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Tag: social media

The problem of dealing with online abuse…the twitter ‘report abuse’ idea.

I agree with Owen Jones. It might not be as catchy as I agree with Nick but in the context of this blog is it far more applicable. Do I agree with everything he has to say? No, no I don’t. No-one agrees with everything another person has to say, so what exactly am I agreeing with here? Well Owen’s piece in the Independent’s Voices section entitled Trolls, Caroline Criado-Perez, and how to tackle the dark side of Twitter.

He makes some extremely salient points but the one I want to talk about is the difference between trolling and disagreement, ‘It’s also important to make a distinction between passionate disagreement and trolling,’ he says. This is the reason why I think the twitter report abuse button/idea is more than a problematic one. I have had conversations with people where they think I am being abusive whereas I would just say I was disagreeing with their Point of View. I know of many people who see disagreements as abuse. If you don’t think the same as them then you must be being abusive. That is how a not insignificant number of people think.

So how do we deal with genuine abuse of the sort Caroline Criado-Perez has receive in recent days following her appearance on television over having a woman appear on a banknote? That is the old $64,000 question. Firstly of course we have the law, and people who are threatening someone whether it be over twitter or face to face are indeed breaking the law and should face the consequences of their actions. I think everyone knows that abuse is abuse whether it is anonymous on the internet or publicly in the street. Ignorance is not any sort of defence.

Secondly though it is education. Now this situation has caused the old ‘misogyny’ word to appear left, right and centre. I won’t be tackling this one because internet abuse can be sent to men too, by men and then misogyny obviously doesn’t play in as a factor. It isn’t funny or cool to abuse anyone and it is never harmless. The best way to tackle this type of behaviour is to get people to see it from the victims PoV. Would they be so blaze if this abuse was being sent to them, or their parents or their little brothers or sisters? I suspect they wouldn’t. This is an issue society has failed to tackle and the whole ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’ thing is kinda old-fashioned to some people and that makes me sad.

Thirdly the actual practicalities behind the proposed report abuse button on twitter. Who is going to pay for the extra staff who are going to monitor all the reports of abuse? Who gets the final say on what is abuse or isn’t? Tweeting someone that you are going to rape them is a pretty slam dunk case and should be passed on to local law enforcement authorities. What about a sinister tweet saying they shouldn’t go down dark alleys late at night? Threatening but do these get passed on as well? How about when someone reports abuse when there was no abuse? Do those people get their accounts suspended for wasting twitter’s time? Do twitter pass on every abuse report and then people who claimed abuse get arrested for wasting police time?

As with many of these things the practicalities of what seem like a good idea need to be thought through carefully. As the Yorkshire Gob puts it (her words – not mine) ‘A report abuse button which is easy to click on is easy to click on for EVERYBODY, not just those who are genuinely being abused. So the EDL will probably click on it for the English Disco Lovers. And homophobes will click on it on the accounts of gay people. And TERFs will click on it on the accounts of transfolk.‘ and she is right. The report abuse button would be open to abuse itself. How easy would it be to go to all the people’s tweeter feeds you don’t like and click on a button to report them and hopefully get their account suspended for a bit just to piss them off? You can set up a fake tweeter account in an instant so it wouldn’t even put your proper account at risk.

Sometimes good ideas just don’t work in the real world (or in this case the online world). This lady received some vile abuse and one person has already been arrested this morning and hopefully more will follow. This type of abuse is not just morally wrong but is legally wrong too and the people who deal out sickening abuse should face the consequences. However just throwing up a ‘report abuse’ button might create far more problems than it solves and the real abuse may well just get swallowed up in all the noise as people use this tool to troll even more.

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Nadine Dorries blocks Lib Dems on twitter for being ‘Lib Dem’

Ah. Who doesn’t love a good Nadine Dorries story? It has been a while since her name has even passed into my consciousness. No doubt she has been extremely busy doing great things and saving the world. Or something. Anyway tonight there seemed to be a bit of a stir on my Twitter Timeline about her and the fact she was blocking Lib Dems from communicating with her via the medium on account that they were ‘Lib Dem.’

