Wise Owls: Tweet To Who?

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After a somewhat slack afternoon of social debate at the Fisherman’s Arms I trundled home and, after a bite to eat, settled down to watch a bit of TV with the wife. I’m not much of a TV fan at the best of times however I gave it a go, but not for long. Much to the wife’s annoyance, I channel hopped for a while in a mostly vain attempt to find something worthwhile to watch. It was all to no avail and I finally turned to the internet when I saw the trailer for a particular show.

I opened my Twitter account and, in a moment of desperation typed the following… “If the only way is Essex, it’s the end of the world as we know it!” Unsurprisingly a ‘follower’ with a similar view on life quickly replied… “there is way too much trash tv catering for people who prefer to let others think dull thoughts for them.”

Although I’m a fairly avid user of social networks, it often concerns me how much inane and superfluous crap they actually contain; indicative of similar content in much of our daily face to face interaction perhaps? I’m not suggesting for one moment that, the conversations I have with my friends are any more important than those enjoyed by others. However, given the frivolous nature of many of these interactions, I find it fairly amusing that social networks are also seen by many, so-called intellectual and educated people as the communication medium of choice. Even for subjects of great importance like the affairs of state and government policy discussion.

The tyranny of Twitter: when 140 characters don’t add up to enough – The speed and brevity of Twitter generates a kind of knee-jerk debating style that leaves too little room for subtlety – and politicians, journalists and readers are all falling into the trap… (The Guardian).

For some time I have worried about the power of the mainstream media. The TV and newspapers are often responsible for fuelling unsound and researched public opinion, often vociferous opinion at that. They have the ability to whip elements of society up into a pack of baying wolves, hungry for the blood of sometimes innocent individuals. The arrest of Chris Jeffries in the recent Joanna Yates murder case being an example in point.  But now we also have the more powerful, more immediate and often worldwide capability of social networks.

It’s sad enough when newspapers treat their readers with contempt, drumming up parody policies, spreading bile by the mile. You can find many, many examples of that in a new book by another ex-Guardian leader writer, Malcolm Dean, which he’s called Democracy Under Attack: How the Media Distort Policy and PoliticsBut it’s still sadder, going on utterly tragic, to discover politicians leading the game in 140 characters, and readers – ordinary punters – instinctively choosing vituperation over communication… (Peter Preston)

As some mostly immature and/or juvenile ‘celebrities’, have found to their detriment of late… If you truly aspire to ‘Wise Owl’ status, you would do well to consider the real impacts of your twittering before you tweet!

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