What #MeToo Tweets Reveal

San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Economics Sepideh Modrek recently published the results of a study she and her research team conducted to analyze more than 12,000 #MeToo tweets posted from October 15 to October 21, 2017. This timeframe, you’ll recall, encompassed the initial tsunami of outcries in response to Alyssa Milano’s now famous tweet that turned Tarana Burke’s important crusade into a social phenomenon.

Ben Renner describes the origin of the study on StudyFinds:

Modrek was watching the events unfold from the comfort of her home. As her Twitter feed was consumed with friends and followers describing their own harrowing experiences, Modrek decided to archive all of the #MeToo tweets. Modrek collected 400 tweets, which would go on to be the basis of her latest research project.

Sharing Painful Details

“I was floored that people were sharing details. They were writing things like, ‘When I was 15, this happened,’” Modrek says in a university release. “I was seeing pretty intimate details being shared in a public forum in a way I’d never thought people would do. I was impressed and captivated.”

“A lot of people spoke up and publicly shared these experiences,” Modrek concludes, “and it completely changed our dialogue. I wanted to capture and honor their courage.”

Modrek hopes her research will encourage victims to speak up, and that it will convey to others how damaging harassment is, even when the victims don’t speak up right away.

I wrote Horseshoes and Hand Grenades for similar reasons. I hope to help victims acknowledge that what happened to them — no matter the “severity” — matters. And I hope to help non-victims understand why some victims never speak up, and why some eventually do.

After all, opening the lines of communication, and reaching a common understanding, is where change starts.

#Metoo #TimesUp #HAHG #AlmostCounts