6 most notable Twitter threads of 2017

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As a way to circumnavigate the character limit, users have been taking advantage of the thread — a string of connected tweets — to dive deep into the issues they care about. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Despite its character limit, Twitter has become a tool for social change in recent years. It’s where many people get their news these days, and it’s become a place for conversations, whether about current events, socio-political discourse, or weird internet humor, to flourish.

Due to the more or less democratic nature of the site (though its policies on verifying and banning accounts have been questionable), it’s become a space for people to voice out concerns, expose truths, spark conversations, and provide alternative points of view. In a world where ‘fake news’ abound, Twitter has become a sort of haven.

As a way to circumnavigate the character limit (which was recently doubled), users have been taking advantage of the thread — a string of connected tweets — to dive deep into the issues and stories they care about. This past year, local Twitter threads have covered everything from local #MeToo exposés to mental illness.

We take a look back at some of the threads that have made rounds and sparked conversations across the site.

Reactions to Alex Tizon’s My Family’s Slave

When The Atlantic released My Family’s Slave, Alex Tizon’s nonfiction short story about lola Eudocia, in June this year, it was all people could talk about. Tizon’s story, posthumously published, created waves of reactions from Filipinos and foreigners alike as the story dove deep into his family’s complicated relationship with their helper, lola Eudocia, who was oftentimes treated unfairly and, in Tizon’s own words, essentially as a slave. It got many people in the Philippines to reflect on their own relationships with their household help, the ethics behind the practice, and its cultural impact, while Americans and those living in the U.S. opened up debates about slave ownership. As foreigners began weighing in on the issue, many Filipinos felt like their thoughts and experiences were being unfairly judged and silenced.

As a way of reclaiming the conversation for Filipinos, Twitter user and New Yorker writer @AdrianChen created a “thread of threads” containing links to threads written by Filipino users reacting to the story.

“Things I learned from my mental disorder”

Though a Mental Health Act has been approved this year, it will take some time for those with mental illness to receive proper care, especially for those in the lower class, where the subject is still often considered taboo. Another problem is that our local facilities lack proper funding. With all of these in mind, it’s importan t to know how to take care of yourself and the people around you. Twitter user @apaagbayani wrote up a thread based on his own personal experiences that may help anyone suffering from mental illness.

The paddle: a thread on the realities of hazing

When Horacio Castillo III was found dead due allegedly to hazing rites conducted by members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, people took to social media to voice out their grievances — calls for justice, stricter anti-hazing laws, and the end of hazing practices in fraternities altogether. User @rigovillacorte took to Twitter to paint a harrowing picture of the various forms  of hazing that happens in fraternities around the country. The thread is vivid and difficult to read, but an important addition to the conversation on a ritual that has already cost countless lives.

A predatory artist exposed

One of the, if not the biggest cultural moments of 2017, is the amalgam of stories of sexism and sexual violence perpetrated by big names in Hollywood. It sparked a social movement where women shared stories tagged as #MeToo stories, signifying that almost every woman has or knows someone who has experienced something similar.

In November, Twitter user @jughnn shared her experiences online with digital artist Justin Remalante (@jstn9somethin9). Remalante is known to commission artworks with his distinct style, which had gaine d him a following in the past year. The thread and the ensuing replies details instances of the artist sending sexually explicit messages to young and underage girls. In the aftermath of the backlash, Remalante has since issued an apology for his behavior. The thread opened up discussions about violations of trust, consent, and harassment online.

Misogyny and sexism in the local independent music scene

Our local independent music scene was not spared as Twitter user and frequent gig-goer @_tapsilog released a thread exposing countless local indie musicians for committing various acts of disrespect against women. Soon after, as many other users came forward with their own experiences, bands were kicked out of events and musicians issued public apologies and vows to do better. The moment also sparked threads and conversations online about consent and misogyny.

Past iconic films released at the Metro Manila Film Festival

Come December, discussions and debates regarding the Metro Manila Film Festival crop up online. It seems like the same thing each year — many people wonder why the MMFF continues to show sequel upon sequel of tired franchises; films with the same rehashed stories, content, and stars; and films that seem to assume that mainstream audiences can only accept and understand simplistic plots.

This year, user @staennis wanted to remind audiences that the MMFF used to produce mainstream films that didn’t sacrifice substance, with a thread citing films that have gone on to reach legendary status in local cinema, and that have been released during the film festival. “Markova: Comfort Gay” starring Dolphy, Lino Brocka’s “Insiang,” and “Dekada ‘70,” and “Himala” are just some of the films mentioned in the list. The thread serves as a reminder of what the MMFF was really supposed to be about.