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?