Friday, 19 April 2013

Why I'm assessing my Twitter future

I joined Twitter 5 years ago - I was listening to Test Match Special on the first day of the Lord's Test v New Zealand and Alison Mitchell was doing something called 'tweeting from the boundary'. I joined purely to read what she was saying.

Since then I've had lots of fun on Twitter and got to know many kind and interesting people, some of whom I've met in real life. The key word is 'fun' - and when something done in leisure time ceases to be fun then it may be time to walk away.

I've never automatically followed those who follow me - instead I've looked at their tweets and, if I've found the tweets interesting and the person has engaged with me, then I've followed back. Beyond that I've followed various sports and news journalists, commentators and players.

When Margaret Thatcher's death was announced I knew there would be some unpleasantness on Twitter - but I didn't expect to see the worst of it, having been reasonably discerning in who I follow.

I was wrong - the spite, bile and viciousness that passed through my timeline was breathtaking. I unfollowed so many who previously I had thought of as reasonable, normal folk, who either tweeted their own vicious messages or RTd ones they agreed with.

Maybe it's due to my age (I'm 60 next month) but I was astonished and depressed at the tweets about an 87 year old mother, grandmother and friend who had left politics so long ago. So much so that I stayed off Twitter.

Yesterday, expecting the worst to have passed, I launched Twitter and read some tweets - only to find a storm about @Old_Holborn. I looked into what had happened and found his abhorrent tweets about the Boston bombings, the Jamie Bulger murder and the death of the 96 Hillsborough victims. I wasn't surprised, for years he's been an attention seeking, bandwagon jumping, arse.

What DID surprise and depress me was the number of tweets defending him on the grounds of that old, convenient chestnut, 'free speech' - again, those tweets were on my timeline. The Old Holborn tweets were gratuitously nasty and designed to offend whilst hiding behind an excuse of 'free speech' - the exact kind of thing that gives free speech a bad name. That people, having read them thought Old Holborn's tweets worthy of defence is, in the parallel universe that I inhabit, astonishing. What happened to basic common decency and kindness?

Maybe, just maybe, I'm not the kind of person who should use Twitter any more.....


  1. Well I'm glad I survived your cull. Stick it out Pam, the feeling will pass :)

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you Pam. I like twitter for fun and rarely tweet anything deep or meaningful (unless it involves England's love affair with KP!), but don't leave, we need test match twitter fun, just block and ditch the idiots.

  3. I have found mysekf steering clear of Twitter for yhe same kind of reasons. I believe stronghly in free speech. the problem with twitter at times is that its to easy to tweet before you are wise. and also its easy for nasty people to spout filth then run.

    there's a balance to be kept I guess. But I don't know how this can be achieved. all I can say, I hope as a reasonable tweeter is:

    please please please please please please don't go!


  4. Yes, exactly that. Thank you for expressing it so well. I'm going to follow you on twitter. I need more good people in my TL. Please don't leave just yet.

  5. Pam,

    LIke in all walks of life there are good and bad. There are plenty of good people who tweet interesting, funny and informative things. Likewise there are plenty who don't have the intelligence to do those things and who just stick to banality and insults. Such is life.

    Having grown up in Liverpool in the 70s and 80s I have zero good things to say about Thatcher - yes, even now. But I also understand why some people exalted and worshipped her. Again, such is life.

    But isn't that exactly what makes Twitter so great? The fact that so many people from different backgrounds, with different religious views, with different experiences - all come together to chew the preverbial cud? That I can get to "know" a whole host of people who I'll probably never meet - & in some cases thats probably a good thing!!!! :-)

    The past 10 days have been very dull without you (I suspected the reason for you lack of tweets) - and you will be sorely missed by many, many people if you do decide to leave.

    Stick with it - for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…


  6. I stumbled across this never having followed you (no offence, our paths just haven't crossed!) but it struck a chord. Twitter has been horrendous since Thatcher's death. I think I tweeted on it twice, once about whether Blair will be afforded same honours and another at the stupidity of the bile, but apart from that I just left it alone. I sensed that whatever I said in favour of having a little respect would be ripped apart. My usual commenting on daily news events has diminished to almost nothing!

    I think that Twitter can be a wonderful place but it's also somewhere for people to hide and spout their bile. You can gradually filter those people out of your Twitter life and engage with those you want to. Twitter's not supposed to be a chore. If you're finding it like that at the moment then take a few days and things will go back to normal - until the next 'big thing' anyway.

  7. Hi Pam, I agree with your sentiment and have struggled with twitter for three years, going and coming back blah blah. Twitter has given me the greatest love of my life and has equally shown me a side to our society I despise. You'll do what's best for you, and your decision will respected, dont fret, it is after all only Twitter, peace x

  8. Just caught up with this and I can totally understand what you are saying Pam. It's sad to think you will not be on Twitter-often you are the first person I think of when something sporting happens. So, selfishly, I hope you stay. But you must do what is right for you. So, hopefully, au revoir till next time on Twitter. @stephenlev

    1. Hi Pam

      So sorry you feel this way. But I know what you mean. There are events and people that bring the worst out of twitter. So many vile tweets, especially in the last few weeks. I come on twitter mainly to talk about cricket and catch up with what's going on (twitter is great for sports and news updates when out and about). Also play a few hashtag games and other stuff.

      But when there are big events that divide the nation that's when twitter is at its worst. I hate seeing my TL filled with virulently expressed views that are opposite to my own. But I won't respond. Maybe I'm frightened of confrontation and don't want insults hurled at me. But I've only unfollowed a very few people. Some of them seem perfectly normal when tweeting other things. That's no excuse. Twitter gives a platform to the fashionable bullies - journalists, comedians, celebrities - whose nasty tweets are enthusiastically embraced and retweeted by their impressionable fans.

      We've had our share of controversy in cricket as well, and that was an unpleasant period. But things settle down and we carry on. Best to keep our heads down until the storm passes.

      Please don't leave twitter, Pam. I would really miss you! @paulinejg23

  9. know my political opinions are opposite from yours, but we share a lot..TMS, Cricket. Utd, Twitter wit, the ridiculous, kindness (I hope). I miss you. And I'd still fight you for Jeremy Coney. No, that's not true, you said I could have Viv, you get Jeremy. Deal. Please come back to Twitter x

  10. Pam - I completely understand your sentiment but demand you return this instant - I never even know England are playing until I see LadyPenelope tweeting about it. I'd think a lot less of twitter without you here! Cull all those who offens and persevere, as you know, I had a complete re-start a couple of years back and it was most cathartic! All our best wishes - Mr and Mrs CrimeCounsel!