I write this as a 4-time veteran of Twitter dragging. If you don’t know what Twitter dragging is, then you probably don’t use the app anyway so you don’t need this post.
A lot of young people or new users to the app, find this mob action very overwhelming and there are recorded instances where people have been suicidal just due to the unexpected magnitude of hurtfulness that accompanies a Twitter dragging. People have asked how I survive each one almost like it never happened, so I want to give you all tips for how to handle a drag if it ever happens to you:
- As soon as you start getting notifications that the Tweet is trending and attracting insults or negative comments, go and mute the conversation. There is literally an option on the tweet that says “Mute This Conversation”. As soon as you do this, all notifications stop showing up on your end and the less you see the less you fee like reacting.
- Lock the tweet from comments. There is an option for who can comment on your tweets even after you have posted it. Once the first few comments pop up, lock it. This forces them to actually retweet it on their own page before they can add a caption and it never shows up on your profile unless they tag your handle.
- Block every single handle that tags you to their captions when they quote the trending tweet. Do not make the mistake of reading their caption at all. If a complete stranger who sees that you locked comments to a tweet to avoid getting people’s feedback, decides that you absolutely must see what they have to say about it by tagging you, they don’t deserve to have access to you ever again. It’s quite that simple.
- Never react or try to respond. This is very key. When people are in a mob they feel bold in the false assumption that you cannot single them out for a counter attack without seeming to personalize it against them. Also, its like adding petrol to a raging fire. If you leave them all to fume over the original tweet, they will soon tire out and be distracted by something new, but if you keep replying they will now find something new you have just said to latch on to and keep the mob attack going.
- Delete the trending tweet ONLY IF what you said truly does not reflect who you are and you cannot stand by it. If it is also illegal or can expose you to legal issues, then immediately delete it to minimise the spread and the potential damage it might cause to others. Deleting does not mean it has completely gone and screenshots are sufficient to establish a case against you in a legal action so it just stops the bleeding but doesn’t heal the wound if you get the analogy.
- Feel free to send out a follow up tweet either under the first one or separately, stating your position on what is going on. People always run to see the latest tweet after a drag starts. It shows the victim’s state of mind or attitude to what is going on. I usually say I don’t give a flying toss (i.e. that’s their father’s problem) and that my bank account is completely unaffected by their juvenile hand clapping behaviour but you can say something more Christianly. Be sure to leave that as your last tweet for at least 6 hours so everyone sees it after insulting you on the first tweet.
So those are the immediate practical steps to take for your mental safety and peace of mind. However internally here’s a few things you must tell yourself and keep as principles when using Twitter:
- Do not take it super personal or contemplate suicide, even if the blogs start carrying the story. Most people reacting to the tweet will just comment and retweet it so others can jump on it and join them to insult you. Always remember that these are complete strangers that are doing other things in their lives. They have probably commented on your tweet and gone off to watch a video on YouTube. They will use the most vile words and scroll through your profile looking for anything they think is special to you and attack it for maximum impact. They will use a picture of your spouse or child if they can. They might even tag your employers and say “look who you guys have employed, such a bad representation of your values” in the hope that the embarrassment will cause them to fire you. Y’know, laughable god complex. Don’t forget these are generally lowlifes who have no boundaries and hide behind anonymity, feeling morally superior when they are probably worse than whatever you tweet. They are just trying to hurt you deeply and get a reaction from you so don’t fall for it. Never go back to look at that Tweet as soon as you mute it.
- As a rule, keep your personal life and real life victories away from Twitter. If you do not have the stomach for it or you are thin-skinned, then avoid posting any real life information about yourself on Twitter that can be used as ammunition against you in future during a drag. Do not openly identify with specific real life friends they can attack, do not post your employers information (even if you were celebrating a promotion), do not identify or tag your spouse on your bio or any tweets EVER, do not link your Twitter to your Instagram page where your family pictures are etc etc, you get the point. Again, these are vile people with no self respect that think everything is fair game and are out to inflict maximum damage to you for clout.
- Following from (5) above, if you already had these personally identifiable information on your Twitter page, and it is possible to delete them, then spend the next few minutes after muting the trending tweet, to delete them one by one. Go to your media page first and take down any pictures of your family, employers or others who can be identified by the mob. Also tell your friends not to try to defend you against the mob if they can, it does not let the issue blow over quickly enough. and puts them in the line of fire
- Last but not least, Twitter is just an app on your phone. You can turn it off or uninstall it if it gets too much for you to bear. Nobody will die. By the time you go back after 3 days, everyone has moved on to something else that triggers their outrage. Trust me, you are not the most important thing in their lives.
Let me know in the comments what other tips you may have or if you disagree with mine.