Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twitter divided

I logged on to twitter this morning and was surprised to find the top trending topic was #nogod.  For those unfamiliar with twitter, trending topics are subjects that're being tweeted more than any other across the network and while I would expect to find #god, or #knowgod, #nogod took me off-guard.  Hash tags (#) are included for quicker cataloging on sites like search.twitter.com.  Anyway, I don't generally use twitter's website, preferring TweetDeck, but am glad to have logged on today.  I log on every now and then to approve/block people who were attempting to follow me, which is something I have to do every few days since putting my twitter profile under lock and key.

Now, before I go on, I want to express my disinclination to engage in a religious debate on this topic.  I have my opinions, those who know me likely understand them, but I also feel like everyone has a right to their faith, or lack there of.  Of course, how I feel about said faith, or faiths, is another matter entirely, but is not the subject of this entry.  Please don't try to debate this issue with me, I don't care what you believe or don't believe.

Alright then.

I admit to finding it refreshing that the other side seemed to have a voice today, even if it was just for a little while.  Culture is so christianized that everyone else is shoved to the margins.  If you're an atheist or pagan, for example, you simply cease to matter, and when you do matter, it's never in a positive, understanding way.  Today, on twitter, it seemed that the margin mattered.

Then I got to looking at it a bit more closely and you know what, for the most part, the margin wasn't represented.  Along with those who're more moderate and reasonable, the trending topic #nogod brought out all the nut-jobs.  Every radical christian and atheist came out to play and they were almost all unreasonable.  Atheists were screaming that there is no god.  Christians were screaming that when the rapture comes atheists are going to burn.  It's a proverbial, chirping madhouse and it makes everyone look bad.  Not everyone who posted on the topic is/was coming across as totally unstable, but certainly no civil conversation is possible under circumstances like that.  People were tweeting #nogod just to keep the topic trending or were fitting the words "no god" awkwardly into sentences where they didn't fit.  Others were using it as a question, like "#nogod?!", or a reason to tweet #godisreal over and over for the full 140 character limit.  I support free speech, but this was just ridiculous, and likely still is.

Then, to make matters worse, #nogod disappeared from the trending topics as quickly as it had come and everyone started screaming censorship.  If twitter is censoring, then I'm not sure it's something I want to be a part of anymore.  I disapprove of censorship in a way I cannot adequately express.  The suppression of intellectual property, even when it's garbage and can hardly be called "intellectual" is intolerable to me.  I am, however, willing to consider that the cries of censorship are nothing more than an unwillingness to accept that the #nogod craze got old and died away.  It's called "trending" topics for a reason, by the very nature of it being trending, it's going to lose popular interest after a while, even by the crazies and the radicals.

Ultimately, all that's left of the debate is #knowgod, which is still trending.  Imagine that.  #nogod goes away, but #knowgod remains.  I just can't help wondering if it's yet another case of everyone else falling by the wayside and if it is censorship, then shame on twitter.  For the time being, there's no proof that twitter censored this topic and I certainly don't want to be a party spreading falsehoods and stirring the pot unnecessarily.  Although, they did censor nasty words from trending topics recently, so maybe it's not so crazy after all.  I guess, in the end, I just wonder why adults can't act like adults and engage in civil conversation, even when it's over something like religion.  I've recently learned my lesson about throwing stones, which is coloring my opinion on this matter.  If I, on old dog, can learn a new trick, why can't everyone else?