August 9, 2013

Twitter UK - Pride and Prejudice

Recently, in the UK, there has been uproar about the increasingly offensive nature of personal attacks and threats via Twitter. A recent campaigner to have Jane Austen added to the £10 note received sinister death threats.

The BBC picked this up and it was discussed in one of my favourite podcasts, "Digital Planet". Listen to the full podcast here.

Salena Godden (@salenagodden) summarised the whole phenomenon beautifully in this poet:

Pride and Prejudice

This morning I noticed the sky was a baggy story
I reached up to pull at a flappy bit of old argument
It was a tired and clammy cloud
It was wallpaper from an old protest that was never resolved
Merely brushed aside until she pulled her burnt bra on to make the tea

Before long I had peeled it all away in strips
And once that corner of sky was torn
Behind the story and underneath
There was just the opaque roof of a department store elevator
I wanted to pull the slats apart, to climb up into the lift shaft
And cut the ropes and watch twitter world crash.

And off-line and off-grid
We were all fish out of water
Slapped onto the cold pavement

And we stopped compulsive likelikelike button pushing
Opened the curtains to daylight to celebrate our differences and our sameness
And seeing the barriers all shattered we were forced to go outside
And walk and work side by side

We won’t remember the trolls
Or the troll slayers
But the bully goat bridge that we built to shelter them

I don’t recall the names of playground bullies
But the classmates that took detention by my side
And with a sinking feeling now I remember the girls
That fingered their blonde plaits and stood by and watched

We are plugged into a distraction
Logged into fiction
Counting sheep and followers
When our dreams are so much more,
More than we ever gave them credit for

We are sleep-walking sleep-talking retweeting parrots
We keep poking and fiddling with the knobs
Like it’s the only way to sound check our speakers

And back in twitterworld we still argue:

Because a woman cannot choose to be silent if she had no voice
Because the invisible women that have no votes have no choice
Because silence is gold but it’s kept in a bank
Because there are so many inspiring women to thank and to rank
Because it isn’t just 140 characters, its your motive and intent
Because twitter is real life and you tweet, threatened and sent

“One word from you shall silence me forever”
That’s Jane Austen
And there's two words
‘Pride and Prejudice’

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