to the defense of someone, it is like a parent coming to a child’s defense when they were pushed aside on the playground by that bully.

A day later, Twitter did something it has probably rarely done before…permanently ban a user. Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing writer, led a campaign against Leslie Jones. He was able to get his followers to express hate towards the comedian. All roads led to back Yiannopoulos and Twitter said bye-bye.

It is a mighty step forward for Twitter but it does not help the overall problem of abuse on Twitter. There is a balance that the social site has to balance, to what degree is speech free.

It was also announced last week that Twitter would be reforming the application process for verified accounts. Maybe this was a process sped up for release with the Jones’ situation. Overall though, maybe this could help the abuse problem because then we would start to have accountability of folks on Twitter rather than having people hide behind a keyboard and fake/spam accounts.

I find it to be unlikely that things will change but hey Twitter, rather than develop and announce a new and easier way for people to get verified, how about you work on the biggest problem of your platform.

The abuse and ridicule people endure every single day on Twitter by trolls.

Do not get me wrong, I am all for more verified accounts because it will lead to higher accountability but, lets work on policing the hate we see on a platform that thrives on people expressing free yet diverse opinions and beliefs.

Get the story above and more in John Amoroso’s Podcast, Episode 7 which you can listen to below:

***This post originally appeared on John Amoroso’s Medium page on July 25, 2016***

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