A massive thank you to Richard Dawkins and followers on twitter for sharing the previous blog about how Islamic extremists hope to subject Malala to sharia law in the courts and a fatwa for another touch of religious poisoning to humanity.
I have only been tweeting seriously for about four weeks, though blogging (with occasional leave of absence) for four years. In that short space of time PZ Meyers, the British Humanist Association and now Richard Dawkins have shared the blog reaching a wider audience that care about the same things I do.
Which brings me to the question Libby Purves poses that some twitters are not living the good life waving back at us but are actually drowning in misspent time savouring glamour and tittle tattle, drowning in a sea of maliciousness.
“Blogging is graffiti with punctuation” as Elliott Gould says in Contagion. The thing that strikes me about these sort of observations is that with every advance in publishing people have been concerned about how people will make use of the new format.
From pain staking copying by hand to instant publishing from an electrical device to potentially a global audience in seconds, the ease with which we can share our views – and more crucially search out views with a few taps of the fingers – is a tremendous advancement for knowledge, sharing culture and communication. That has had governments, and movements determined to use these techniques to both control and spread the word.
The printing press was a revolution in thought but considered an engine of immorality. Jefferson stated that adverts were the only thing telling truth in newspapers to be relied upon. Groucho Marx said:
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
Yet with digital media, more than ever the choice to be informed is there with the ability to instantly share that information. Twitter # feeds exist for most television programmes to discuss what is being broadcast as it happens.
That instant contact is perhaps what is getting people into trouble, and no thought of consequences for what they say on themselves and others. Those that have made slanderous accusations involving naming political figures as child abusers may well hope to be out to sea when writs start circling.
People want their lives witnessed, and have a self image to present to the world at large. Just remember twitter, Facebook and blog sites are publishing formats, like those of old. Increasingly they are leading to legal action for hate speech, slander and libel.
Those values of civility, integrity and truth are not outdated concepts for the social media age. They are essential for civilisation, whatever age humans have lived in, and for the continued good health of human discourse.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog