Everyone enjoys a bit of a moan, and twitter allows angry people around the world to instantly do this.
But is the online flash-mob threatening free speech?
Nick Cohen’s article about the latest twitter-saga in the Observer today is an example of twitter-rage gone mad. This relates to Andrew Neil’s introduction of the BBC’s This Week and is a classic example of the fear major industries have of the twitter-mob.
The show began with Neil mocking Gordon Brown for not answering a question on his favourite biscuit. He then turned to his guests Diane Abbot, who is black, and Michael Portillo, who is white, and said: “And here we have our very own chocolate HobNob and custard cream of late-night telly.”
A tiny number of viewers complained because of the supposed racist undertones of the comment in an example of people who a) have too much time on their hands and b) love complaining.
The power of the hob-nob-mob was proved as the BBC cowered and removed the show from Iplayer. After Brand/Ross-gate last year, the BBC know only too well the potential online lashing that could arise from a possibly racist slur.
If media companies are too scared to publish/print, especially the BBC which is known for its impartiality and independence, because of the pick-axe wielding online mob – is free speech under threat?
The majority of twitter members sign up, follow a few celebrities and then do nothing on there. I don’t blame them. It’s confusing, annoying, and full of a lot of people who think we want to hear about their breakfast choices. However this online community are also raising their pitch forks and exposing major corruption like Trafigura‘s attempt to gag the Guardian.
I have known for years that the Daily Mail hired homophobes as columnists – no, really, I have – but others were shocked beyond measure by the discovery that Jan Moir could use the death of Stephen Gately as a reason to sneer at gay marriages.
Twitterers seemed ready to fire bomb her house the day this was published and if the Brand/Ross scandal happened today it wouldn’t take long for the online community to start complaining about it.
In the past few months I have become a fully fledged twitter fan. Twitter is only as good as the people you follow and I’ve branched out from my favourite celebs and am now connecting with bloggers and other onliners across the globe.
Twitscoop is my new favourite obsession. A running stream of the most talked about topics on Twitter – it is a direct link to the latest and most important stories people are talking about right now. This is a really important and useful tool for journalists today. It enables us to find out exactly what is happening, when it happens and we can contact eye-witnesses at the scene instantly.
Twitterfall is also a useful tool. Type in any trending word and it will present a falling sprawl of comments on the subject.
With the recently published Twitterature (the re-working of great literature in Twitter form) – where will it stop?
Twit-fan or Twit-phobe, you can’t avoid it. With 18 million members, the future is here (in 140 characters).
It is not just self-important weirdos in their bedrooms – Twitter is instant news and never sleeps. That bird looks innocent but no one is safe from its beady all watching eyes, be careful what you say or prepare for a barrage of protesting tweets coming your way….