Please see the screenshot below.

Nadine Dorries Lib Dem Twitter
Nadine Dorries Twitter – 22/04/2013

Now blocking someone from communicating with you based solely on their political persuasion is fair enough if you are a muppet but if you are an MP then you kinda can’t do that – certainly if the person who instigated the conversation was in fact a constituent (which seemingly they are – or at least were). So yeah blocking people for that reason seems pretty petty and pathetic but it is no surprise.

My biggest issue with this whole thing is her saying that she has been ‘totally savaged’ – yeah Liberal Youth on twitter are the vicious ones. The fact she was getting slaughtered in the national media for her decision to swan off to the jungle and her other shall we call them eccentricities? Yeah it is those nasty Liberal Youthers who are the savages. If Nadine actually read everything about her on twitter she would know that the twitterati basically think as much of her as I do of mushrooms*.

I’m pretty sure Nadine has a brain inside of her head and she probably knows what a savaging was and a few people saying she hadn’t visited a school isn’t a savaging. Blocking people on twitter is all well and good if they are being abusive but for reasons such as this and then bleating that Liberal Youth are savaging her is about as pathetic as my attempts to get out of going to church when I was 11.

Ah well. We all love a good Nadine Dorries story don’t we…?

*Mushrooms are the most disgusting thing on the planet. They grow them ugly to warn everyone off the and they smell worse than a fried egg and yet people happily eat them. Are you mad people of the world. Are you mad? Can you honestly say you look at a mushroom growing in a field and think ‘I think I’ll put that in my mouth’ No. No you wouldn’t and yet people do…*shakes head in despair*

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Paris Brown. A truly sad tale. Not her twitter ‘rants’ but the Daily Mail’s disgusting attacks.

Paris Brown is a 17 year-old girl. She’s no angel but name me a 17 year-old girl (or boy) who is. She had written some tweets in her time that possibly looking back on she regrets. However I wonder how I’d have been at that age with the ability to leave my thoughts on a website for everyone to easily see. Luckily in a way Twitter, Facebook and social media didn’t really take off until I was well into my 20s and I was old enough (and wise enough) to always think twice before posting anything. I think to myself ‘what would I think if my Mum read this?’ and if I feel as though she’d be disappointed in me then I know it isn’t something I should be writing about publicly. Same goes for this blog.

So this girl wrote something about hash brownies. Big whoop. She says it was a line from Scooby Doo which is actually rather plausible as we all know Shaggy was a stoner. However even if it wasn’t who really gives a rat’s? She wrote about coming home from a party alone and not having anyone to sleep with/shag. Big whoop. A significant number of young people are very sexually active. This wouldn’t mean she wasn’t equipped to do the job she was hired for just because she wishes she had gotten lucky one night. Do the Daily Mail really think their readership believe young people shouldn’t be out enjoying themselves sexually? What horse expletive.

She tweeted about getting drunk. Wow! Stop the freakin’ Presses folks. Young person likes getting ratted and on occasion when they get drunk acts like a twat. Big fucking whoop. Not all young people are as dull and boring as me. I didn’t drink until I was 18 and haven’t drunk since I was 26. In my whole life I can only recall being drunk on three occasions. I am not the norm. However I certainly don’t think a young person drinking is exactly a big issue when it comes to whether she is a good person to do the job for which she was hired. In fact I think the fact she is just like a regular teenager means she is far more of an ideal candidate for this role than I would have been at the same age because she deals with a lot of the issues that I would have had no idea about. Therefore being into alcohol is certainly (in my eyes) an advantage in this instance and most certainly not a negative in any way shape or form.

