In light of Caroline Flack’s tragic passing, I apologised, this morning, to a tv journo for directing at her, last week, on Twitter, a critical comment which was OTT. Social media platforms, especially Twitter, make it TOO easy for us to communicate with people whom, before social media, we couldn’t get near.
Undoubtedly, many of us tweet at people comments which we wouldn’t dream of saying to them face to face, either because the comments are OTT or because we wouldn’t dare. Twitter is a great platform for cowards and bullies.
If all we do, as a reaction to Caroline Flack’s passing (passing? manslaughter? victim of bullying?), is hesitate for a few seconds before tweeting, if we just ask ourselves why we are about to tweet a comment, we’ll have progressed.
What should we ask ourselves?
Why are we tweeting this?
Is it proportionate criticism?
Could it hurt the person?
Are we hitting too low?
Would we say it to the person’s face?
Does this tweet make us a coward?
Does this person genuinely deserve this tweet?
Why do we tweet?
To share the joy of, say, music?
To educate about, say, mental health?
To dispel ignorance in the sphere of, say, racism?
Do we tweet for the applause?
Do we tweet because we want instant gratification that comes from comments like, “hear hear, well said!”?
We must be conscious of the fact that if we tweet someone, if we put their “@…” in the tweet or we # them, even if they have a million followers, they might see the tweet and, not as mythical figures but as people, our tweet could really hurt them. Real people, real pain, real hurt.
So, for example, tweets to politicians, we must ask ourselves, BEFORE tweeting, is this to the point or is it, perhaps, too personal. Example, Diane Abbott, we can criticise her views but don’t we hit too low sometimes, get too personal?
Let me be clear, I’m not pontificating from a holier-than-thou, sanctimonious height! I, too, need to think more before tweeting. I think, when we are tweeting OTT comments at people, there is a common denominator.
I think we are tweeting, often, for the applause. Do we want criticism of our tweets, are we really interested in debating or do we just want to preach to the converted and be lauded for it? If that is what we are doing, surely we could be making far better use of our time!