I think #MeToo was incredible — and #BlackLivesMatter — all of those movements and hashtags have been the story of the last few years, culturally, and Twitter's finest hour. And the phenomenon of how Donald Trump used Twitter to propel himself to the presidency — and how he's still using it now to set the agenda for a second term — journalistically speaking, it’s extraordinary to watch that, and you have to be on Twitter to witness history in the making, from that point of view.
When I first started out, there was a sort of innocence, a beginner's enthusiasm, and then I went through the whole trolling business, and now that I'm out the other end, I know how to use [Twitter] in a way that I can get the most out of. I don't mind people disagreeing with me, or being quite angry with something I've put out, but I think there's always the decent way of having a disagreement and discussion, and I still think there's people out there who are just on these platforms to hurl abuse, particularly at women and women of colour.
I talk at a lot of schools and always, without fail, get asked — particularly by girls — how do you handle the abuse online? The sad thing about that is that a lot of girls are being put off from professions in the public eye or politics, because they worry that they wouldn't be able to handle the abuse. I [tell them] the truth: The first time it happened to me, it felt so dehumanizing, it was quite a painful experience. And now I don't even think about it, partly because I don't engage, but also because I'm confident in what I do, I'm happy in what I do.
I'm very lucky to have what I have, so it doesn't matter to me if there's someone sitting in their bedroom tapping away just to annoy me. It’s water off a duck's back now, but it shouldn't really have to be that way.
Illustration based on photograph by Rachel Adams.