An interesting week at Hedges Towers. To Sainsburys to buy some sparklers for DD's wedding in December. Approaching the fireworks counter, I was informed by the young assistant that I had to complete my shopping before I could buy them. Asked why - and was told that it was a safety precaution to prevent customers setting them off in the store. I am now officially the oldest juvenile delinquent on the block!
Also this week I managed to got involved in a Twitter-spat with two other writers over an issue that I expressed an opinion upon, I thought generally, but was instantly interpreted as a criticism. This is the first time it has happened to me, though not the first time I've witnessed spats taking place, in my role as usually innocent bystander.
Which led me to think about how we act towards one another on such a restrictive medium as Twitter. Are there unwritten rules of behaviour? Because if we want to participate and put ourselves out there, we are going to meet individuals whose opinions and stances differ radically from ours. How should we deal with this?
I believe there is a difference between disagreeing over a particular issue, and launching a personal attack on another Twitter member. I have never witnessed the latter, thankful to say, but I can completely understand why, in such a circumstance, one would want to create digital distance by 'unfollowing' the attacker.
'Unfollowing' someone with whom you happen to have started a lively dialogue over an issue, however strongly you or they feel about it, is in my opinion the equivalent of stamping your foot, storming out and slamming the door. I did it at 13. Maybe you did it too. I don't do it now because I hope I'm more 'grown up.' Thus I am happy to say: 'OK, let's agree to differ on this one. Good luck anyway,' and drop out of the discussion, which is what I chose to do in the spat I got involved in.
Also, I always remind myself, whenever I am tempted to let rip, of what happened when I 'did' the Edinburgh Festival a few years ago. There I witnessed a rather nasty row take place, in public, between two very well-known children's writers. I remember thinking at the time: if that's the way you behave, then I don't think I want to buy your books. And I never have.
So what do you think? Should you speak your mind - whatever the outcome? How do you deal with Twitter-rage? I'd really like to know.
Next week: The PINK SOFA welcomes another wonderful guest.