Why I Don’t Like Subtweeting and is Twitter a Safe Space

I don’t like subtweeting.

There, I said it. Before I get started, I want to mention that while I am writing this post because of recent drama regarding subtweeting, it isn’t about that incident in particular but rather about all incidents where people choose to subtweet. If you don’t agree with me or think that I am absolutely NUTS, I ask that you share your opinion but also remember that I am a real human bean. (Just roll with it, I know some of you are shaking your heads, I am not a NORMAL human bean) I have feelings so don’t threaten to tear me into shreds and eat me for dinner.

People may assume that their twitter accounts are their safe spaces, to say whatever they want, however they want without consequences. Now I am not disagreeing that your twitter account should be yours to do with whatever you want but I think it is important to remember that most of us don’t have our twitter accounts set to private. That means that ANYONE can see what we are tweeting and take offense to what we are saying. When this happens, DRAMA happens. In this community, we have a tendency to subtweet instead of trying to talk about what is problematic/not and engaging in a discussion.

One of the reasons for this–I believe–is that we aren’t not ‘one community’ (no kumbaya for us.) There are way too many of us for all of us to be one happy community where everyone is friends with one another and for cliques to not form. We like to stick to our own people, people who tend to agree with us.

But when you slander someone on social media, THEY WILL FIND OUT. Even if all you wanted to do was vent to some of your friends and then forget about the issue. This is why subtweeting is problematic. It might not be intentionally hurtful but if I found someone talking about me amongst a bunch of people I didn’t know, I would be hurt. Subtweeting is gossiping and gossip can sometimes upset people (cue middle school talks about how rumours and gossip are hurtful and we should all be nice to one another.) When people are hurt, things happen.

For example, I might not know what was on your mind when you were talking about me on the internet. I might automatically assume that you are the worst human bean that lived in the worst lands ever. I don’t know your life or story and because I don’t know you, it’ll be worse. How can a person I don’t know very well suddenly see it fit to make judgements about my character based on something I might have done without any other context surrounding my actions? (That is a long sentence, I am sorry) I might feel the way Nicki did when Miley trash talked her in the media.

If confrontation happens (which it won’t always because some people are non-confrontational), two parties will probably end up having a bad/mediocre day. It won’t just be you being upset but someone else you have hurt through your subtweeting. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen incidences where people subtweet about their own friends. You would think that something like that wouldn’t happen but it does.

If you’re like me and hate confrontation, you might sometimes choose to passive-aggressively subtweet because it feels safer but believe me, in the long run, there is a good chance you will end up hurting someone’s feelings even if that isn’t what you wanted.

So why can’t we, as a community, just get together and engage in discussions? Why is it that we resort to subtweeting? Why do we believe it’s okay to slander one another in public places?  I DON’T KNOW. It REALLY makes me mad though. And I admit that I am part of the problem because sometimes I don’t know how to confront people, especially if they come off as a rude and seem unwilling to engage in a discussion. But we cannot keep going on this way.

How many dramas will we endure caused by hurtful subtweeting and mean words said behind each other’s backs? I thought we were better than this as a community. I might not be friends with every single person in this community. I might not even know every single person in this community but given that we all have several things in common, we shouldn’t feel uncomfortable reaching out to each other.

The simple truth is that there are going to be very few times when everyone is on the same page about something (i.e. WE LOVE BOOKS.) Instead of getting angry because we don’t agree, or because someone said/did something that offends us, we could try out the kumbaya thing and at least attempt to be civil to each other.

So, if there is something someone shared on their blog that you might disagree with, COMMENT ON THE POST. If someone tweeted something that doesn’t sit right with you, tweet at the person or even send them a private DM or email telling them why you are offended by what they said. Engage in healthy discussions as opposed to emotionally draining subtweets. Or you know, do what we all sometimes do: Rant to your friends in PRIVATE. Aka not on your twitter feed where the person in question will see rants, have their feelings hurt and probably spend the day being angry/upset.

I guess the reason I decided to talk about this is because all the drama within the community keeps bringing me down. It hurts me to see us fighting. It hurts me when someone attacks my friend for no reason other than they weren’t sure how to talk through a disagreement. We aren’t just usernames on the internet, we are all real human beans behind our screens (OR I WOULD HOPE SO because otherwise we might have problems… actually though, I am not even a real human bean so oops, y’all are screwed). So let’s just TRY to be nice. BROWNIE points for people who decide to have a conversation instead of attacking the other person. *throws puppies and kittens in everyone’s faces* (I know there is a bunny in the gif, not a puppy. The gif was too cute for me to pass up)

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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    So well said Rashika.