Now we move on to the tweets she probably regrets. Saying she was glad someone got ‘thumped’ for giving someone else a black eye. However who amongst us having deep down smiled wen someone got their comeuppance? Yeah I thought so. Calling homosexuals fags is probably her worst ‘crime’ but calling immigrants ‘illegals’ and travellers ‘pikeys’ may not be right but it isn’t unusual for young people to talk like that. Do the Daily Mail want to name and shame every young person who uses that language on twitter or does the fact she was appointed into a relatively unknown role give them good cause to tear her down?

The biggest issue for me was the fact the job was set up in the first place. Not really the job per se but the salary and the title. It opened up this poor girl to a political environment and media scrutiny which she didn’t need nor warrant. How about calling it a ‘Youth Liaison Officer’ or something of that ilk? I would bet a fair few quid that if she was appointed as that then this fuss wouldn’t have happened. This should have been some PR and was actually not a terrible idea. Have someone the Police & Crime Commissioner can liaise with about issues facing young people. The youth of today (and my youth, and your youth and everybody’s youth) always complain that the police don’t understand them or listen to them so this should have been a good idea.

Instead the fact she was called the Youth PCC and they made it so public opened up this 17 year-old to unjust and unfair criticism. The Daily Mail should be ashamed of its behaviour but we all know that they won’t be. They essentially hounded a girl from her job (before she’d even taken it up) because they decided she wasn’t the right person based solely on her tweets. They didn’t interview the young lady. They didn’t get to know her and see what she could bring to the position. They just saw one part of her and decided that was enough. Depressingly that sums up the media – and certainly sums up the Daily Mail.

I sure hope she bounces back from this and it will just be a footnote in her life/career. Her tweets were not unlike many others and just because she had a low paying job that was partly funded by the tax payer shouldn’t give the Daily Mail the right to tear her apart. If it does then there are a lot of council workers and civil servants across the country who should be closing down their twitter accounts or making sure they know who can read them and the same goes for Facebook. A role at the tax payers expense does not equate to the right to just crush someone for acting just like anyone else her age.

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Giving up Twitter for lent. How does social media influence our lives?

No not me (although I doubt I’d be missed) but the fabulous Louise Shaw did such a thing and she had written her thought up on her blog over here. It is a rather interesting look into the effect that social media has on our lives in this modern day and age.

As someone who uses social media to a significant extent (but not to a crazy level of having many prolonged conversations through it) I was intrigued to see how she coped and found it. She still used Facebook and Google+ but just cut out Twitter. She makes the clear point that it is easier to stop following someone on Twitter than it is to unfriend someone on Facebook. Even though a lot of us have the same people on both Facebook is still seen by many to be more inclusive of people you actually know/interact with more frequently. For example I follow a large amount of politicos on Twitter but very few of them have I become ‘friends’ with on Facebook. It is more socially acceptable to stop following someone on Twitter than it is to unfriend some on Facebook. I’m sure of that.

One thing I was surprised with was when she said she felt a bit less stressed being away from Twitter. I have never felt stress on Twitter (nor any social media really) as is someone is having a go at you or at your opinions they are just someone behind a computer screen or tapping away at their tablet or mobile phone. Not even sure if I’m ever had an argument with someone over Twitter (although I remember one person who was giving me constant personal attacks and subsequently wrote a blog post about what a bastard I was) and I decided ‘sod this’ and gave her a 4,000 odd word blog reply which surprised said person.

I in fact think the opposite. I use Twitter for several reasons but one of them is to relax. I follow something like 750 accounts and they are a mixture of politicos, sports journalists, people I know and randoms. I even purposely follow (and still follow) several accounts that I always find amusing. Several of these are politicos that are so blinkered for one side and that every other side is wrong it amuses me greatly. One person I follow seems to get drunk every evening and every evening tweets great revelations about her life and what she needs to do to make it better and yet every night she tweets the same and never does anything about it. Oh how I internally laugh. Not laughing at her sentiments but about the repetitiveness of them.

So social media relaxes me. However the main thing it does is inform me. Twitter is rightly or wrongly the best source for breaking news that we have these days. I read most of the newspaper websites daily but news breaks first on Twitter. If I walked away from Twitter that would be the biggest thing that I missed. The feeling of not knowing significant events until later. Whilst it might not be significantly later – it is still later.

