‘Twitter storms’

Posted on December 22, 2009


I note with amusement the thoughts of Roy Greenslade on ‘twitter storms‘, in which he appears to be, unusually for him, unsure about the impact of something on the world of media. Greenslade hits the nail on the head with one comment, but then appears to contradict himself in the rest of the piece.

“If we subscribe to a belief in freedom of speech, we must not deny it to those whose views we dislike. That is the route to fascism. On the other hand, we have a perfect right to make clear that we do disagree and, at the same time, to alert our friends (and Twitter followers) to the fact.”

I entirely agree. The beauty of something like Twitter is that it allows anybody to express their opinions, and thus allows anybody to comment on or spread these opinions. That people like Jan Moir found themselves on the receiving end of criticism due to the spread of their thoughts on Twitter and elsewhere is surely a good thing. Moir, and others like her, were at no point denied their freedom of speech. The difference was that their voices could be heard from a greater distance due to modern technology, and the inclusiveness of modern technology- the new media- allowed the response to them to be magnified as well.

I do not see in any way how this can be compared to ‘the mob’, as Greenslade and others have suggested. So right with one comment in this article, Greenslade is so very wrong with the rest of it. ‘Twitter storms’, regardless of what has been claimed, have been few and far between, and hence the suggestion that they will lose their impact through regularity is invalid. ‘Janmoir’ is not, and will never be, a verb. And calling those who raise objections to what they perceive to be objectionable views, though they recognise the right of a person to their opinion, are not ‘twits’. Greenslade has got it wrong, very wrong.

Posted in: Issues, Media