South City Confessions: Why Twitter induces so much negativity

There are more pleasant ways to wake up from a nap than a Twitter firestorm.

If you are still wondering, the answer is yes, I do sleep. After pulling an all-nighter, stuffing two movies around an Uber shift, I had been down for the count for around four hours when I rolled over and grabbed my phone. I always check the email first, because that’s where my son’s school stuff goes, movie screening emails, and general important notifications fall. In the social media folder of my gmail account, there were two direct messages from followers.

I didn’t have to look at them for long to see there was trouble. When one of them simply said, “FYI” with a video attachment, it should have read more plainly, “click on here for a instant bomb in your face.

I went to my Twitter app, opened it up, checked my DM’s, and there it was. A tweet from a long-time follower, Red O’Reilly aka @Real_Big_Red, was tagged in both direct messages. It was a picture of my sister-in-law, Claudia, and myself at a recent wedding. I looked half-drunk (hint: I was), Claude had a big smile, and it was a good time.

With my wife’s family, it always is. The first night I hung out with my wife Rachel’s dad, he poured me about four fingers of bourbon. Before I could see the end of the glass, everything in the room was fuzzy and I thought I was with the Young Guns in the spirit world.

It was a harmless photograph that Claude (that’s what I call her to give her shit) posted as her profile pic on Bumble, a dating app. This wasn’t an attempt at a joke by good old Red. He was trying to smear my name, slam me, and reveal me to be a cheater. The tweet included the one line, “I post this without comment.” Aka, GOTCHA!!

It’s too bad he had nothing but a pic of a young lady I’ve known since she was four years old. Red had nothing, but that didn’t stop a Twitter line brawl from happening. Followers that I have known for years jumped in. STL Mattinals, a good dude I’ve spoken with for years, wanted to know if Red swiped for a possible connection with my 20-year-old sister. A few others were perplexed. Loyal friends came to my defense, asking for Red to delete the stupid tweet. The trolls came out in full force. David, Alex, and Nick. You’ll know them by their handle.

Alex Postol thought it was guilt at last.

Buffoon is done for? Nope. Looks like @ScottyStops will have to wait another day.

The above tweet does present an unfortunate reality. Twitter is a cesspool for pure hatred. Far too often, people crave an opportunity to roast someone else, look for their downfall, or at least add fuel to the fire.

Imagine a tall stack of bodies on top of a person. You walk up to this towering stack of souls, and have a choice: You can start pulling bodies off, or just jump on top to keep it going. A lot of people choose the latter option. It’s life in 2019.

People love to stoke negativity like a wildfire on a networking site. It happens on Facebook and Instagram, but Twitter is where I see it the most. A re-occurring character on a television series who starts showing up as often as the leading actors.

This isn’t the first time I’ve deal with trolls, haters, or negative followers. I have approximately 35 accounts blocked that consist of names similar or equal to Buffa Sucks, Buffa’s Son is Retarded, Fuck Dan’s Wife, Buffa Is a Creep, and FAR worse. It all started back in 2015 with a group of trolls who called themselves Bland Stuffa.

What started out as a disagreement over a sports topic (not lying) grew into something that eventually had me reaching out to friends to find out IP addresses and locations of said assholes. I had to go to desperate measures when things got personal. That was then.

These days, I just stay calm, cool, and collected. I responded to Red with a quote-tweet claiming it was my sister and not my girlfriend. My wife got a kick out of it. She rolled her eyes a few times and added one more reason to stay off Twitter.

I can’t blame her. I used to promote the site, because it’s been good to me. I have gotten writing gigs, Uber rides, and met a lot of good people on the site. But there’s a flip side to that coin. I have also run into no good souls, worthless hacks, and people who have nothing better to do with their time than start shit that doesn’t need starting. I see so many others get attacked every day.

And I don’t get it. Why so much negativity? Why spread so much hate when there is plenty in the world to begin with? It’s useless and can be hurtful. Now, Red will tell you he wasn’t trying to start anything, at least the first time you ask him.

I asked him why not send me a direct message or at least tag me. Here’s his response.

Later on, he would admit to posting it as a potential slam. Let’s call it what it is. A smear campaign. One that didn’t work. The post originally was retweeted four times, but now that’s down to two. An account that has long despised me, @GrumpyCards, took away his retweet when he got all the details.

Isn’t that something? Get the whole story and find a different tune. Red has been defiant. The post remains up and collecting “please delete” comments. He won’t delete it.

Why? Why does Twitter gather so much hate? Two things.

First, jealousy. If not, what else? Let me ask you a question. If I had 150 followers and wasn’t what my wife would call “regionally famous,” would Real Big Red post something like that? The answer is no. He wants to take a shot at a guy who has a big following, interacts a lot, an STL Hot Takes Artist as he put it.

Second, some people just like to be an asshole. Let my friend John Rabe break it to you.

Big Red just wanted to watch someone’s world burn, probably because his own life stinks. If not that, the reasons just get worse. He posted it with the hope that Claudia was not my sister-in-law, that she was a fling. He was hoping to take me down, smear my name, and throw a stick of dynamite into my world.

Why? Retweets, attention, followers, and maybe a little fame.

Did I block or unfollow Red? Nope. I want to keep watching, see what his next move is. There’s no turning back now, buddy. We need to get a follow-up pic at Thanksgiving. Something to introduce a little humor into this bullshit.

Also, I really want to know if Red found a girl on Bumble. I mean, seriously, do tell.

What’s the lesson here, folks? Be less hateful and judgmental tomorrow. Leave people alone or spread some good cheer. Be positive and leave the negativity at home, boxed up with scotch tape on top. There’s just no fucking room for it.

Twitter used to be a great place. Now it’s dissolved into a roasting school. A place to point fingers and hope someone’s day is ruined.

It used to be great, and could be again.

Thanks for reading.

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