Stan Collymore was all over the media this morning as it transpired that he had received death threats via Twitter after he gave his opinion on Saturday that Luis Suarez dived. Now Stan is paid to give his opinion and most of his followers on Twitter will expect him to do this, even if they disagree. The debate was straight forward enough and Stan needed to give his opinion either way, did he dive or was he genuinely caught?
Unfortunately there are a lot of angry people out there and anger does not respect boundaries and even less so rage. Stan’s comment’s whichever side he came down on were going to anger people. Either because they disagreed or because they want the opposite to be true so much they will believe anything.
In Anger Management terms this is classic boundary crashing on behalf of Stan. It’s likely to be unintentional and actually under the circumstances he was going to offend someone somewhere. So there is a whole section of the Liverpool FC fan club angry with Stan and what do they do? Most take it as just opinion. He’s entitled to his and they are entitled to theirs. Others get angry and Twitter allows them to do this.
In this case Twitter has the following issues –
- It’s instantaneous – many have tweeted in the moment and spent plenty of time regretting it.
- It’s detached. Many people would not say to your face what they say about or to you on Twitter.
- It can be anonymous. Setting up a trolling account is not difficult if you want to do it. As a result deliberate and malicious abusers will take advantage.
To have healthy relationships with anyone you need healthy boundaries in place. For your health and well being and the sake of your self esteem you need to be able to hold those boundaries and reinforce them. Twitter is not conducive to healthy boundaries and it is not conducive to healthy relationships.
Twitter has a deep seated self esteem based issue. People with unhealthy levels of self esteem are prone to compare themselves to others. Of course the ultimate comparison on Twitter is the number of follower an account has. Because of this people will follow and interact with people they would not normally have relationships with. All in the name of appearing to be popular.
This can be an advantage in terms of spreading news and knowledge but a disadvantage if you think your followers are all going to follow the same values, beliefs, boundaries and social norms that you do. People with unhealthy levels of self esteem are also attract toxic friends to them because they are so needy. Twitter multiplies this issue.
So use Twitter by all means. Do not, however, fool yourself that it is a replacement for proper, deep and healthy relationships. They require effort. Twitter does not.