Unlike the rantings of pub philosophers, the rantings of people on Twitter are often apportioned an import their spleen venting and x-rated tweets little deserve. I'm not quite certain why these people can't be ignored rather than used by newspaper columnists or television news journalists, for instance, to prove points about misogyny, racism or political extremism. Or used by the famous to make points about how unreasonable their fans are or how unsafe they suddenly feel. We know this, don’t we? We know that there are plenty of racist, misogynist and extremist misfits online. We know that keyboard warriors on Twitter are in reality sad sacks who can’t handle the world outside their front doors.
Opinions on Twitter, and elsewhere, are like arseholes: everyone has one - in fact, they quite often have more than one. But how many boring times can they say the same offensive thing? The only thing that Twitter proves is that inside its inflated bubble of hot air certain people like being stupid and offensive. People are not only bigoted, they like playing devil’s advocate, quite often anonymously. Why then give it import? Why give it the publicity? Why quote it in news reports, magazine articles or opinion pieces. Why use it as a cheap way to gauge public opinion on the latest crass blockbuster or television programme?
There’s nothing worse than a vox pop - cue a microphone floating in the air as the ill-informed views of the public are transmitted into our living rooms: one of the examples used ad nauseam to prove the West really is, you know, a democracy that listens to its citizens. Ha.
The great thing about Twitter, however, is that ‘democracy’ can be deleted in one quick removal of the app. It has no way of catching you unawares unlike the countless news and entertainment programmes that rely on Twitter to (inexpensively) fill up the time and prove that old media are hip to the ‘kids’. There’s no escape as the latest Tweets and hashtags are broadcast and referenced as if they reflect ‘real public opinion’.
Opinions on Twitter can’t and won’t be ignored. It’s a pity it can’t be limited to news and the dissemination of information only. Probably it’s best use. Presumably a filter to get rid of the millions of opinions would be seen as a ‘dangerous limit to social media freedom’ and a sign of creeping censorship. So be it. I could live with that and have no fear that George Orwell would be sitting in judgement. He’d be horrified at this example of modern freedom.
Hooked as many of us are to electronic devices and apps like Facebook and Twitter. Big Brother isn’t watching us he’s actually taken over our lives and is taking part in a daily debate with us about where we should shop, what we should buy and why we shouldn’t bother to vote when there are statuses to updates and posts to be posted.