The first Louise makes is about people missing her. Now that is an interesting one. I have gone weeks without making any updates to Facebook and nobody noticed (not on purpose, I just had nothing to say) and have dipped in and out of Twitter over the years. The big question a lot of us have to answer is how big a part Twitter plays in our social life. I read more than interact and in general only ever interact when I think I have something significant to say. Considering I have been around the internet and chat rooms for half my life now and in the advent of broadband and mobile phone technology I now know more people than ever before through social media and I actually have actual conversations with less people than I did when I was a teenager and at university.

Last year I met not one person that I had first communicated with via Twitter. Actually thinking about it I do not think I have ever met with someone who I had first communicated with through Twitter (taking Lib Dem conferences out of this scenario). Back in the day I met people from chat rooms all the time and felt stronger friendships with those people. Some of them I still have a friendship with today. Those people I talked with for hours whereas now with twitter there are far more people I interact with but how many of them do I have a proper conversation with? Far fewer. Ask me a question about what most people I interact do for a living or who they live with or if they are in a relationship and the majority of the time I wouldn’t be able to answer. Ask me those same questions about people I communicated with on the internet pre-social media and I’d be able to answer those questions far more.

I’m trying to work out which I prefer. Having a small group of people I actually spoke with properly and met up with a lot or having a larger group of people of whom we both just dip in and out of each others lives when we see each other tweeting something that we find interesting. I can see the pro’s and con’s for both sides. It is an interesting one. On Twitter I think it is harder to progress an acquaintanceship to a friendship (or anything else for that matter) because you never really converse. You just interact.

Another thing she says is she found a lot more done – and I think that is a very fair point. I can be busy working and I flick up TweetDeck and scroll through and then my mind drifts. Same with Facebook and I’m not someone who gets a lot of tweets or Facebook messages and if I can lose hours a week to social media then I worry about those who are actually social media popular!

If I wasn’t on social media would I miss it? Sure I would. However I don’t feel like I’d come out in hives. It is a good way to unwind. I found Louise’s experiment very interesting and her conclusions seem to broadly agree with how I thought it’d go. Well worth a read I say and one last thing before I bring this ramble to a close…

*drum roll*

Congratulations to the said person behind this – Louise Shaw – as she is now on the approved list to become a Lib Dem PPC. I look forward to seeing her applying for either Southend West or Rochford & Southend East in the future. Although if she does apply for either of those it would mean having to deal with me so she might do better going elsewhere…but in all seriousness it is great to see another intelligent and passionate young person on the approved list.

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The etiquette of Facebook (and to a lesser extend twitter)

A couple of days ago I saw some guy complaining on a friend of mine’s latest Facebook status. He was moaning that she updated too much and that he ‘got the message’ that she was at university and happy with her man. It riled me up. I even went as far as to actually say my piece on the status:

If you don’t want to read someone’s statuses then there is an easy way to stop it. I do get annoyed when people complain about ‘how much someone else updates their Facebook/Twitter etc…’ or complains about what they say. No-one is forcing anyone else to read anyone else’s social media updates. And with that I’ll disappear back into the ether.

Yeah. The thing is our presence on social media isn’t there (in my opinion) to keep all our friends and anyone else who might be reading entertained. It is just another outlet for us to express our thoughts and emotions. I remember once someone wrote about me that she found my journal postings boring and therefore decided that she didn’t want to know me any more unless I became more interesting. That really pissed me off as it was my journal – my diary of my life and who was she to tell me what subjects I should write about to keep her entertained?

I don’t think it’ll come as any surprise that we haven’t spoken since.

If someone came on to your blog and said that they found it boring it would be a bit of a kick in the teeth but it was also be disrespectful. No-one forces anyone to be friends with anyone else on social media and if you don’t like what people you are friends with or who you follow on twitter then defriend them or stop following them. It’s simple. Heck on Facebook you can even mute their updates so they don’t show up in your feed. It is really quite simple to avoid other people on the internet. In fact it is one of the easiest things to do in the world – avoid someone on the internet.

