I Repeat, Twitter is not a Dating Website
I apologise in advance to all our genuine readers and followers on here, but I am going to be on a bit of a rant here. For those of you who genuinely get in touch for mental health support for yourself or a loved one, this does not apply to you. Though I would love to hear from you on this particular topic too! It’s regarding a trend that seems common across Twitter, that some individuals seem confused what Twitter is for. That, despite what hashtag you may have found someone under, that it’s perfectly okay to hit on them, even if you’ve never interacted with them, when you’ve no idea who they are or why they are on Twitter in the first place. I want to make one thing very clear to these people: Twitter is not a dating website.
I get it, You’re lonely.
Loneliness can be a terrible thing. Depression can compound it. I know that. You can be surrounded by people, but still be incredibly lonely. But that does not excuse such behavior. Like many people on Twitter I am there for a specific reason, it’s why I post under specific hashtags like #depression and #anxiety. My bio is very clear that I’m a mental health advocate and that I’m the editor for PBTS. It does not state what my marital status is or that I’m looking for a relationship. Yet this does not stop the consistent stream of Direct Messages from men (and the occasional woman) who think that Twitter is a way to get a date. Or just casual sex.
I am NOT there for that! I’m in a relationship. I’m not looking for someone. My purpose for being on Twitter is to be someone who supports sufferers of mental health issues, and as a sufferer myself. Twitter is not a dating website, I’m not having those sort of conversations on there. Yet it doesn’t matter how politely I say that I’m not interested or that I’m seriously involved with someone, these people still continue trying. They try and continue their wooing until it gets to a point that you have no option but to block them. For me, I’m now at a point where I’m considering a total block on Direct Messaging altogether.
I’m Not Alone
I am not alone in this. I’ve received tweets from numerous followers saying that they get at least 2-3 of these types of propositions a day and that despite being very clear that they do not want this type of interaction, they continue to get pestered. Alex has experienced it too, and like me finds it incredibly uncomfortable. As my boss at PBTS he has had to step in with some of them and take over the conversation to try and get them to back off because it has tripped my anxiety to a level that I don’t know what to do. I don’t like blocking people, no one wants to dismiss someone else’s loneliness or hurt their feelings. It can be devastating to be brushed off again and again when you’re trying to find someone. But sometimes I’m left with no choice.
You Don’t Even Know Me
Part of my job at PBTS is talking to people, getting conversations going to help people open up about their struggles or to support them. Sometimes these conversations have to take place on Direct Message because of the sensitive nature of them. Many of our interviews are as a result of us building such connections. But currently I’m at a point where I’m afraid to open my DM folder because I know there will be more of the unwanted type.
The issue is they come out of nowhere. You’ve never interacted with this person, but they’ve decided to follow you without even looking at who you are or what you do. It’s indiscriminate in it’s nature, which is almost offensive in itself when these messages arrive. They’ve seen your profile picture and that’s all. Talk about judging a book by it’s cover alone!
What these people don’t see is how toxic this behavior is. I have serious self-esteem issues. I’m scarred from previous relationships, where who I was inside was nothing to them, all that mattered was what I looked like or what I could do for them. It’s an issue within society that people take more stock in the packaging than the content. These blind approaches are harmful. You have no idea who this person is. Twitter is not a dating website where everyone is actively looking to meet someone. If I’m posting under hashtags like #depression, #anxiety and #mentalhealth, why would that lead you to believe I’m looking for sex or romance?
I am talking and interacting with people who are vulnerable, sometimes I am vulnerable myself. By propositioning such people you are trying to prey on people who do not need this. Depression so often comes with complete lack of self-esteem that these approaches can worsen what’s already there. You are likely to inflict damage on someone else in your search for gratification. But you won’t even know it and you may not even care. But I do. That’s why I’m writing this post instead of my usual pick of the week.
It’s Not Appropriate
To anyone who thinks that it’s okay to continue with these types of blind advances I have one thing to say. Twitter is not a dating website! If you are looking for romantic or sexual hook-ups there are specific sites designed for this. E-harmony, Match, Grinder or Tinder were set up for a reason. Yes you may have to pay for them, but the people on them are looking for the same thing you are.
So go on those sites, or I don’t know… just go out and meet people who have common interests with you. If I’m on Twitter it doesn’t give you the right to assume I’m looking for the same thing you are. You don’t know me. I’m there to talk to people about the subjects that matter to me, be that mental health, music or writing. Don’t assume everyone on Twitter is fair game for your advances, because they’re not. If someone is writing about mental health and it’s impact on themselves or someone they care about, they are not going to appreciate some random stranger hitting on them out of the blue.
So please, PLEASE, if you are someone who does this or are considering it, don’t. Just don’t. You don’t know who you are talking to, it could be a mental health sufferer, it could be a child (Twitter’s minimum age is only 13). You won’t get what you want out of it and it’s really not welcome. Do your online dating where it’s meant to be done, on online dating websites.
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