“Sitting down at your computer after a long day at work. You boot up Twitter like usual. And what pops up on your feed appalls you. A celebrity has just said something you hate. Cancelling them seems like the only option. They should be responsible for their actions. You tweet your response. They could never find you. You were hidden through the internet. And you were doing good. He deserves it.”
Twitter. The “de facto public town square” of the internet. Where all the conversations live and die. From average citizens to influential leaders, we see it used for conveying a message. To inspire change or keep things the way they are. Plan events or talk about their life. It is a platform that anyone can use for anything.
So I tried to use it for what’s it rarely known for — persuading people. And what better to try this with an ever-growing topic in the contemporary internet — cancel culture.
But who was this for? And why? (If you want to read the entire thing, click here.)
The latter question said simply; for school. But analyzing the reasons leaves us with a much more robust answer. We have a responsibility to ourselves and others to use our voices to make the world a better place.
The first question is not so linear. My audience is anyone who believes in the good of cancel culture. It sounds like it would come with a massive group, but I had the same short-mindedness. The internet allows a small group of people to have a loud voice. We see parallels with the flat earthers making lots of noise despite their underwhelming size.
Cancel culture can be expressed by anyone on the internet. The sheer accessibility of cancel culture has allowed it to become the problem it is today. We see a growing group of Gen Z taking over Twitter to cancel anything they don’t like. I interviewed a friend on the issue and shared his point of view on the topic. I found that it comes from a view that everyone should be accountable for their actions. The interview was valuable in that changing their entire perception would be impossible. Instead I aimed to alter their view to that of more reasonable.
Anyone can use their voice. But to invoke change requires a plan. During the research phase, I was inspired by the video “Cancel Culture: fear of the mob” by Tom Nicholas. The video focused on the message being stripped away from its intent.
Being persuasive doesn’t come naturally and takes practice. Both sides need to be taken in account and you have to make sure you avoid logical fallacies. Persuasion can be seen in many mediums and done in many ways; sometimes without you realizing.
So did I achieve this goal?
It is tough to accurately rate my writing as I couldn’t reach that many people. But to the people I talked to, was plenty of good feedback on my points. I wasn’t able to get any counterpoints which I’ll take ignorantly as my writing being perfect. I wish I had tried to reach a larger audience as despite Twitter being a massive platform the discoverability is underwhelming. I wasn’t able to get the traction or takes that I had hoped for and my tweets fell to irreverency.
My argument centres on how cancel culture places focus on “cancel culture” itself rather than the matter at hand. It strips away nuance and specificities that are required for conversations to go somewhere. My writing blends a variety of different points into a flowing thread. It was short enough to be read in a quick manner but included details to persuade my audience.
Longer isn’t always better. Shorter texts can be just as persuasive, if not more considering the audience. We live in age where our attention is constantly being fought for through social media and the internet. Our attention span has shortened so if I want to reach anyone online I need a short concise statement on my take.
And again. Please don’t cancel me