So I implore you – if you get annoyed at the length or the number or the style of someone’s Facebook posts then instead of calling them out on it – just quietly mute them if you still want to be friends with them or you are nosy enough that you want to still be able to find out what they are up to with one click. If someone tweets too much then stop following them.

People (in general) don’t perform on social media at the behest of others. My twitter feed is used more than Facebook as I use it to throw out my thoughts as and when they pop into my head. It is more of a debate setting than Facebook. I use Facebook in general to keep friends more up to date about what is going on in my life. There is nothing that I’d say on twitter than I wouldn’t say on Facebook but the same can’t be said the other way round. That is just my own personal preference but we all use social media in different ways. One thing though is our social media is not there for the sake of others. It just isn’t. It is all of our little homes on the interweb and if people don’t like it then maybe they shouldn’t come into our homes…

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Will Lord McAlpine sue Sally Bercow and others who named him? If he does it might teach them a lesson

I was so frustrated last week. No not just the fact my first date of the year had been a failure but in the Lord McAlpine story and also the ambushing of the Prime Minister by Phillip Schofield. Now it has been a fair few years since I sat my Journalism Law exam but I remember one or two things and trusty McNae’s isn’t too far away. Namely what I remember is naming someone potentially involved in a criminal investigation when in fact they were not is not really a good thing. In fact it is a really bad thing. Throwing names out there that many people have on the social networks linking them to the paedophile ring in the government is also a really bad thing.

People have the misplaced trust that if 1000s of people name and shame the culprits then the law is on their side. Well that isn’t exactly true. In fact it couldn’t be more wrong. Strength in numbers is a good thing but when you are defaming someone all it means if they have yet another individual they could sue if they wanted to.

The old adage of ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ has been thrown at me regarding this. ‘Look if it wasn’t true then why are so many people talking about it?’ people exclaim. Well another great adage is that in this modern day era a lie is halfway around the world before the truth ever comes out. People believe what they are told by anonymous sources on the internet. If someone sets up a fake ITK account on twitter then people will retweet it and soon the lie becomes so widespread that people believe that it is the truth.

Someone posted the names of several high profile politicians on a group I am a member of saying that these were all the names linked to the paedophile ring according to the internet. It was basically a who’s who of politics over the past three decades. He said that all these people should face a criminal court and should step down as MPs or Lords until the cases were over. I pipped up and said that at this current juncture only one accusation had been made against a politician but that didn’t matter to this person (and several others) as the internet had spoken and the internet is the new judicial system.

What depressed me most though wasn’t the fact that he had said such a stupid thing (and others agreed) but more that his only defence was ‘Hillsborough’ and because there was a cover up in this instance that automatically meant there was a cover up here and that everyone named on the internet had to answer the accusations. I tried to point out that anyone on the internet can accuse another person. If he had been accused by anonymous sources on the internet then what would he do? Would he take it lying down or would he sue the pants off of anyone who spread the lie knowing it wasn’t true? No doubt he’d do the latter.

We live in a dangerous society where lies can be spread quicker than ever before and the lie will always be first and therefore will always live on even after the truth comes out in the minds of some people. Even though the accuser has now backed down in his claims against Lord McAlpine saying that the police told him that the person he identified was Lord McAlpine when it plainly wasn’t – some people will still believe that Lord McAlpine is guilty and there is nothing he can do about it. He cannot change those minds. All he can do is seek restitution against those who spread the lies about him.

