Tuesday, 9 August 2011

THE TWITTER POLICE?

Now, as we all know, there are many things that irritate me. People who spit. People who stop randomly in the middle of the street so you bump into them. Snow. Hangovers. You get the drift.

Today Twitter was annoying me.

Well, to be honest, it's been annoying me for a while, ever since that bloody big debate a few weeks back over whether or not the massacre in Norway or the death of Amy Winehouse was more important. People judging other people for mourning Amy's passing when so many people had also died needlessly elsewhere. Some Amy fans insisting that actually Amy's death WAS more important. The whole issue becoming something you didn't particularly want to comment on either way in case a Twitter-lynch-mob came after you.

Today's issue was the rioting in London.

No, that's not true. It wasn't the riot talk. Twitter is obviously an important form of communication these days, particularly when it comes to news, and the information coming in from different sources regarding the rioting was as fascinating as it was scary. This is information we would have only gotten from the news on the TV ten or so years ago. Now you have normal people on the scene and roundabout spreading the word via the internet.

So, no, it wasn't the riot talk. It was more the fact that some people seemed to think that the rioting was all we were allowed to talk about today. Apparently, in their view, any other subject was off-limits. I know one fellow blogger who someone had a go at for tweeting something unrelated to the riot. The blogger in question, as she later stated on Twitter in her defence, had a relative in the vicinity of the rioting, so she wasn't trying to belittle any of the tragedy and terror going down in London.

When I heard about this, I instantly felt guilty myself. Like "oh shit, I posted a tweet about how my second attempt at pole dancing is not going to go well, are people judging me?"

And then I thought . . . I don't have anything to contribute to the rioting talk, that's why I'm not posting about it. I'm not in the vicinity, I'm not a witness, I only had the chance to watch the news for ten minutes or so this morning. Anything I DO have to say about the riots is something that would be way too long to put in a tweet. I discussed it with people in my work instead. I could write about it now, but once again, I'm not very knowledgable on the whole thing. It disturbs me so much that so many kids are involved in the mindless looting and violence and don't seem to even care how bad it is. It disturbs me that it seems to be some sort of mob mentality - that people don't even know why they're even doing it anymore, they're just doing it because everyone else is. It disturbs me that people all over the UK are trying to follow in the footsteps of London and destroy their own towns and cities. Most of all, it strikes me as horrific that, when so many people outside the UK hate us, we are now turning against our own country.

Okay, clearly I had more to say on it than I thought. But I feel more able to communicate it here, in a diatribe of the length i choose, than I would have been able to word it on Twitter.

Anyway, my point is that just because the majority of people I was following were discussing the rioting, that did not mean that people couldn't discuss other things if they so chose to do. Obviously in the Uk we are all affected by this to some extent, some more than others of course. But outside of the UK, perhaps other people may want to give it a passing mention, or pretend it's not happening. Or, maybe as a whole, people might want to try and cheer each other up with a joke or a funny anecdote.

It just seems so easy for people to jump down other people's throats on Twitter, to take something they said and twist it, or just to comment nastily because they don't agree on someone's opinion. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and free speech is a must, I do realise that. But here's my ten pence worth on the aforementioned altercation with the fellow blogger and the person who judged her for not making her twitter stream exclusively about the rioting . . .

Considering we are all sitting here, looking at the devastation caused by mindless hate and pointless vandalism and violence, should we really be provoking fights with one another? Shouldn't this whole thing be uniting us, not driving us apart?

People should be able to post what they want on twitter. Now, don't get me wrong here, if they post something despicable and get abuse for it, then fair enough, they're pretty much fair game. But no one else should think they have a right to TELL us what we can post. That's why Twitter is addictive as it is, because we're all using it for our own reasons, and we're all posting, as individuals, exactly what we wish to post.

Isn't that the beauty of it?



What do you think?

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Paula. The woman deleted her tweets to me, so she realised she was in the wrong - but didn't apologise.
    Twitter should be a place of comfort, especially in times like this. XX

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  2. I only use Twitter for things that does not matter. Because that's the way I feel it should be, for me. I have willing news castors all over my twitter but I don't feel that I have to join them. Especially not since I have the other half of my twitter-stream that only writes about getting laid or jokes about getting laid. It works well for me.

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  3. i feel like i am late to the party. i JUST joined twitter last week. i wanted to follow some fellow bloggers. i only have 3 followers to my blog and 1 on twitter so sometimes i feel like i am just talking to myself.

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  4. Pardon my French, P, but fuck those self righteous asses who think the world revolves around what THEY'RE interested in. You can talk about whatever you want. Who gives a crap what some idiot's views on the riots are, their views are important only to them as yours are to you. I'd rather read about your pole dancing thing anyway. :)

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  5. Fantastic post. So well expressed. I think it's stupid when people compare one tragedy to another. I think it's silly to expect that we should all only tweet about one topic - that anything else is inappropriate. People from all over the world are learning about each other (and about big events/tragedies) on Twitter. Like you say, we should be united and I think those who start Twitter fights are the ones who have lost perspective, not the tweeters who told us what they had for breakfast!!

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  6. Twitter is freedom of speech. Say what you want! I got sick of Twitter about a year ago. It was just such an upkeep. I couldn't keep up w/ all the posts and also, my life just ain't that interesting. Who really wants to hear that I'm doing my laundry now but can't wait to eat that leftover slice of pizza? :)

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  7. I've never used twitter, but I had no idea the culture was so... intense. And who hates the UK? I love the UK! It's not Americans, I can tell you that.

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