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The Reluctant Tweeter: Joyce Carol Oates

“… [I]n the beginning I really didn’t want to do Twitter. I said that I didn’t want to do it and my publisher set up an account. I think they do that with a number of writers and they want you to announce when you’re going to do a book reading or visit a college and so forth so I started doing that. Then I was following a number of people. I follow about 40 people. Steve Martin was one of the first people I followed. He’s so funny. And I started, not emulating Steve, because one can’t do that, but sort of writing a different kind of tweet. It wasn’t just about what I was doing but observations on life. And then sometimes I would read and respond to other tweets. Sometimes I don’t …

“I don’t consider that I really said anything that I don’t feel and I think that sometimes the crowd is not necessarily correct. You know, Kierkegaard said, “The crowd is a lie.” The sort of lynch mob mentality among some people on Twitter and they rush after somebody — they rush in this direction; they rush over here; they’re kind of rushing around the landscape of the news — and this goes on a lot on Twitter. Not necessarily that I’m watching, but I know it goes on elsewhere. When I first started there was a lot in the news about gun control so I was tweeting about that and I got these amazing tweets from these complete strangers who just hated me and what do I know about guns, that I know nothing. I’m this liberal person. And really some of these things I was really astonished. But then I just stopped reading them because I still feel there should be gun control. I don’t care if a million people think I’m wrong. I just think there should be gun control. So basically you react by withdrawing. Many people on Twitter who I follow, like Bill Maher, who is very outspoken. So I imagine he just doesn’t read all the negative tweets. He must care.”

— Prolific author Joyce Carol Oates, talking about her often-controversial Twitter feed, in an interview with Salon

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