There are some (semi) famous people who were dumb enough to name Lord McAlpine including Sally Bercow – who has never come across as the sharpest tool in the box as it were. She has since apologised and says she was irresponsible and mischievousness but does not believe that she did anything libellous. It is an interesting one because she didn’t overtly say ‘Look Lord McAlpine is a paedo’ but she certainly implied – heavily implied that he was the name at the centre of the investigation – which he was. As we now know though all the accusations were false and had she (and others) not named or heavily hinted at his involvement then he would not have been defamed. It would certainly be a landmark case should he sue her and would be extremely interesting to see how it played out as I genuinely don’t know but we need to find out whether just implying guilt on social media is defamatory or not. My guess is that it very well might be…

The thing is though Lord McAlpine was at least linked to the investigation (albeit it turns out falsely) but other names are out there on the internet who are not linked in any way, shape or form at the moment to any investigation around this case. These people have seen people openly tweet about them and even twitter itself may find itself in hot bother with one very senior Conservative MP because when you search for ‘tory paedophile’ or any words to that effect his name came up as one of the ‘suggested searches.’

The sad thing about all this is the investigation is now taking the back seat. Children were abused but that is now not the story. The story is about how the BBC acted and whether Lord McAlpine (and others) should sue – and who they should sue if so. They are legitimate stories because of how things have panned out but it is overshadowing what should be the real story. Hopefully the police can continue their investigation and get to the bottom of what went on but whilst that happens the BBC and potential civil cases will lead the way.

I hope people who were defamed sue – and even if they sue and give all the compensation they get to child abuse charities then some good will have come off it. I just think people need to understand that there is a law of the land and spreading malicious gossip on the internet is generally not considered to be a good thing. I live my life on the basic principle of treat others how I’d like to be treated. Would I like it if people were accusing me of crimes on the internet without having a smidgen of knowledge then would I like it? No I wouldn’t – and nor would any of the people that were doing such to Lord McAlpine and others. If you wouldn’t like it done to you then don’t do it. A good motto for life not just a good motto for not being an idiot and potentially finding yourself facing civil action.

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Some of the #menagainstrape tweets – an interesting mix I must say

I have already pissed off some people by saying that the #menagainstrape hashtag actually does nothing productive so lets have a look at some of the tweets coming through with the hashtag…

Very good point. Is the default position on rape that all men are pro. Do we actively have to ‘opt-out’ of this position to declare that we actually think it is vile? I need conformation on this…

Another excellent point. Men lie (as do women) to win brownie points.

Sums up my feelings perfectly.

Oh apparently we do have to opt-out of being pro-rape.

Ah someone can see the pointlessness of it. Hurrah!

It should be and it is – except maybe on twitter…

Yep that seems to be the general consensus.

You’d have thought so but apparently not…

Ding, ding, ding…!

It is a fair point related to the previous tweet.

I kinda agree with this one a lot.

Breaking news.

Interesting point but we don’t allow facts in this debate I’m afraid.

A very good point.

Lies. Making a statement on twitter does change the world.

Hooray. Someone thinks it is the default position. I like this person.

It is a given. Please believe me…

In fact some people apparently do assume as such…


Yup. Really…

We’ll end up with two people whom I actually follow and aren’t just randoms from the hashtag feed:

That would be much more valuable and constructive than just tweeting about it.

There are many more but at some point I need to stop. It is a very interesting feed. From what I can gather on the radical feminist side is that tweeting that you are against rape is constructive and actually does something. Also if you don’t explicitly tweet that you are against rape then you are probably a rapist or at least someone who is a rape apologist. The default position is that men in general are very lackadaisical with their viewpoint towards rape.

Happily others (including women) think that the default position is that people are against rape. Some people do need more education on the matter but a hashtag on twitter isn’t going to provide that education.

So it is basically split into two parts. Either men need to show that they are against rape or that men don’t need to show it because they are in fact against rape by default. I don’t know if those in the first group walk the streets and look at every man they see and think ‘rapist’ but if they do then the world must be a very scary place for them.

No doubts this hashtag will continue throughout the afternoon with the same mix of people involved. Those that think that everyone who proclaims they are against rape is a hero and deserves praise with those that don’t potential suspects and on the flip side those who think it does nothing and that men don’t need to publicly state that they are against rape.

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Helen Skelton quits twitter – begs the question ‘what is fair criticism?’

