I follow a priest on Twitter whom I find to be an intelligent and holy man. As is often the case with prophetic voices, his Twitter account attracts a lot of negative static, which only shows the impact that he is having by posting views that challenge people’s safe, comfortable preconceptions; views that don’t hold with the conventional wisdom of this world or the prevailing demagoguery of the times.
Recently, I was so moved by something that he had posted that I decided to respond with a reply of support and thanks. Now, I’m aware that I could have sent it privately as a direct message, but I felt that, per Dr. King’s pronouncement, it was important to take a public stand in the face of challenge and controversy.
Sure enough, a pharisaic troll, stalking the feed from behind a fake name, lashed out at me almost immediately. And honestly, I don’t really mind; if someone is threatened by my words, that only shows that I have the potential to make a difference.
The only problem is that now Twitter notifies me every time that somebody likes the mean reply to me, so every once in a while Twitter is all too pleased to inform me, “Hey, somebody is happy that someone else was a jerk to you!” Which I don’t need to know.
I see it as drive-by trolling. I can choose to respond to or ignore replies, but I can’t respond to likes, and with the notifications, they are harder to ignore. Every one is like a kick to the shins against which I have no way to defend myself.
(I’ve muted the conversation and the account from which the original reply was made, but the old notifications are still there.)
Then again, maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. Maybe I should look at all those nasty little “likes” as blessings on me, per Matthew 5:11.