January 07, 2014

Twitter - A perpetually gaping maw of a gigantic elephant trap

James Delingpole (@JamesDelingpole) wrote an article in The Spectator magazine by the title, 'How Twitter almost destroyed me.' He said of Twitter, (what  he called "the perpetually gaping maw of the gigantic elephant trap that is Twitter), here
"Twitter is a publishing medium more dangerous than any that has ever before existed. The problem is that it is once trivially ephemeral and hideously permanent. Whatever your state of mind, whether you’re drunk or sober, depressed or euphoric, it’s there waiting to capture your every thought from the moment you wake up to the moment you check your Twitter feed one last time before you go to sleep."
He continued:
"You might be a journalist, like me, who writes hundreds of thousands of words’ worth of considered, well-wrought, nuanced articles expressing precisely who you are and where you’re coming from. But as far as the mob is concerned, that makes not the blindest bit of difference. It’s on those 140 characters you’re being tried and condemned. You’re hateful. You’re a misogynist. You’re anti-disabled. You’re a racist. You’re a rapist. Or whatever. And there’s no room for wriggling, you said it, after all. It’s there: in black and white — and ‘favourited’ by various ill-wishers, just in case you try to erase it."
He called out Twitter for what it is:
"It’s a hysterical out-of-control playground, not a worthwhile debating forum."
He gave a warning for Twitter users:
"As a warning to all those -Twitter users who’ve yet to appreciate the pitfalls of the medium: my friends (and enemies), be advised that it’s simply too risky to tweet anything you wouldn’t be prepared to see in print or hear quoted in a court of law... I write this as a cri de coeur. Last week I came the closest I’ve ever done to losing my livelihood, my reputation, my career, everything over fewer than 20 ill-chosen words in a medium recognised by almost everyone who uses it as trashy, throwaway, gratuitously provocative, ephemeral and not to be taken too seriously."
Following the Bercow v McAlpine judgement, David Aaronovitch said that Twitter is "inherently dangerous." 

James Harding (@hardingthehack) said during his WT Stead Lecture 2014:
"The established news media no longer monopolises – and may not for long dominate - the means of production and distribution of the news. Digital technologies – aka the internet – have handed those powers to any individual. Anyone with a story, a point of view and a Twitter account can set the agenda. If you choose, the ‘Powers that Be’ are you. "
On Twitter as a weapon of "mass reputation destruction" here. My posts on the Bercow v McAlpine judgement here, here and here. Other previous posts on social media here, here and here. John Cooper QC on social media law here.

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