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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When did we turn into a bunch of pathetic whiny babies?

Not about the Lib Dems before anyone jumps in but more Gymnastics. The GB team had a silver medal in the Men’s all around but got bumped down to bronze after the Japanese protested the score of one of their performances. The protest was upheld so the Japanese got what they deserved. However this hasn’t exactly been the way social media has seen the action.

Both my Facebook timeline and my twitter feed has exploded with people wanting to declare war on Japan, boycott sushi, never visit Japan on holiday, calling the Japanese cheats (and much worse) and I am sitting here thinking ‘wtf?’

This is the first summer Olympics of the twitter era where people can put down their initial reactions without actually thinking. The judges looked at the protest and agreed they had marked the Japanese incorrectly. They didn’t just knock them up a digit or two but they went from fourth to second. So clearly a score was very incorrect. The Olympics are all about fairness and as much as it would’ve been great for the British team to get the silver, a bronze is what they deserved and that is what they have got.

What I find truly bizarre is the amount of people who are suddenly experts on gymnastics and gymnastics scoring. It was similar to the afternoon and the Pete Waterfield/Tom Daley diving. Most of us know nothing about these sports apart from the basics. In gymnastics if you nail a dismount then that is good. If you don’t then it isn’t. In synchronised diving going in straight is good and being identical to your fellow diver is also good. Lots of splash and not being identical to your partner is bad.

I know people are frustrated with the Japanese protesting the result but what if the boot had been on the other foot? Imagine the British getting scored incorrectly and not getting a medal. We’d all say that there was a conspiracy and the world hates us.

I know twitter is great and everyone can tweet as they see fit but sometimes people really do tweet without engaging a brain…

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How do you react when someone stops feeling you are worthy of being social media friends?

That moment where you see your Facebook friends has gone down or you notice someone you interacted with has stopped following you on twitter are strange moments. In the main the people that de-friend you or those who stop following you are people you never speak to anyway. They are people you knew from school but haven’t spoken to in ten years or people who followed you because they liked a RT they saw of yours but then noticed they didn’t like your style of tweeting. However when it’s someone you do know and do speak to that decides enough is enough then how are you meant to react?

I remember back in 2009 when I left my employment. One person in the office de-friended me from Facebook in the time I took to leave the office for the final time and stroll the seven minutes home. First point is it is clear we weren’t any sort of friends if she decided that within those seven minutes she needed to cut me out of her life altogether. Secondly how awkward was it when we bumped into each other? I knew how much she didn’t like me and she knew how much she didn’t like me and yet the small talk and uncomfortable moments were there. Thirdly a few months ago she requested to be added to her LinkedIn connections.

So from thinking that I wasn’t even worthy of being Facebook friends with she has a couple of years later decided I might be worth knowing in a professional sense because at some point my expertise might be valuable to her. I sit back and shrug. No skin off my nose either way and the odds of us ever interacting again are minimal at best. However what happens when this happens to people you know you will interact with again?

Being followed by on twitter or being Facebook friends with someone is kind of a strange ‘vote of confidence’ and when it is taken away you start to wonder what is it you did wrong. You start to look at your tweets and try to work out what could have offended someone. You look at your Facebook statuses and do the same. It is always good when you can work out exactly when someone has given you the chop as you can narrow down why. What I can never understand is why you get cut from one but not the other? Not worthy enough to follow on twitter but worthy enough to be Facebook friends with.

I know many believe they are different clientèle and you can easily be worthy enough to know on Facebook but not bother with on twitter. I get that to some degree as obviously I’m not Facebook friends with everyone I follow on twitter but once you follow/friend on both then surely if you cut someone from one then the other would swiftly follow? Seems pretty clear cut to me.

Anyway here’s to more uncomfortable small talk with people in the future. I know that situation will arise again in the near future and I wonder if it is worth just coming out and saying, ‘look I know you don’t like me so why the pretence?’ if there is one thing I loath then it is falseness and that is something in this digital age we will suffer from a lot.

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