I’m being harassed over Twitter political comment

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male university student in my 20s and am being harassed over a comment I posted on Twitter.

Recently, I posted a comment that was very critical of an opinion tweeted on Japanese politics. I did it as I thought the opinion was wrong. As I couldn’t remain calm over the negative reply from the person who tweeted the opinion, we ended up getting into an online argument.

After it continued for some time, I angered some followers of that person. They spread the comments I made in the argument online. As a result, I’ve faced further criticisms and attacks online.

I sort of apologized for what I did. However, violent words against me are still being posted. It’s very tough for me. Although I’m aware I caused the problem, I think they’ve gone too far.

What can I do to stop them from harassing me? As I don’t want to lose ties with my Twitter followers, tell me what I should do other than deleting my account.

F, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Mr. F:

Are you aware that when you are tweeting it’s the same as being naked and crying aloud in front of people in a public place? Many people think their comments are read by their followers alone, but they are totally wrong. Although I don’t tweet, I could read your comments online right now.

You should also be careful of Twitter’s limit of 140 letters. Although the length is convenient for exchanging information, it’s too short to convey exactly what you want to say. You can tweet subsequent comments. But not all readers are ready to take the time to read them all.

Each time you write something, it’s copied and spreads. A misunderstanding causes another misunderstanding, and it gets out of control. It’s too late to regret it.

If you don’t want to delete your account, you should watch the situation calmly without responding to provocations. From now on, when you post a comment, imagine what people will think after reading it.

Also, read tweeted comments of well-known people who have tens of thousands of followers. They always give considerate comments after very carefully examining what they are going to post and respond to criticisms very cleverly. They know how to ignore criticisms and negative responses skillfully. They always cleverly deal with anonymous readers and viewers. So why don’t you learn from them?

Personally, I used to tweet but stopped a long time ago because I prefer to listen to people attentively rather than speak myself.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from Dec. 5, 2015, issue)Speech

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