By Casey Liss

On the evening of Thursday, January 12, I wrote this tweet:

At the time I’m writing this, that tweet has had over 14,000 retweets and twice as many favorites likes.

This has been… interesting.

Some random thoughts:

  • I got freebooted. Twice. Thrice.
    • Sadly, I’ve gotten few reports of “Whoa! Someone outside our circle retweeted you!”
    • I have gotten reports of “Whoa! Someone outside our circle shared this on Facebook!”
  • I wish there was a way to browse retweeters. I’m just curious to see how far this spread. I did happen to see that Andy Richter was one of them, and if it hit his social network, I’m curious where else it went.[1]
    • Twitter’s website doesn’t seem to support this in any capacity
    • Twitter analytics just gives counts, and nothing else
    • Favstar allows it, but all I can see is a list of avatars, without blue checks.
    • This is completely narcissistic, but I really am fascinated.
  • Probably because of the company I keep, the response seemed to follow a trend from enthusiasm → passionate enthusiasm → enthusiasm → disagreement → passionate disagreement.
    • My assumption is that it got traction within my normal circle, and lived happily there for a while. Eventually, it crossed the divide into the more conservative circles, and then started to catch wind there in the same way, but as something to hate rather than like.
    • I don’t know who facilitated the crossing of that divide, because I can’t see who retweeted my tweet.
  • Though I had many people reply saying that ACA is wrong, for varying reasons (more below), very few cited any actual research to back their claims.
    • I’m completely guilty of this as well, as my tweet didn’t either.
  • Of those that disagreed, the most odious replies were from users who shared one or more of these traits. I’ve been around Twitter long enough to know this is the modus operandi, but it was still fascinating to see it in action, in my own mentions.
    • Their username did not identify them, or at best, identified only their first name.
    • Their specified real name was a callsign or some other name that did not personally identify the user behind the account.
      • In extreme cases, their “real names” were also obnoxious.
    • Their avatar/profile image was an illustration, or perhaps an image of some thing rather than someone. Again, it did not personally identify them.
    • Surprisingly few eggs.
    • Interestingly, I noticed one occasion of an obnoxious, unidentifable user (except his picture, to his credit) deleting all but one of his tweets to me after we got into a heated exchange.
  • Much of the disagreement has been with the principle of the Affordable Care Act rather than the application of it. There seem to be three levels:
    • I shouldn’t be forced to pay for something I do not want to have
    • I shouldn’t be forced to pay to help someone else
    • I don’t think these people deserve help
      • This one I didn’t hear often, but I found particularly disturbing.
  • Of all the opposition I’ve heard, only one scenario made any sense to me. It was best summarized by this tweet (which I quoted/retweeted):
  • Building on this, I heard several stories of people saying “I make enough to not qualify for subsidies, but then the cost/deductibles are unaffordable at my income level”. This is a terrible situation to be in, and based only on my anecdotal evidence, is where the ACA is really failing.

It’s been interesting, though so far it’s been pretty manageable, as long as I don’t get involved. Some times I’ve been better about that than others, which is basically a summary of my entire relationship with Twitter.

I can’t help but wonder what this would have been like if I was a woman, person of color, or both. Surely whatever snark and hate I have received would have been orders of magnitude worse. I guess I just got lucky in the genetic lottery.

UPDATED 15 January 2017 10:30 PM: Added second freebooting.

UPDATED 17 January 2017 3:45 PM: Added third freebooting.

  1. There is a retweeters API, but it’s cursored, limited to 100 per call, and just generally seems like it’d be stinky to work with. I’d love for a way to ask Twitter “which verified users retweeted this tweet?”.