Oh Look, Another Crazy Sexist Fatwa!

Stop it. Stop sharing those crazy sexist fatwas from crazy obscure skeikhs. It doesn’t make you a liberal, it doesn’t make you a feminist, if anything, you’re doing extremism a service. Conservatives need to listen to this as well, because we’re failing terribly at doing anything constructive together. I’m not going to be apologetic, I am a liberal, and we’re not a minority by any means in the Arab world, even if it does seem so. Conservatives form the other majority, most modern societies are split along those lines. Another fact is that most liberals and conservatives share many common values, and some common sense. I’m sure most of you have had friends that you “respect” despite their opinions.

But that doesn’t sell views. Why else would you have all of these Egyptian talk shows running a battle royale between some irrelevant actress and some obscure extremist. Those things sell, and it’s our fault. For every stupid issue these shows focus on, many women face millions of other problems that people don’t want to see being discussed. How many people would like to watch a debate on the gender salary gap between two reasonable people? That’s bad TV. So we give more airtime to anuses that have been trained to speak, and eventually they become spokespersons of their camps, and the silly issues they share become major points of contention and other issues that deserve just as much attention if not even more, get the back seat.

It’s not only a matter of issues. A big issue in Jordan is harassment, and I’m not saying it’s not a big issue, and it should be discussed. I just don’t want to discuss it with trolls like Amjad Qorshe, we need to discuss it with people that have a bit of common sense. The more attention we give to this trolls will only cause more polarization. These trolls can take any issue and turn it into a sensational cesspool of misinformation, and I’m sick of how counterproductive we are becoming. It’s all a crazy trick designed to make sure we never find middle ground, because all you see is the crazy on the other side, and you sure as hell are not going to agree with that shit, so you stick with your own people, and all your support goes to them in whatever political/charity/commercial endeavor they have.

Let’s face it, despite all the communication tools we have in this new age, our conversation is broken. Issues aren’t real issues, reactions and scaring others is what counts. A huge number of people are not informed and scared shitless, and the people we’ve allowed to become our spokespersons are idiotic trolls that spew madness and lies out of every single hole in their bodies, and we listen to them because it gives us more joy. It’s easy to diss the crazy person, and it’s hard to have a frank and real debate with facts and science with other reasonable people who have differing opinions to ours. Our only hope is if we all collectively start to identify trolls, start ignoring them, and begin glorifying honest and productive debate instead.

Twitter Experiment: Does Controversy Lead to Unfollows?

Short answer, not likely.

Long answer, not too long a while ago, I noticed a fellow Tweep of mine saying that four people unfollowed him since his last controversial statement, particularly regarding religion, and I was intrigued. I often see people post controversial statements, but I never unfollow, unless they prove to be batshit crazy, like a certain person I shall not name, but would be really obvious to anyone in the Jordanian Tweetosphere.

I wanted to experiment with my followers, and for that I must apologise to them. If I may explain, I always thought I had developed a followership out of good socialisation and willing interaction with folks, I don’t usually view them as numbers. When I do, I remember that they’re a number of people. I automatically block any bots or inactive business accounts, because I don’t want an inflated number of followers for no reason. (Shout Out: There’s an app for that, called Tweepi. I don’t do paid ads, but I like giving credit to free apps that I use on a regular basis.)

In all, I tried to stir some controversy in small doses for the past week. I went in the beginning with some brutal honesty directed at certain Tweeps, and then went a bit general, started linking to controversial articles, and eventually said a very rude, and slightly hateful tweet directed at a large portion of my followers. I have to apologise for that too. Here is a graph of my followers for the past week.

As you can see, I couldn’t even dent my meteoric rise to stardom. =P Ehrm, joking aside, things that might have influenced this graph is that I had live blogged a couple of events, which normally nets me followers, but there was no changes to the trends I normally see through such events. But then again, I attribute these results to my great followers. I like to believe that people follow me for more than just a shallow impression they have of me that can be whisked away by one controversial statement or another.

Therefore, my conclusion is, if you build a stable, loyal base of followers, which might take time, but you mostly needn’t worry about losing it if you voice a controversial opinion here or there. People mostly won’t bother unfollowing you unless you cause controversy on a regular basis, or go overboard and stir so much controversy in a subject that’s particularly sensitive among them. That will lose you a lot of followers, and might gain you a few, and you’ll end up with one end of a highly polarized readership.  In essence, stay loyal to your tweeps, stay true to yourself, but keep in mind who your followers are and you’ll end up with many great friends. =D