It's not you twitter, it's me. Me, ME. ALL ME! Noooooo, that’s a bullshit. It is you, it's all you TWITTER! Damn you! DAMN YOU TO HELL, TWITTER! And just to clarify, I am ranting about the platform of twitter not the people on it. Not the fabulous peeps, mes amis.
Social media is both a curse and a wonderful blessing for sex workers and for photographic artists trying to garner support for visual activism, for anyone who must spend a significant portion of their lives on line to generate an income or support for a cause. Online activism on both sides of the sex work debate, can be brutal and time consuming. I have engaged and meet with some truly fabulous sex workers, clients and fellow activists, academics and sex work friendly journalists via the twitter and look forward to meeting many people in 2018 who I crossed tweeter feeds with some point in the last few years
Whoretography began because twitter has an amazing ability to network the global, highly marginalised sex work community in one fabulous hot spot (I am amazed clients have found it to be honest, nudge nudge wink wink). It was super important to me, when Whoretography began to be transparent as possible about my sex work back ground, I wanted contributors (namely sex workers) to know about my lived experience as a photographer and sex worker. However, having said that …
There is a lot about twitter that unnerves me, and I need to address these issues and change my practices, hopefully for the better.
For one, I am spending way too much time on it and I am not sure what it really brings to the project now and will re asses in the future. I have a clear plan of where Whoretography is heading, and there are some new and exciting changes coming in and whilst I adore that support I get on twitter, to move Whoretography to the next phase, I need funding and I need to market it outside of the sex worker community. To do this I need to spend less time on twitter. To give you an example, I have two conferences 4 weeks apart on opposite ends of the globe to speak at and manage, this takes a lot of my time. I also will be doing book fairs and a lot of off line promotion. More importantly though, I have a life outside of sex work and of this project. I have friends and a family to pay attention to and 2018 is an epic year for me, not only will I be trying for another baby I will be starting a PhD, and something has to give and it has to be twitter I am afraid to say.
Secondly, although Twitter has been an amazing axis that Whoretography has spun about, there are however a lot of lurkers on twitter who are more than happy to be entertained for free but not step up when it counts. Robbie Williams may be in the habit of saying let me entertain you, but I am not. This is not to say I am not 100% grateful for those who buy and financially support the project in other ways and retweet me when I tweet something that is vaguely interesting. I adore talking about photography and happy to share my knowledge with the peeps of twitter however, I have decided now, it’s in my own best interest to do that from my commercial photography non sex work research twitter account. I accept full responsibility for what I am about to say, and it’s entirely my doing but clients have blurred the boundary of my sex work persona and the Whoretography twitter account, it was a massive mistake on my part to link Claire Keeler to Whoretography and whilst it gives a certain authenticity to the project the flip side of that is that it attracts the men who flock to twitter to engage with sex workers to alleviate the boredom of the daily grind or for whatever reason. It’s also my fault because it’s all I talk about in bookings. Whoretography this, Whoretography that. Someone just said to me that twitter is collapsing down all our boundaries and I guess I want to limit the access. I need to re establish boundaries and separate my sex work life from the project, so not only will I be hopping off the twitter for Whoretography, I have also done so for Claire Keeler and I know this is terrible timing giving the demise of my namesake but I will be killing off the Keeler for new clients and will only be seeing regular clients.
Thirdly, being a sex worker online is hard work, you are constantly under the voyeuristic gaze of people who now have unlimited access to sex workers thanks to the social media devil that is twitter. Twitter attracts a lot of unhealthy interest from all walks of life and a lot of hate, I guess having to justify my existence has finally done my head in and I really do not have the time or inclination to go into twitter battles when there are other more helpful ways I can fight for the cause. My work is all about shattering the gaze on the lives and bodies of sex workers, being on twitter does not really help me to do that.
And finally, this may be somewhat controversial to say but if you have been paying attention, there have been many suicides in the sex worker community in the last 2 years, one of them has had a profound effect on me. It saddens me to see the twitter descend into a slinging match of who is grieving more, who was to blame, who was the better friend and who can use someone’s untimely demise to garner interest for themselves or for whatever political ideology they prescribed to. For my own mental health and wellbeing, it’s best to step away from this. I come from a working background managing offender suicides and deaths, I used to write daily reports for the justice minister about offenders (every single day for 2 years) who had killed themselves, I could leave it behind at the office at the end of the day, you can’t do that with twitter. I found myself muting the name of a sex worker who recently killed herself, and that made me kind of sad that to enjoy twitter I need to mask out the ugliness and I do not wish to do that anymore.
So fine people of the internet, these are my reasons, and to be honest there may be a few more. If it sounds to raw and angry then perhaps it’s because, I do indeed need a break from twitter.