    I feel like social media can be an incredible way to connect, but it also allows people to use it to condemn others just as easily and I’ve been guilty of it on occasion too. You’re basically talking about a real person with very real feelings, and I think subtweeting is worse than stepping up and saying ‘hey, I don’t agree with what you’ve said and here’s why.’ I don’t understand why clearly when we have an issue with a post a blogger has shared, why are we not replying to that instead? If subtweeting is to avoid confrontation, then it’s not working. It becomes a vicious cycle where two parties are talking about the other and not to each other. A blogger seeing that on their feed or being told about it, it’s far more hurtful than having someone disagree with you on your blog where you can converse.

    It’s no different from both being in the same room, and having someone addressing a room full of people about you, while you’re present. Away from our screens, how many of us would do that? Maybe it’s because I’m older that I see it as fruitless, but when did we become a community of gossip and taking to social media to complain about one another? It’s sad. I think as a community, we don’t have to like one another but at least respect that we have a difference of opinion and don’t reduce our public presence to idle gossip. The sad reality is that your post may very well prove how right you are Rashika.
    Kelly recently posted…The Winner’s Kiss DiscussionMy Profile

  2. says

    I’m so behind on commenting and responding to posts but ahhhhh I couldn’t help but to instantly respond to this one because it’s honestly so well written and I really hope it does cause a much needed change.

    Sub-tweeting is something that is very common in all of twitter really. I’ve been guilty of myself but recently have been trying to be more self-aware because you’re correct, it doesn’t solve the issue. While in the moment it may feel good to hammer out an angry tweet to let your emotions out, it doesn’t help things in the long run. In fact I actually believe sub-tweeting is worse than just directly mentioning the person or DM’ing them just because it does blow the drama up in a very big way and often times there is no resolution of conflict. Subtweeting often shows a one sided view and then people end up supporting that even while not knowing the full story. Then it becomes a chain with people you don’t even know commenting on the subtweet and when the person it’s directed to finds it? Cue another sub tweet.

    And the thing is, the true issue is never really addressed through subtweeting. It’s never solved, just blown up bigger and bigger into more drama. Like have you ever seen a issue solved through subtweeting? Cause I haven’t. I feel that commenting directly on a post or messaging the person would quickly solve the issue or at least make it less long lasting or hurtful. Because damn, subtweeting does hurt when you have people you don’t even know against somebody who can’t really defend themselves. I mean yes the person could obvs still defend themselves against a subtweet but it’s really hard to bring that up (and what if you’re wrong and the tweet wasn’t about you) against a tweet that has already garnered a lot of support.

    <33 again I adore this post so much. I truly agree with it 100%, I really do think this is an issue in the community (and really all communities because it's so prevalent throughout them all) that needs to be addressed.
    Larissa recently posted…Discussion: Tangled Web of Blogger & Author FriendshipsMy Profile

  3. says

    I’m not a fan of subtweeting either, but I think some people do it because they honestly think it’s “less rude” to subtweet than to tweet directly at someone. And maybe that’s true. However, if you’re claiming you’re subtweeting to “be nice,” then I think you should actually be nice. You shouldn’t say cruel things about other people. You shouldn’t make it clear who you’re talking about while pretending you’re taking the high road and not going to name them. “Good” subtweeting would be seeing a post about, say, why someone hates HP and tweeting a reaction like “I can’t believe some people hate HP! It’s my favorite book! #sadness.” Bad subtweeting is tweeting something like, “I can’t believe a blogger wrote about how they hate HP! How stupid do you have to be to not see its genius. Ugh. Some people.”
    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A RetrospectiveMy Profile

  4. says

    So much yes! COMMENT ON THE POST! When all that drama went down on twitter about the co-bloggers who did the confessions post and I said that whether you agreed with it or not we all have the right to post what we want on our blogs, and that they hadn’t named anyone personally, so no one had the right to start attacking them on Twitter, I got attacked! A bunch of bloggers unfollowed me, too (both on Twitter and on my blog). Then, when the “mob” saw that most bloggers agreed that we have the right to post what we want on our blogs, they started lying and saying that the two confessions bloggers were attacking them personally on Twitter! They were tweeting the two bloggers names on Twitter and bashing them. I went to both Twitter accounts and one of the bloggers wasn’t even tweeting at all and the other one was saying they understood why some people might be angry (very understanding). I hate the mob mentality on Twitter. That is why usually nothing can be discussed. I don’t even use names when I tweet about things authors did that bothered me. You can say you are upset about something on Twitter without using the person’s blog name or account name. Hugs to you Rashika. I am sorry that happened.

