In the last couple of weeks I have spoken to five different young women who told me they were going to stop posting blogs and tweeting about their politics and their views... More than the violent, threatening and blatant misogyny, the worst element of this is the "shut up" bit. The "shut up bitch" is working. Women are shutting up. Not because they are scared, not because they believe the threats but because it is so tiring that whenever you speak you face hatred because of the make up of your chromosomes.
From a quiet, what I would view as a normal life in London, my whole life was initially turned upside down when these images, accompanied by the overwhelming messages of support, first appeared on Twitter. From not having any social media presence at all, within 72 hours I was to have over 70,000 followers. All of these carried the same sentiment that enough was enough and the time had come to stop making the trolling of people the norm and to use social media for the good that it was surely created for.
We're not a commodity and, contrary to hotels, cars, books etc. we have feelings and emotions, and are essentially pretty fragile individuals who really don't need - as the Register has dubbed it - 'slander-as-a-service'. How anyone could think this even vaguely a clever idea, and not a malicious, odious platform for bullying and nastiness is beyond me.
Now, every social platform has its own internal universe of slang terms, in-jokes, unreadable acronyms and memes, and the rules of discourse on Twitter are not those of general conversation. This doesn't, however, mean that discussions on social media exist in an online bubble, isolated from the world, and language, at large.