September 15, 2014

Skeptical Women Need to be Careful on Twitter

Who thought this was a good idea? Yuk! Someone...
Who thought this was a good idea? Yuk! Someone had vomited in the one next to this one. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you use Twitter and other social media platforms even occasionally, you have almost certainly shared content created by someone you do not know personally. You have also had your content shared by others you do not know. This is how social media works - people frequently share things from others they don't know when they find content they think deserves to be read by a wider audience.

We've all been in the situation of having our content shared by people we don't know, and most of us would even consider that to be a good thing. When others share something we've written, it amplifies our reach. It might even mean that someone found our content worth sharing. For those of us who create content, there seems to be little downside to having it shared by others.

But there is a real danger lurking in what I have just described. At least, there is for women. I was unaware of this until yesterday, but now I am not sure I could live with myself if I didn't warn you about it.

Imagine that you are a woman who has just had something you wrote shared on Twitter (or another social media platform) by someone you do not know and with whom you have never previously communicated. Depending on who this person is - this person you do not know - you might now be "a female misogynist."

guilt by association

Yes, it appears that certain people, people such as Christina Hoff Sommers, have the power to transform women into misogynists simply by promoting their work. And I have a sinking feeling that she is not the only one out there who might have this power. There could be many others Melody Hensley does not like with such capabilities.

We have all heard of guilt by association in the online atheist community. It has become widespread since Atheism+ emerged on the scene, but this seems to take it to new levels. Someone you do not know and over whom you have no control can lead to you being labelled as a misogynist merely by sharing your content. Now that's power!