  5. says

    *sends you hugs and chocolate* I totally agree. I mean, talking about someone behind their back, but also in a way that they MIGHT hear but you don’t care…is NEVER OKAY. Not in real life. Not online. :( And I think this is about maturity too?! Like some people just don’t care about other people’s feelings AND don’t really think about the fact that we’re all usernames — with human beans behind them.

    I’ve never been caught in a subtweeting mess OR actually really seen it? I’m very very lucky. It would be so awful and upsetting. 😓
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…How To Run Away and Write A Book (Very Fast) (And Is A Historical Retelling) (With Dragons)My Profile

  6. says

    *STANDING OVATION* I could not have said it better myself.

    I’m not the best when it comes to navigating twitter so I actually have no idea what this drama is all about but if I’ve noticed one thing about this community is that for some reason people can’t have a discussion without it escalating into something dramatic and ugly. This makes me sad for so many reasons and I think that’s because the issues at hand can mostly be sorted out privately between the parties involved but in most cases they don’t and things get blown out of proportion and then everyone feels the need to jump in and have their say, which in turn creates factions and more drama and negativity.

    I’ve never been a fan of the whole subtweeting thing. I think it’s a dirty move and all it does is add fuel to the fire. Plus like you said, we don’t know what is going through the mind of the other person and I always wonder how people can make such quick judgement’s of people based on one comment. If you need to vent about something, then do so in private instead of instigating a subtweet that will likely be hurtful to the intended target and create drama.

    I will admit that I don’t like confrontation, so for me to add my two cents on a matter I disagree with is daunting. However, I feel like I find people that are open to a rational discussion I am likely to share my thoughts. I like getting to see things from a different perspective and I think discussions and debates are healthy so long as people are respectful of the opinions of others, even if they disagree with what they say.
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  7. says

    Yeah sub-tweeting annoys me. Although mostly when I encounter it, it’s my outside-of-bookish-community friends sub-tweeting each other. I always seem to exist outside of the blogger drama which is weird. BUT WE SHOULD JUST ALL BE NICE BASICALLY.

  8. says

    That’s how everything starts, because even if you aren’t people will assume that you are talking about them and get all butthurt. I hate subtweeting, some people need to grow some balls…
    Great post Rashika, I agree with everything you said. I admit that sometimes I have the urge to subtweet, especially when someone is subtweeting about me or a friend. It’s like, if you can subtweet, why can’t I???
    Hopefully this doesn’t cause drama in a month :)
    Nereyda @Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist recently posted…Audiobook Review: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry KletterMy Profile

  9. says

    I definitely understand everything you mean. Twitter and social media in general is suppose to be a safe haven, yet what happens when it doesn’t feel safe? Subtweeting makes me feel paranoid because I feel like every subtweet is about me, even if it’s as simple as “So over today.” I do notice that most, actually ALL, drama originates from Twitter and that bothers me. Like you said, we are a community so it sucks when our friends talk indirectly behind our backs, especially to the public. Internet reaches so many and even if we don’t say who we are talking about, many of us become either curious and eventually find out in DMs or we already know.
    Jess @ POB! recently posted…Focus on Followers + Big Bookish News + Around the Blogosphere | March 2016My Profile

  10. says

    You’re a good person Rashika.

    I don’t really like subtweeting, especially when it involves bashing one of my very close friends. Even if maybe it doesn’t bother my friends, it just hurts to look at certain Twitter threads and see bloggers being called stupid or uninformed, just for having an opinion that’s different than others. I think it would be hypocritical for me to say that in these instances, I DON’T subtweet. Because I do. How am I supposed to confront a person, one who may just brush me off because she has a history of doing that, and expect good things to come from it? I don’t! I’ll most likely get mobbed by her followers or whatever.

    So, I guess my stance on all of this is that I want to be more confrontational, rather than just subtweet about something that offends me. This isn’t something I have been doing (well, the one time I did actually subtweet about a person), and I do want that to change especially if it involves myself or people I’m close to.

