As most women who use Twitter know, anytime you use your 140-characters to share an opinion, you’ll need to prepare yourself for an onslaught of tweets from those who disagree with you. Female Twitter users who are part of the on-going dialogues about feminism and sexism especially know this.
Although dealing with rude Twitter trolls in your mentions and inbox can be annoying and sometimes quite frightening, a new study published in the British Journal Of Social Psychology found evidence that suggests tweeting about these social issues of inequality could actually be good for you.
In the study 93 female students were split into three groups, one that publicly tweeted, one that privately tweeted and one that didn’t tweet at all. The participants were given information about sexism in politics and the media and then took surveys about their mood and overall well-being. The researchers found that publicly tweeting about these issues improved the way women felt, because they felt like they weren’t alone. They were able to connect with women who felt the same as them or had similar experiences.
With the ability to immediately connect to others and join larger conversations about important social issues, it’s not surprising that Twitter has evolved into the favorite platform of social activists. Conversations about racial inequality (#BlackLivesMatter), domestic abuse (#WhyIStayed) and casual sexism (#QuestionsForMen) flow freely, and people from a variety of backgrounds whose voices aren’t often heard by mainstream media, are able to participate.
As Twitter continues to foster these conversations online, it’ll be interesting to see how they affect the offline world. If just tweeting about sexism can improve our mood, what can talking about it with our peers in person do?