I woke this morning (yes I slept in (well) beyond the dawn service – shame, shame, shame etc) to the ever-fascinating dynamics of another TWITTER SCANDAL. This time it was some clown from the ACL who is painfully irrelevant to all but the tiniest portion of Australians. One of those people who purports to speak for a powerful and broad range of people, but actually doesn’t etc.
He tweeted something about teh gayz, the Muzzies and OUR diggers. As sure as the sun, twitter went into meltdown. I want to say from the outset that my reaction was one of UTTER, COMPLETE, SEETHING, DOWNRIGHT…indifference…
It was an awful, classless thing to say but someone spare me from another round of collective indignation. Aside from the fact that every ANZAC Day is sullied by some petty culture war sniping, the routine leaping from one scandal to the next on twitter is becoming tiresome.
Maybe I’m a bit of a grump, but I would prefer to see twitter’s collective energies directed towards something more worthwhile. I wouldn’t go as far as to say twitter’s lifeblood is these minor scandals/collective reprimands, but it clearly is the lifeblood of many tweeter’s participation on the platform. It’s basically akin to a public lynching. The crowd is worked into a frenzy and their insatiable need for another round of brow furrowing is released onto the offending tweeter.
In the end Wallace apologised (though only for the tweet’s context) so I suppose the twitter meltdown was vindicated to some extent. But I remain scepitcal about the point of these responses. People who put themselves in the public eye deserve to be reprimanded for their comments more than ordinary folk, but this sort of mob justice is not an appealing aspect of twitter. Using a tweet as a vehicle to vent your frustrations at a worldview (as The Australian have demonstrated ever-so-embarrassingly in the past fortnight) is an entirely disproportionate reaction to the (mis)use of the medium. It makes you neither clever nor witty to be shrieking and hollering away with the rest of the mob engaging in a sort of mutual gratification of one another’s real or feigned offence.
People ought to be disappointed and maybe even a little bit outraged by Wallace’s comments – which were risible, but deeply insensitive – but perhaps we all need to take a collective breath before we embark on what is becoming a routine occurrence on twitter.