What a lot of fuss there’s been in the papers recently about wicked anonymous tweeters. And it’s true, they’ve said some dreadful things. I mean, barely a day goes by when I don’t get some kind of death threat, but for shrinking violets like the Times‘s Caitlin Moran – you know, mild-mannered types – it must have been just awful.
And yet I can’t muster up all that much sympathy for people whose feelings have been hurt by a few nutters on the internet. For one thing, as journalists they should have thicker bloody skin. Do they expect us to believe they’ve never opened the mail at work? Because, trust me, once you’ve had one written-in-blood love letter, nothing on Twitter will ever bother you again.
No, I’m afraid I just can’t get upset about people being upset, because in the grand scheme of things it simply doesn’t matter that much. And I suspect that the ringleaders of that silly boycott sort of knew it, too, which is why they had to trowel it on so thickly about misogyny and all that stuff. Why did no one have the balls to point out the obvious: they were egging the nutters on, on purpose, for sympathy and attention.
I’ll get in trouble for saying that, I suppose, but just watch the way these demented people behave – and it isn’t just the women, before you start with me – and tell me you don’t see the faintest whiff of smugness, the slightest glimmer of a smirk at every fresh bomb threat. They love it! Because all they want – all any of us in this business want – is a bit of attention.
The thing is, lawsuits notwithstanding, once the awful fear and terror and agony and “offence” have faded away, Twitter insults are sort of gone, aren’t they? I mean, it’s not like anyone is ever going to dredge them up again in future. Not like newspapers or, these days, sodding blog posts.
Which brings me to my point: it’s the bloggers you’ve got to watch, not the tweeters. They’re the ones whose poisonous invective carries so much more authority. It’s the written word. Something about seeing it all there in writing. I mean, you just have to believe what’s there in black and white and has a comment section, don’t you?
And once it’s all down in a blog post, with screenshots and liberal use of <blockquote>, it may as well be fact. Blogging is the new statistics: there are lies, damned lies and people with WordPress installations.
As you may have gathered, I have an ulterior motive for all this, because I too have been targeted by bastard bloggers: lying, smearing, pseudonymous crackpots. I can’t point them out or that would be “bullying”, but at the same time not linking is cowardice. See how it works, yet?