This is Part 1 of a two-part series on my recent experiences with the Twitter Right Think Mob.
About two months ago, I posted (what I thought) was a rather innocuous tweet about my dating preferences, especially with regard to females of the larger persuasion. It was met with little push back because, at that time, I was still a bit of an unknown in the world of Twitter (and in the big scheme of things, I still am.)
I had an opinion, albeit a blunt one, and it was shared not for any reason but for the truth about what my likes and dislikes were in the dating world.
A few men, especially some of my friends, had been coming to me after working out and getting into shape saying that they wanted a woman who was fit, and this was a good point. We had even participated in a beer-fueled heavy discussion about why people, especially men, want attractive partners. People want what they are attracted to, and because men are very visual creatures (and women to a smaller extent), I thought this was a decent, yet mildly unpopular point of view I was determined to share.
This is twitter, so what’s the worst that can happen?
As a relative newbie to the world of twitter, I found the tweet to be mildly offensive to some, but was received better than I thought. I was just stating my personal preference, and an opinion that, while a bit edgy, wasn’t outside of some of the slime covered drivel that I’ve come to associate with Twitter.
So the tweet above was sent out two months ago, with very little fanfare, a few people asking why, and some light berating from several folks who advocated for the fat acceptance movement, who I was and still am at odds with.
My Fat Past, My Fit Future
See, I used to be really fat. I weighed in over 300 lbs for most of my life.
These pics, taken from 8 years to 2 years ago, show that while I was 6’4″, I still carried a ton of weight. I needed to get right. And so, my weight loss journey began.
I’ve lost over 60 lbs as of these photos.
Then there’s me as of this post:
Down 60 lbs, my clothes are way too big for me. It was difficult and I’m still losing weight. I thought it would stop when I got to 250, but I had more and more that continued to come off.
My goal is six-pack abs. I’m still a couple months off from it, but I’ll get there. See, my fatness was my fault. It was a combination of many issues, but it still was on me. I had to find a way out of it. I finally, finally, got tired of working and getting nowhere, so I took an active role in my health for the first time ever.
I hired a food coach and personal trainer. I continue to work with them to this day.
So, while I was on my journey, I was noticing fitter women were becoming more enamored with me, so I returned the favor. Humans are very visual creatures, and fitness is attractive to us. Especially fitness with a good mentality, personality, and attractive qualities.
But for as much as I was concerned, there was nothing wrong with being attracted to fit people, and mentioning the majority (and yes, it’s the majority) of obese and morbidly obese people out there that struggle with their weight, especially those that excuse it and their behaviors as a “fat acceptance” movement. There are thousands of people with legitimate problems, but we’ve seen an epidemic that has risen out of shitty food that corporations push, and people are making excuses for not taking control of their lives. This was a motivation as well for my post.
The post got some decent views, about 1k likes, and caused a bit of a stir, but nothing too major. I was happy, so I decided to keep it up.
Deep down, however, I wanted to see something go viral. This is the problem with social media, as most people shit post just to get a rise out of folks, and this was another motivation for me. It’s not right, but I did it anyway. I thought I could get more followers! That’s what it was all about. Mistake.
So, fast forward to 1 week ago. I was scrolling through my past tweets, looking for retweets to make, as I do that to post points I thought well of and for more exposure to my ideas. Then I saw the tweet. So I retweeted it, not even stopping for a second to think about it.
When I started this twitter account, it was to not only share my opinions, advice, and life with the world, it was also to participate in meaningful discussions (I know, Twitter is the exact opposite), so I very rarely block or mute anyone. I get my share of insults, sure, but I am able to, at times, have a good conversation, agree to disagree. But this was about to get out of hand on a scale I couldn’t have imagined. And guess what?
I deserved every last thing that happened.
So, within about 24 hours, my tweet went viral. Nearly 3,000 likes, and enough angry fatties to make my city tilt 45 degrees. The anger, insults, and general rancor was something I’d never experienced before. Instead of ignoring things, I decided to respond to every insult and all it got me was frustrated. There’s a reason you don’t respond to viral tweets….
Many people were just plain rude, insults flying. It didn’t bother me, but as bigger and bigger accounts go in on the fun, I decided enough was enough. I deleted the tweet. Dumb move.
The backlash and “coward” tweets eventually overtook the original’s popularity, including one response that got nearly 40k likes.
Was the original tweet phrased poorly? Sure. Should I have posted it? Probably not. Is it a healthy attitude to have? Who cares? It’s my opinion.
It doesn’t make it correct on what happened. But still, I knew about it and did it anyway, with 50% trying to be serious and 50% trying to get it to go viral for the attention I probably didn’t need anyway. So, I started blocking and muting. I was tired of the bullshit. I had brought it on myself, so I was going to end it.
72 hours later, I was still cleaning up. Another tweet had gone viral because of my original tweet, and people were asking me to apologize.
I wasn’t going to apologize for having an unpopular opinion. I’m a lot of things, but kneeling to the right think crowd was the last thing I wanted to do. I then had an epiphany.
Why block these people? They were going to say what they wanted, with great vigor, towards my unpopular opinion. I should just ignore them. Say what I want, then walk the fuck away and don’t worry about it.
This was confirmed in conversations with other Twitter folks. They did state that tact was needed, but posting highly charged posts was something they did on twitter all the time. And these guys gave me guidance on how to respond, and do it with a better path than I had done before.
They said, “No matter what, don’t bend to the mob.” I wouldn’t block my way out of this.
So I unblocked. I unmuted. I admitted that while my tweet wasn’t worded quite right, it was what I believed. Was this the right thing to do? Probably not, but I know now the correct way to proceed. I ended up getting over 1000 followers from the ordeal, but in the long run, there is always going to be a better way to do things, and I’ve learned the hard way.
I learned a lot from this episode. I learned that sometimes you don’t hit the retweet button, regardless of what you think, because someone, somewhere is going to take offense to what you wrote. I learned you stand up for what you believe in, especially in the face of the outrage mob, because if you don’t, your cause loses another voice that could’ve made a difference. I learned that regardless of how loud the voices against you get, you still have the right to an opinion, just be ready to get shredded if it’s unpopular.
Stand against the crowd, because if you don’t, you lost the convictions you so desperately fought for.
Don’t be afraid to face the mob.