Memo to Self: Don't Get into Twitter Fights

Touch wood, since I stopped drinking eight years ago, I haven't yet relapsed.  But I imagine the feelings of shame and remorse that would follow such a bender are not dissimilar to how I feel moments after I exit a Twitter fight with someone. I really wish I wouldn't do it – and, to be fair, it's a rare occurrence. Social media scraps unleash parts of my personality that I am mostly able to keep under control. It's an ugly version of me who takes over the keyboard, and it gives me insight into the psychopathology of Internet trolls. 

The latest one involved this guy who posted something about an article I wrote. He did the usual – took stuff out of context, conjured straw man arguments, failed to engage with the substance of what I said, etc. – and I sent him a single tweet in the heat of my objection: fairly bloody dishonest, I said. (I'm not providing the links to any of this because it's not important: the substantive part of the disagreement related to how Labour in New Zealand arranges internal ballots – I support proportionality, he doesn't. BFD, amirite?).

He responded in own defence, to which (sensibly, I thought)  I replied that I didn't want to get into a pissing contest; he prodded me some more, said I was "running away". I should've just sat in the Lotus position and said "yeah, I'm running away. Ommm" – but, no, my stupid male ego got pricked, and off I went. What followed was an extended back and forth of exactly the kind I wanted to avoid – and yet it was at least equally my fault since I tweeted of my offense when I read his blog post when I could've just shut my stupid mouth.  

Once you start a war of words on Twitter, it's hard to stop. He flung the whole lot at me – taunts, petty insults (including the classic "Yawn") imputations of motive, you get the picture. By now, my social media monster had taken over and was dishing it out, too. 

Ugh. How unattractive. 

Must not do that again.