I have seen multiple people get cancelled on Twitter recently because they had “the audacity” to tweet out a list of their favourites. Just last week a prominent designer in the startup ecosystem almost get cancelled for tweeting our a list of his favourite designers. As a response to that, I wrote 2 twitter threads on what I think about cancel culture.

I am posting both with minor edits. I am also not naming the person I was defending because the goal was not to defend a particular person but to write against the stupid thought policing that has become prevalent on social networks.

thread 1 starts

I think people should be able to tweet whatever the fuck they want. Be it lists, be it controversial opinions. Don’t like them? Mute or block them. These cancel culture thought police people are the biggest idiots.

You shout about free speech and blame Modi when some reporter is arrested but jump at the first chance to cancel and shame someone for putting out a list of people they admire? Seriously? How much of a hypocrite are you all? Now you will say both are different. How? Both are using their right to speak/write what is on their mind.

Unless someone is being abusive or threatening someone, there is no reason to shame someone into quitting a social network. Even then I would just report the person. Who the fuck are you to police thoughts on a social network?

And people who use quote tweets to give gyaaan are the worst. No one cares what the fuck you thinking about the latest hot topic on social media.

I used to admire an author before I saw him try to cancel Shaan Puri for putting out a list. He even tagged Twitch, Shaan’s employer. Just for some brownie points and fake likes which don’t even matter in the long run, you are trying to harass someone online.

Yes, it is harassment. And yes, you are just a schoolyard bully, who instead of his pals, has now got other social justice warriors to pat each others’ back now.

Sadly, this is becoming more and more common.

Clarification: I don’t follow Design Twitter or even the Indian Tech Twitter scene. Both are just filled with virtue signallers and circle jerkers who pat each others’ back. I just saw someone post the thread on an internal Slack channel and could not stop thinking about it.

If you found this thread in bad taste or disagree, please don’t feel the need to tell me about how you are feeling. Just unfollow me. Twitter is just a dumping ground of what I am thinking. I don’t come here to debate. I don’t even personally know the latest person who got canceled. I just used to enjoy his blogs. And now I realize I should have turned off comments on this thread.

Finally, congrats on getting another person canceled on this hellsite. Your parents will be proud.

Thanks. End thread.

thread 1 ends

After I posted the above, a lot of people DM’ed wanted to add their own thoughts, and I had follow up discussions with a few of them. I posted another thread to summarise those discussions.

thread 2 starts

Okay, a lot of people have DM’ed me on Twitter and Whatsapp, so just adding more thoughts:

  1. I am sure [Person X] could have done better. I did not see the OG thread he wrote, so can’t comment.
  2. If your goal is to help someone learn, DM them in private and teach them.
  3. Quote tweeting is just virtue signalling for your tribe. And even if your arguments are fair, people are just gonna pile up on someone and harass them for being not politically correct the first time. But I understand why people need to quote tweet and spew gyaan. Private DMs don’t earn likes.
  4. Be actually kind. Not just put “be kind” on your bio.
  5. People should be allowed to share their favourites. If people start worrying about representation and adding quotas on lists, then they will be just faking it.
  6. But but but I get the point of why we should move outside our bubble and have better diversity in our lives and favs And I get that. Trust me.  But shaming someone into quitting a social network or asking for representation of X group every time someone tweets out a list will just result in people not sharing these lists. Why will anyone bother.
  7. Imagine me checking representation from my state Assam and also my caste on all lists shared on Twitter. And then getting outraged and calling you a tech bro, even if you are a female, whenever you miss representation from my state or caste.
  8. There is no end to this. Assume good intention and be kind. Not for fucking virtual likes on Twitter but because you are actually a good human being.

Thanks for reading.

thread 2 ends

Related read: A post I wrote on On truth speaking and not virtue signalling

Also read about this toxic trend of policing what people can tweet or not, especially by so called reporters.