Twactivism

by Jon_B in


This week on Twitter has been crazy...

I have already posted on this blog about the Trafigura injunction and the subsequent uprush of indignation on Twitter (I also posted on this on the LDP Legalweek blog which gave rise to some further comments from Philip Gray).

Yesterday saw Twitter abuzz with the OJ-pursuit style excitement of balloon boy. I didn't follow this particular trending topic too closely as I have already seen that episode of the Simpsons and I knew how it would end. Fortunately, unlike the Simpsons, the hoax was revealed before Sting had a chance to write a charity song about it!

Today has seen a much more serious note with Jan Moir's vile piece about Stephen Gateley in the Daily Mail online. Originally entitled "Why there was nothing natural about Stephen Gateley's death" the piece was subsequently re-titled (although as I type this the search engines haven't quite caught up and the original title still shows).

Outrage once again spread through Twitter like wildfire at what was widely perceived to be a groundless, spiteful, homophobic article in the worst possible taste. Stephen Fry again picked up the baton with suggestions about the relevant provisions for those who wished to file complains to the Press Complaints Commission. Charlie Brooker's response in the Guardian deals with this better than I ever could, but once again Twitter picked up and publicised this story with incredible speed.

One of the main complaints that I have heard time and time again over the last few years is apathy. Political apathy, lack of community spirit and a refusal to get involved. There are risks in the way that Twitter mobilises and deals with these kind of issues. It isn't always possible to evaluate whether the stories are genuine (see the Zach Braff death hoax earlier in the week). The judgement of the masses as to whether suppression of information is in the public interest may not always be correct (although in the Trafigura case it clearly wasn't in the public interest or lawful!). What is clear is that there seems to be precious little apathy on display.

It does depend who you follow, but the picture I have seen this week is of a swathe of people who care deeply and passionately about political, civil and human issues and are prepared to jump in and defend them. Not sure if it is quite the right word, but I have found this Twactivism inspiring and I have enjoyed being part of it!

All in all, it has been a very interesting week...