    Awesome post Rashikaaaaaa!
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  11. says

    I was like, starting to read this. And I was like “but wait, I read this”, so then I thought I had commented. I don’t think I did. If I did… ugh, just slap me or something, I am a mess.

    Anyway. I agree. Now, since I am elderly, we didn’t have Twitter “back in the day”, but there was always that snarky underbelly. We had AIM, and your away message status or whatever was always like, passive aggressive. Hell, I used to talk about some real bitches on our swim team while we had to suffer on a van with them- she spoke in French, I spoke in Spanish, and we knew just enough of each language to figure out what the other was saying. In our defense, these girls were SO MEAN. I could tell you stories… omg.

    Anyway. I get the allure, is what I am saying- especially if you have tried and been burned by the direct route of adult problem solving. It happens ALL the time- someone tries to do the right thing and face a situation, gets basically shit on, and then resorts to this kind of nonsense. It’s frustrating, especially when it ISN’T just kids, or even just bloggers doing it- we all know LOTS of people who should know better subtweeting- even when they have no business being involved.

    Ah, I have thoughts about this, but I could go on all day, and The 100 is calling me. Love youu. Bye.
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Bud, Buddy, & Bathroom Lunches by Juanita Bidet: A Turnt Up 21ers PostMy Profile

  12. says

    So, lucky for me, I don’t even know what subtweeting is! But the concept of gossiping on social media is mind boggling. I understand that not everyone in the book blogosphere is going to get along. And, I’m not even going to pretend to be upset if Person A wants to vent about Person B (in private). But…why would someone ever do that in a public networking space? That sort of thing makes me think they’re looking to be drama-llamas, ya know?

  13. says

    Ah, so I noticed that I never did comment on this amazing post of yours. I can’t believe it! Forgive me.

    I think you wrote this all really well! Of course. ;)

    People do assume Twitter is their safe space and it is, to a limit. If someone bothers you, you can block them, if someone says something triggering for you, you can mute them for a while. Everyone can try to make Twitter their safe space for themselves, really, but I think when it comes to subtweeting on Twitter as part of your subtweet, that’s when things get a little…skewd. I mean, on one hand, you are being “nice” by not confronting a person, if you don’t know how they’ll react or if you’ve had bad experiences with them in the past, but on the other, it’s basically talking about someone behind their back.

    The real issue with subtweeting is that people do it and assume that whoever they’re talking about WON’T notice and that they’re spreading their thoughts without sharing the other person’s side. This can lead to several people jumping into a conversation with the subtweeter without even knowing the context and right off the bat, they’re probably going to be biased to side with the subtweeter because their first encounter is only going to be the subtweeter’s thoughts.

    This can also make it hard for people to even DISAGREE with the person subtweeting because they can see how easily this person will subtweet another person and/or they want to avoid a confrontation (which can lead to themselves subtweeting).

    The book blogosphere will never be one united entity, there are so many blogs and people and it’s just not possible. There are book blogs that people haven’t even heard of. It’s not feasible for everyone to be best friends, which I’ve seen people say in the past. I don’t think everyone has to like each other or even “get along” or “click” with people, but I think being a bit kinder would be nicer.

    I mean, if you want to subtweet, fine, go ahead, I’ve done it myself, but just think about the consequences of it first. Is there a chance whoever you’re subtweeting will be hurt? Are you subtweeting to be vicious? Are you really just trying to vent? Why do you feel the ‘need’ to subtweet? I think these things are important to ask. I don’t think all subtweeting is bad really, but I think when it comes to someone in the same community you’re in…I don’t know, just try to reel it in? I need to work on this myself, for the most part, I try not to subtweet, but we both know there are instances where I have. Really, I think it can be childish at times. Why not just try to discuss the topic with the person? Unless you’re fearing their reaction. Even then, vent privately to friends.

    I think it’s so important to interact with people. You don’t have to agree with them, but if they WELCOME discussion, maybe comment on their post if it’s so offensive to you? Maybe tell them what you think about the situation. You don’t HAVE to agree with them, but I find it really rude to subtweet someone without any context for anyone who may come across your tweet. Especially when it comes to controversial blog posts. There’s also that saying that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you’re going to just “attack” someone on Twitter for a post they made, maybe just (as I previously said) vent privately to your friends about it, there’s some decency in that. Not everything needs your input, especially when you don’t give it to the person you’re talking about in the first place.

    Okay, my essay is over. <3 <3 <3 to you, my super lovely friend.
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