It was quite a ride!
I joined Twitter in 2009 and was banished from it last week, in 2020.
Here’s a review of all that happened!
Before I talk about the fiery exit, I want to discuss the casual entry.
11 years ago, it seemed a fun and lively place for the exchange of ideas. I liked the humour and had fun during the early years. I got to talk to lots of normal people and the account grew. By 2013, I had over 12,000 followers. As my reputation grew, this kept growing and I started 2020 with 160,000 followers. Along the way, I had highs and lows. The platform attracted anonymous trolls who seemed to spend their sad and empty lives spouting venom and hate. Curiously, it became hard to remove such people and in one instance, I took one individual to the High Court and successfully had him stay away from me for a while. (At the time, the local media reported my win as a defeat, a sign of their gathering jealousy)
I liked to tweet music and over the years I think I must have shared the Elvis Costello back catalogue! I also enjoyed witty banter and quoting Shakespeare and other literary giants. Ironically, my final header to my Twitter account was a quote from Mark Twain;
“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”
Of course, by this time, my views were no longer the majority on Twitter.
Since 2016, after the Trump win and the Brexit vote, Twitter changed. It started to exercise that which you may recognise as cancel culture. More prominent conservative voices were silenced, slowly at first but then with increasing speed. And the method was the same. All you had to do was express an opinion or ask a question (in my case) that the left-wing mob didn’t like and the orchestrated pile-on happens. Twitter safety (from reality) is then besieged by thousands of complaints and this then triggers suspension. 2020 has seen the likes of my friend Katie Hopkins, Stefan Molyneaux and Carl Benjamin erased from the platform – so I am in the best of company.
Let’s talk about the actual tweet that brought my run to an end.
It was a direct question to the Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford. He had been suggesting that he had “never” met anyone who didn’t care for their children. Now, this may be true of course but please consider what I actually said. I suggested there was a problem in the British Afro-Caribbean community (every census shows this, it is an indisputable fact supported by Government data) with women being sadly abandoned by their boyfriends. This is the community Rashford comes from, so it is a little odd he has never encountered the widespread problem. Further, and this is the kicker, by his OWN admission, his mother brought him and his siblings up without a father. So I asked him the obvious question. Had he met his own father, as a child? If he had, his initial statement is problematical. If he hadn’t, it validates my concern for his community. Either way, I sought information.
Truth told, this was too much for left-wing preening Twitter. It was simply not possible to question Rashford. And so I was defamed en masse and my account was removed. On my final Periscope live stream with barrister Rebecca Butler, we discussed possible solutions to the issue in a positive manner. I actually praised Rashford. But facts don’t matter on Twitter. It is the raw anger of the mob that matters and which decides if you go or if you stay!
Do I miss it? Honestly, no. I will miss some people that I got to know, that’s the bit that is sad. I have known some of them since 2009. But they all have the chance to visit my Parler social media (@DavidVance) if they really want to stay in touch. If they prefer to stay on Twitter, that’s their call. But do I miss the almost satanic levels of hate towards me? No. Do I miss having to edit my words lest a snowflake is triggered? No. It’s not that I am different on Parler or Facebook but I am less self-censoring.
At a deeper level, I think that Twitter is no longer a serious platform for informed debate. Those prominent remaining conservative voices will find that they will be taken down if they speak out. Some stayed mute when I was taken down. That will not save them in the long run. Those who risked their Twitter accounts by standing by me earn my respect. Today it was my account that was erased, but tomorrow, it will be someone else’s.
Here’s the good news.
The air outside Twitter is cleaner. The noise outside Twitter is reduced.
I have more time to do things that interest me. I have a new journey to go on. I hope you, dear reader, will stick with me. I am only warming up!
As I have said for a long long time, ‘Don’t start me talking”…
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