Blue Peter host Helen Skelton has quit twitter this week after what we assume is negative reaction to her part of the BBC Olympics coverage. The 29 year-old has been out and about in the Olympic Park doing vox-pop type segments that have to be honest not been great. Having done vox-pops I know how evil they are and whether it was her or just the vox-pop concept that I dislike – these pieces aren’t working.
Now we don’t know exactly what sparked her to leave the microblogging site. Whether she got some personal hate or just received criticism for her part of the coverage. She signed off just saying, “Turns out I don’t have very thick skin after all so I am closing my twitter account. Enjoy the games. Signing off, skelts x” which doesn’t really answer that question.
There is a distinct difference between legitimate criticism and personal insults. We don’t know the situation here. The abuse Tom Daley received was personal and vile and that just isn’t on. In this case though we are unclear of what sparked her decision to move on from twitter.
For example some might think that my first paragraph in this blog was unfair. Is it unfair to say that I don’t think someone is doing a very good job on TV? I have had people tell me that they don’t like my blog or my radio shows. Is that unfair or is that just personal opinion? Surely we are all still allowed opinions are we not?
Graham Linehan weighed in on the issue tweeting, “Another one down. This is why we can’t have nice things.” However he has said this not knowing exactly what spurred the TV presenter to leave twitter. Is twitter now a place where no negativity is allowed? If Nigel Farage tweeted that UKIP were the third party of British politics even though they don’t have an MP are we not allowed to ridicule him?
We don’t know the full story behind this. Miss Skelton has chosen not to divulge that information and that is her right. If she got personal abuse then no shock that she quit twitter. If she just got criticism then it is just one of those things and it is indeed her right to close twitter. If you have a thin skin and are on TV then twitter probably isn’t the place for you. Maybe one day we’ll find out.
Twitter can still have criticism but personal abuse is a different kettle of fish entirely. If we can’t criticise people then what is twitter going to do the next time Mark Lawrenson is heard doing a football commentary? Rightly or wrongly if you have a job in the public eye then you’ll get criticism. I remember once blogging about the Channel 4 athletics coverage and their lead commentator John Rawling read it and wasn’t happy. Now we all know Ortis stunk up the joint as lead presenter and was replaced after just a few days therefore vindicating my initial reaction to the announcement. Was that fair? Was that just?
Criticism is what it is and if you are involved in the entertainment industry that is part of the job description I’m afraid. It has always been the case it is just in this era people can read the criticism much easier than people discussing it down the pub. Personal abuse is not fair or just but I don’t see the problem with having an opinion or passing on comment. I don’t think you should ever message someone on twitter saying they weren’t very good or anything but if I tweeted for example – not to her but just a general tweet, “Really not loving these Helen Skelton look-ins on the Olympic Park.” then is that fair or foul?
You tell me…
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