Very much just another blog

Twitter as the People’s Jury

with 4 comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter lately. I’m totally obsessed with it, of course; not Twittering makes me feels lost and alone. My ego withers, my throat goes dry. Happily, though, from time to time I manage to get a grip of myself, shake myself back into reality. And this furore over Stephen Fry has been one of those times.

I’ve read a lot on and around Twitter about @brumplum @ replying Mr Fry and letting him know that, while he loved the man’s work, he felt the tweets were a bit dull. Mr Fry lashed a retort back and before you could sneeze Twitter was up in arms: no one should slag off a national treasure. Well, in the first place, no one did. @brumplum was certainly daft to @ reply, but he wasn’t saying anything we didn’t know: Stephen Fry *is* dull on Twitter, so is Eddie Izzard; I unfollowed the pair of them yonks ago. But the outcry is another example of a worrying trend within Twitter and a mob mentality that potentially needs to be more carefully considered and (self) policed.

Over the last few weeks we’ve seen Twitter begin to brand itself as the People’s Jury; issues such as Trafigura, the Iran elections, Jan Moir and Ian form Holborn have been called in front of the Twitter Jury, slammed and apparently brought to justice. Certainly these things were all bad things but this jury, I think, is becoming self righteous. And though it’s pretty amazing in many ways that we have found a way to join forces and voices to address society’s ills, it’s not ok to revel in it. And it’s not ok to do it just because we can, either: AA Gill, for example, is a prat and his article about shooting a dead baboon to see how it might feel to kill a human is nasty stuff. However, nobbish as it was, the reaction to it demonstrated an overzealous and misguided reaction from the Twitter forces. And so too does the reaction to Stephen Fry Vs @brumplum.

Recent Twitter activity suggests to me that as a community we Twitterers need to monitor ourselves more carefully; many much brighter people than me have pointed out before, the subtleties of really important social or political issues can easily be lost in 140 characters. And often people are too quick to RT, shouting ME TOO, before even reading an article and properly assessing one’s reaction to it. The crowd is certainly powerful but not always wise and perhaps we just need to learn a few lessons from recent events, take a deep breath and consider before we yell.


Written by elikafm

November 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. I think Stephen Fry’s a bit of a cock. True (opinion) fact.

    Adland Suit

    November 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm

  2. He apologised… Did you see?


    November 18, 2009 at 11:35 am

  3. Apologised to @Brumplum? Or for being a bit of a cock in general? I saw the former, but am still waiting on the latter.

    Adland Suit

    November 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    • Oh! Punchy. You are not his greatest fan, huh.


      November 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

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